Discovering Ministry for Men
I have run a number of gift discovery courses over the years – think ‘Network’ as an example. I have been finding that this wasn’t necessarily helpful for men nor do they fit well with what the Bible seems to say. This is not so much a critique of other courses, just that they don’t fit all circumstances.
I think the courses where you fill out a questionnaire that then seeks to align you with a particular area of giftedness only makes sense when you’ve been involved in church or work life experiences because they are based on experience or your assessment of your skills. But if you have never served in a church or maybe are a young person and have school experiences it’s very hard to then say what your gifts are based on your experiences.
It also raises the question of how we determine between gifts for ministry and life skills and appropriateness – just because you have experience doesn’t mean you should be using it in church.
I also think that with men we need to take a more man based approach. We need to focus on familiar things and consider how men think. In the churches I’ve been in many men have not been involved or at least not significantly – yet often they are business people or highly skilled in working life. So with blokes how do we help them assess the sort of skills they may have amassed in work (or even in school), and assess the skills they have in life and then consider how they might be transferrable to the church? How do we given them openings to try things out and how do we assess whether a man is gifted and appropriate for a particular role?
We also should consider that men might be more project oriented – consider the sort of work many men do – projects have a start and a finish with resources, people and so on. So if that has something to do with the make-up of men then maybe we need to consider that in the life of the church.
Below is the first part of a 3 week course for men based on discussion rather than filling forms. The aim is to get men together to talk and consider their lives and to look at where life outside the church might intersect with life in the church. How do we help men get involved and bring skills to the table for the benefit of the gospel.
The course is really only a starting place. Helping men get involved means getting alongside them and helping them work out what gifts God may have given them and giving them an environment in which to try their gifts out ad the encouragement and support and training necessary to do the ministry.