I thought I’d share a little about the origins of New Commandment Men’s Ministries today.
In 1996, while I was a pastor of a church in Quincy, Illinois, I took a group of men to a Promise Keepers stadium event in Indianapolis. I had been discussing with them the idea of starting a men’s ministry. So, while I was at the conference, I picked up a pamphlet entitled “Focusing Your Men’s Ministry: A Strategy for Layleaders and Pastors.”
In the back of the pamphlet were descriptions of successful men’s ministries. The description of how the men at Grace Community Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, served widows and single moms caught my immediate attention. The reason was because we had a young widow in our church who needed significant, long term ministry. Little did I know that reading that short description would forever change my life and the lives of thousands of other people. Here, verbatim, is what I read in the Appendix entitled “Examples of Successful Men’s Ministries”:
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH
6843 South St., Lincoln, Nebraska 68506, Size: 220 (70 men), Average age: 30, Location: Urban
History and Philosophy of Ministry
Grace Community Church has the atmosphere of a small-town country church in the heart of the city. Their men’s ministry is eight years old. It began as Co-Pastors Rico Kotrous and Stan Schrag met with men for recreation, Bible study, and prayer. The quote, “We have weak churches because we have weak men because no one has taught them how to chase after the heart of God,” changed Rico’s life and ministry.
Their men’s ministry is developed, organized and orchestrated to fit within their philosophy of ministry: “…to reach out and win others to Jesus Christ, to disciple them to Christian maturity and service, to come together to worship the living God and glorify Him, and to build strong families and homes, and therefore a strong church. Because one-fourth of the women in the church are widowed, divorced, single, or abandoned, a major thrust of the men’s ministry is to support these male-less environments.” (Emphasis mine.)
The structure of the men’s ministry uses the small groups or E-teams within the large group setting. They have a monthly men’s breakfast but it is not typical. Their small groups (8-11 men) meet with their leaders. Each month a team is responsible to cook the breakfast (usually works out to two times a years (sic) per group) and to provide the music, devotions, and speaker. They eat together, have devotions, share, and then break up into “prayer triplets.” Each man prays for himself and for the other two in the group.
Each team is also responsible for three to five of the women (widowed, divorced, abandoned, or single) mentioned before. They provide home and car repair services, do yard work, and offer the kind of moral support that is missing in the women’s homes. Twice a year the women are invited into the homes of the group’s members where they are treated to expressions of love and concern in a family atmosphere around the dinner table. The women know they can count on these men in times of need. (Emphasis mine.)
The E-teams also have a work service for the church. Every six months their team is responsible to work on the church building. The men use their skills and talents to train others or to supervise the operations so that the building is completely taken care of and maintained.
In the summer the E-teams don’t meet on their regular weekly basis. They meet together on Wednesday nights for recreation, to eat, pray and hear a message. Then they break up into small groups for discussion.
GCC has seven small groups that range from 2-5 men in a group, a total of 55 men. They are nearing 100% involvement for the men of their church!
The church has seen five or six men come to Christ through their men’s ministry. One of the biggest blessings is seeing men who had been lukewarm for years now on fire. Rico explains that he wants men who are “aflame for God,” and he is seeing real results.
On a recent Sunday, the men of the church were asked to answer the question, “What would Jesus do?” and invited to make a commitment. Thirty-five men came forward and signed commitment cards, promising to be accountable to following a Christ-like life.
After we returned from the PK event in Indianapolis, our church went on to form four teams of its own. Each team had four men. We had a team for our young widow, one for a disabled single mother, one for a disabled single father, and one for a single mother on welfare. After seeing the blessing that came from using teams of men to provide long-term ministry to people with long-term needs, I became convinced of its value.
And the rest is history.
This post first appeared in NewCommandment.org.