If your church is typical of most Evangelical congregations your men’s ministry might look something like this. It’s either (a) an extension of the small group concept, with guys meeting through the week for Bible study, or (b) a Saturday morning thing that might meet weekly or monthly for Bible study or a special speaker or combined with a breakfast.
The assumption has always been that men are busier than women, and chances are that your church has a more diverse list of opportunities for women. I want to toss something else into the mix here. There are three points, but they are building cumulatively toward the third.
1. Get A Room
In most Evangelical church buildings there is a youth room (and possibly a staff position that goes with this room.) If you’re big enough there may be distinct rooms for middle school youth and high school youth. There are no doubt many, many rooms for children’s ministry, used both on weekends and midweek. And if your women’s ministry involves some type of craft component — I’m told quilting is popular among older ones — there may be rooms set aside for them as well.
But there’s not necessarily a space set aside for men. They may utilize other parts of the building, but with the exception of a CRC that had a room filled with woodworking tools — mostly so the men could teach the older boys — I’ve never seen a room in a church that was dedicated for men’s ministry.
2. Customize That Space
People like David Murrow and others have written extensively about the dominance of the feminine touch in church décor. (If this is new to you, click his name and check out Why Men Hate Going to Church.) I’m not saying build a man cave, or fill a space with sports memorabilia, hang a deer head, or have a cigar room; but do something that makes the guys feel at home. A pool table. Some comfy chairs. Posting a “Women Not Allowed” sign.
But have a space that is the hub of your men’s ministry where guys can check in on weekends, sign up for service projects, borrow books for guys on marriage and parenting, post notes about cars for sale, and maybe even be the location of some your midweek activities.
3. Open It Up After Work
This is where we’ve been heading. Right now a lot of men — even among Christians — stop at a bar after work. That’s not always the healthiest of environments. Some men do feel the need however to have a buffer zone between work and home. They want to diffuse some of the stress of the workday — and possibly the commute — before they enter the family environment. They don’t want to have to dump their employment crises on their spouse, or not have the energy to get excited about what happened at the kids’ school(s). Maybe 15 or 20 minutes is all it would take. If they get off work early enough, perhaps 45 minutes would do the trick without being late for dinner.
I’m proposing a place that is open on a regular consistent basis, maybe from 3:00 to 6:00 — or whenever your church’s family ministries commence on that one night of the week — with a part time staff person or volunteer available to serve non-alcoholic refreshments and change the sports network on the satellite system.
…This isn’t ministry in the Bible study or service project sense, but I believe it would meet some real needs in your neighborhood, and be a bridge to the wider community as people invited their friends.
Also, it’s been my firsthand observation that the bigger the church the less likely people ‘drop in’ during the week. This changes that, and opens up the church building at hours other than those weekend services and that one midweek evening.