Discipling character defeats the chaos of culture
Pastors and leaders who launch a successful ministry to men will see increased salvations, increased volunteers, increased finances and a healthy church that reaches the community. | by Paul Louis Cole
Men are in trouble. And when men are in trouble, the Church is in trouble. We are living through an era of skyrocketing addictions, child abuse, domestic violence, and suicide by men. When men are healthy, they find the time to volunteer, they find the finances to give, they find grace for their spouses and children—they find their center and their faith. But men, as a group, are not healthy today.
One expert says 30 percent of men will not even return to attending church. I spoke with a major church yesterday that has lost 50 percent of their volunteers. As a Church, we are compelled to help men transform the course of their lives through Christ.
How do we reach them? With church teams fully stretched doing online and in-person services, food distribution, and helping local families—how do we find the time to develop a way to disciple our men?
Today, men of all ages are finding it harder to be a man, harder to succeed in the working world and harder to act responsibly as a father or husband. Of the millennial generation, 65 percent believe it’s harder to be masculine today.1
The shapers of culture are now discovering what students of God’s Word already knew—that men left to themselves will NOT somehow, in some organic wizardry “become a man.” So, who is best able to help males become men? Jesus.
Consider these real issues. A man who hears the Word but does not identify with Christ nor commits to live out his faith in public is a man struggling with an identity problem. Jesus solved the identity problem for men. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV).
After ministering to men in sixty countries from prisons to country parishes to megachurches, I have seen that leading a man to identify with Christ and commit to His Church requires a great deal more than the occasional pancake breakfast.
Discipling men takes time, work, and a God-given strategy. In churches, a man who begins to solve his identity crisis and identifies with Christ becomes involved. His involvement leads to investment of his work, tithes and offerings. As a result, the church and the community reap the increase. The pattern is—identification, involvement, investment, increase.
What would happen in your church if workers increased by just 10 percent? What would you be able to accomplish if your annual church income increased by just 10 percent? After forty-two years of applied work in over 100 nations, I’ve seen dramatic increase of far more than 10 percent occur as a result of a church or pastor majoring in men and focusing on discipleship.
The results are fully visible—more outreach, better facilities, stronger volunteers, greater community impact and more stable finances… and that’s just the start. A congregation with involved men correlates to church growth, health and harmony. But my observation in hundreds of cases is that a lack of male participation is strongly associated with congregational decline, financial disconnection and discouraged leaders.
A busy pastor might ask, Isn’t ministry to men just one more time investment? The true measure of every investment is always found in the return on that investment. Ministry to men, when launched successfully, unleashes volunteers and income that correlate to an increase in available strategic time for the pastor to concentrate on pastoring.
When men are engaged, they help in the work of the ministry. The men are invested. The pastor is relieved. But the results are always the result of the investment … and directly correlate to the amount of that investment.
So often we look for an easy way to solve cultural issues, but discipling men was the one solid answer that Jesus gave us to confront the cultural chaos He encountered. Discipling men became the method he used to launch Christianity around the world. Discipling men is still the answer today to build strong, vibrant churches—churches that grow. Discipling men changes everything. Jesus proved it.
That’s why the powerful team of pastors and church planters at Christian Men’s Network created the remarkable FREE done-for-you Monday Night Men discipleship series for churches. It’s everything you need to develop men is in one place. It’s like picking up a takeaway meal at Chic fil A where everything you need is in the bag. Everything you need for building a strong ministry to men…is in the bag.
Releasing live on YouTube and Facebook every Monday night, hundreds of men go through a specific workbook and book they purchase on their own. Then, following the 30-minute broadcast, pastors jump on Zoom or Google or some other tool to talk together with their men as a group. The notes are done, teaching accomplished and the church is built. And, the pastor or men’s leader didn’t have to do hours of prep.
Busy on Monday nights? No problem! Once the videos are placed on YouTube, they are available for on-demand access from then on – you could meetup with your men any day of the week. Any time of day. It’s a powerful resource to build a healthy church by building healthy men.
One church in Pennsylvania uses the videos and watches together, meeting live in their main building. That group has grown from 40 men to over 100 in three months.
Why the great interest? Because when men are discipled, everything changes. This is what will happen when we major in men:
- Wives will flourish and marriages become new. In the thousands of churches we’ve worked with, it is always the women and children who receive the greatest blessing when men are discipled. Last Sunday I ministered in a church that has a strong discipleship track for men to help them achieve real manhood and become mature Christ-followers. A wife stood up with her husband to share the impact of the ministry to men. Through joyful tears she said, “This man is a new man. It’s beyond anything I prayed for.” The congregation applauded, the husband was blessed, and their children were proud of their parents. It was stunning.
- Children will thrive. We all know the families we’ve counseled, the stories we’ve heard, the time after time we’ve had the same issues to help families with—and all of it gets radically solved when the man becomes a man of faith, character and grace. Studies show that over 70 percent of boys raised in church will abandon it in their teens and twenties.91 Many never return.
- Churches will become healthy and the number of volunteers will grow. When men begin to accept responsibility, the church develops an atmosphere of true Godly masculinity, which is healthy. The counseling of frustrated wives, dealing with rebellious youth, teaching disturbed children, all decreases when men are pursuing Christlike manhood as husbands and fathers. The pastor’s ability to do missions, community outreaches, and have volunteers for the needs of the church increases as men are discipled and trained.
Some years ago, the pastor of a church in South Chicago sent the few men he had in his congregation to linger outside every Sunday in front of the church until every latecomer had arrived. He had seven men. As they stood outside, men in the community began to think of that church as a place where men hung out. Then the pastor told the seven men to walk out to cars and invite inside the men who were merely dropping off wives or children. When the men in the cars said they weren’t dressed right, the pastor overcame the objection by asking all the men of the church to start wearing casual clothing to church. Soon, men climbed out of their cars and followed the men inside. Next came the rainy season and the pastor bought all the men umbrellas to overcome yet another objection and escort everyone inside.
Over time, those seven men became seventy, then seven hundred, then seven thousand. In that church, as happens in most churches, everything increased—including the pastor’s influence in the community and his ability to achieve his vision without burning out.
- The work of the Lord is supported financially. Worldwide, there are 101 men for every 100 women.101 In the US, church population overall is 61 percent female.103 Think of what this means financially. How does it affect the local church when 90 percent of all funding and work to build local churches comes from men, but they are the minority in the pews? When a man is discipled and taught to be a steward of the totality of his life, his family and his church receive the increase.
- Churches become generational. The work of our Lord as well as all of the research points to the need to disciple men. Yet in local churches in the US, men remain the largest “unreached” people group. This produces generational problems. As Christian leaders we all know that someone or something is going to influence and teach our young men the meaning of manliness. For most young men it’s a beer commercial, friends in the street, guys in the gym, a magazine, pornography. When the Church is silent, the enemy is easily heard.
The most qualified person to teach true masculinity to our culture, to our young men, is a God-filled, Bible-believing Christ-follower that is committed to the local church, committed to character, committed to love others and fully engaged in living every part of his life as a man of God. The street won’t make a man, the street will break a man. It is Christ that lifts up a man.
Jesus showed us that he had it all figured out—how to get men identified with Him and keep them involved. He modeled this the minute He chose the twelve. A pastor’s basic ministry is what Jesus spent most of His ministry life doing—making disciples of men. When pastors major in men in ministry, a large percentage of the congregation will be men. When a church looks manly, because of the numbers of men there, it attracts even more men because they feel at home there.
The ministry to men is a massive problem with an easy solution. Get your men started the right direction. Make it a powerful year of groundbreaking renewal. Discipled men change everything. Monday Night Men is a wise investment, economical both in time and finance, and gives a powerful return.
1 Today.YouGov.com, The decline of the Manly Man https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2016/05/23/decline-manly-man
2 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
3 TIME magazine, Young Men are Facing a Masculinity Crisis, https://time.com/4339209/masculinity-crisis/
4 Wall Street Journal, Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-feminist-defense-of-masculine-virtuesa-feminist-defense-of-masculine-virtues-1388181961