COVID-19 has changed how we do life, even if it feels like life is returning to some type of “normal.” Think about how we would have felt in February if we had to line up outside grocery stores, wear face masks, and wash our hands every thirty seconds. For most churches, men’s ministry has come to an end for the summer months. But I believe there are some big questions men’s ministry leaders must face now so they can be prepared for what could be coming as we look to the fall months.
This is the first in a series of posts addressing these questions.
Question 1: Will Men Return to Church?
For many years now, studies have shown a steady decline of people regularly attending worship services on a Sunday morning. Even the most committed Christians do not seem to be attending church every Sunday. Many men’s ministry leaders tend to focus on the men who attend Sunday morning and try to get those men to participate in men’s ministry activities.
Here is the problem – if your men’s ministry is only going after the men who attend on Sunday morning, then you are talking to a shrinking audience. And it might get worse!
In the last four weeks, 48% of churchgoers did not participate in online worship services. Even worse, only 40% of regular churchgoers report watching their own church online. As churches are reopening, they are seeing a low engagement rate in terms of people returning for worship services.
In many parts of North America, summer is a time where church attendance declines. People tend to take summer vacations and enjoy a few months of warm weather and sunshine. In theory, some people have been disconnected from church since the middle of March. If they wait until September to start again, that means they have gone over five months without connecting with their church. We are creatures of habit, and five months is a long time to create new patterns that do not include engagement with the church.
So the question remains – will men return to church?
What Can You Do?
- Create a call list of every man who was part of your church on March 1st. Form a team of men who have one job for the summer: text, call or go out for coffee with every man on the list at least two times. Ask the man how you can be praying for him and then do it. This helps to keep men at least somewhat relationally connected with you.
- Recommend men stay connected with digital resources that can help them in their spiritual growth. The Promise Keepers Canada daily devotional for men is a great place to start. It’s free and is sent to their inbox every day. You can also encourage them to subscribe to the podcast for men as another way of helping them to keep focused on growing as a godly man.
- Begin to develop a “Share” strategy. On social media, when people want to get the word out about something, they find a way to encourage a core group of people to share it with their friends. This is what you will need to do with your men’s ministry in the fall months. Every activity needs to have a “Share” plan. Ask your core group who do attend church to identify 5-10 other men who they will ask to participate with them in your men’s ministry activities. Give them regular emails or social media posts they can share within their circle of friends.
Your Role in the Mission Matters
This is going to be a challenging season, but I want you to know that your role in the mission to disciple men is critical.
I am in the early stages of reviewing a study from Barna about “Five Essentials to Engage Today’s Men.” One of the biggest lessons I have seen is the connection between men’s ministry and men’s well being. Men who participate in men’s ministry report having a higher satisfaction level in their relationship with their children, marital health, spiritual health, work-life balance, career, and more.
In other words, studies are showing that your ministry work matters and is making a difference! Do not be discouraged during this season. It is a time to prepare ourselves and the men around us for the next chapter in doing the work God has called us to.
If you have questions you would like us to answer, please contact us. We would love to know how to best support you.