He must be willing to share his faith story…not just the Sunday school version, but the good, the bad and the ugly version. Jesus must be real and alive in this guy. Once you’ve got his commitment, then it’s working together to create a list of younger guys from your church who are believers but have potential to do more…to be sold out for Jesus and assume leadership roles later on when they’re ready. They’re invited by you, on behalf of the church, to apply for the group. This is huge because it communicates the importance…the rarity of the opportunity. These guys make a covenant commitment to attend every monthly session, to do the homework and to pay it forward (i.e., multiply) when God calls them.
The process involves picking topics that are important from a spiritual formation perspective but also relevant to these men in their real lives. Each month, the men take on a topic together, read a book, memorize one or two Scriptures, do a relational homework assignment, pray and connect one-on-one with another member of the group.
During the year (following the lead of their mentor), each man shares his full-on story with the group. Month by month, they learn about God (theology), who they are in Christ (identity), marriage, fatherhood…whatever topics you choose to take on, paying attention to the felt needs of the group God gives you. At the end of the season, there’s a commencement retreat where the guys are sent out to love and to lead. Some will move immediately into paying it forward, leading their first group right away. Some won’t be that quick. Some will use their gifting in other ways in the church. But all will grow through the process, including the mentor.
Do this a few times…through a few generations and you’ll have that core group of men God will use, not only to build a vibrant men’s ministry but to grow and deepen your church at large.
The beauty of this approach is its harmony with whatever you’re already doing. If you’re at a zero-starting point—i.e., you have nothing going on for men—this is a great way to start small and build a strong foundation. Even if the mentor is you and you can only find four guys to invite, that’s enough to start. Watch God grow and energize four men and you’ll likely see more coming behind them…and more behind them. If you already have a men’s ministry, this system offers a ‘both/and’ option that’ll build leaders from what you already have going to take it to the next level.
If your current men’s ministry is stuck…or dying…or ineffective, this is a way to (indirectly) breathe new life into it. The results might not show up immediately. In fact, your current men’s ministry may not change at all for a while. But over time, no ministry can stand still when God grows all-in men and sends them on His mission for His church.