My Bible was beginning to literally fall apart so I took a trip to my local Christian Bookstore. I was in the store about 5 minutes before I suddenly realized I didn’t belong. I felt like I accidently time-warped into a Bath and Body Works that smelled like cinnamon, and everything was pink, and sold “trinkets”. What man buys “trinkets”? In fact, the only people in the store were a group of older women waiting in line to use the bathroom. I took a few minutes to look through the Bibles before I realized that almost every single one was made for a woman. There was a dark blue one- but it had a “pretty” light green line around the middle. I saw a brown one- with dainty flowers on it. I seriously couldn’t find a simple Bible that was not made for girls. It’s no wonder men today don’t like church- let alone small groups.
In fact, I thought I’d share a few Church signs that also show a few reasons men get the wrong idea about church. (I mean seriously- really?)
And what about these images of Jesus?
But, Jesus was the kind of guy men followed. 4 of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. What kind of guys are on a show like Deadliest Catch or what do people say about guys in the navy- specifically Navy SEALS? (nothing to their face) Fishermen have always been manly dudes and clearly there was something about Jesus that dudes wanted to follow. But, if we’re going to create groups in our church that guys want to attend, we have to do things a little differently.
So, in order to help change things around, here are 4 ways to help guys love groups:
1. Do something. Men don’t want to sit around every week talking about making a difference. They want to get out there and do it. They want to build something, fix something, accomplish something. If you want to increase the number of men attending your groups, are you giving them chances to do something? (Think about how you advertise your groups? If it’s all about “building relationships”- what man wants that?!) I’ve heard guys say their biggest fears about groups is that we’ll have to sit around a circle holding hands with lit candles. Maybe create a group that specifically “does something”, and invite men to attend.
2. Ask different types of questions in group. As you work through a passage, don’t always ask, “How would you feel if you were in the story”? Don’t always ask about feelings. Makes sure you ask what you “think” about the story? Ask, “What would you have done if you were in the story”? Ask thinking and action-oriented questions- not just feeling questions.
3. Challenge them. Don’t just talk about general ideas to apply a certain passage to our lives- give your group specific challenges. Ask if someone in the group can hold them accountable. Let them know it’s going to be hard, but challenge them to do it this week. Men love competition, maybe add competition into the equation.
4. Encourage Men to Lead. If you want men to lead and grow in their faith, then they need to see it modeled. This means, if we want men in our groups, then we need to continuously develop and challenge men to lead. Because women typically value church more than men (and groups too), we have to put specific effort into developing male leadership. The more men lead, the more other men will feel comfortable leading also.
Think about how you talk about groups? A few years ago I realized I was casting vision about our groups as a place to get to know others and grow together. But, I realized I was having trouble finding real passion in that vision. How could I sit down with a dude and say, “I need you on my team to take over the world- by getting a group together and helping them…..like each other.” Really?! So, recently I’ve changed how I talk about groups. I want them to be a place first and foremost where people grow in their faith. I want every person in our church to be challenged to grow in their faith through groups. They’re also the best place to get to know others, but I talk about that second. But, this is a vision I feel comfortable sharing with any guy. Then I ask what passion God has placed on his heart. Is there something that he loves to talk about? I want to see people lead from their passion- and that’s how we can get guys on board.
Men sometimes do this- Tough Mudder
No one’s more “manly” than the Navy SEALS