Friday, January 14, 2011

Healthy men's ministry = healthy church

Rules for churches to live by:
  1. NEVER assume that the pastor's spouse is a full-time unpaid employee of the congregation.
  2. PRAY to God that the spouse who comes along with the preacher you hired is a passionate Jesus-follower who loves God and is called according to God's purposes.
  3. Note: #2 is far and away better than # 1.
The beauty of being the pastor's husband is - as I've mentioned before - the absence of stereotypical expectation. Bottom line, the church is thankful that A) I'm a faithful husband who loves their pastor, and B) That I'm actually there.

I've found a lot of niches in the church, places where - just like any other church member - God uses my particular gifts. But, and I sense that this is a calling every pastor's husband should seriously consider, I feel a particular inclination to encourage the "men of the church."

There's a lot of talk in every church about reaching young-adults, much concern over children's ministries, constant emphasis on programs for youth, exciting initiatives to reach retirees, and ongoing reevaluation when it comes to the effectiveness of outreach to minorities.

All of the above are most certainly important...

BUT, if there is one demographic that's both seriously undernourished and chronically under resourced in the average "mainline" Christian church, then it would have to be that of men, aged 30-60. 

Here's what this Preacher's Husband believes:
  • Men and women are not the same (I love that!).
  • Women are more highly-evolved - relationally - than men. And, consequently, women share with one-another, encourage one-another and pray for one-another more naturally.
  • Men also need one another to grow spiritually. Men need close-knit community, but they don't know how to go about it.
  • Men need to be more deliberate when it comes to creating Christian community.
  • Traditional men's ministry fails to go nearly far enough in terms of spiritual nurture.
  • When men encourage one-another in the context of a "Band of Brothers" their sense of discipleship takes off exponentially. I'm talking about support, encouragement and accountability. I'm talking about "Provoking one-another" as brothers in Christ.
  • Once men move beyond a Part-Time Christianity to dynamic discipleship, it doesn't take more than a handful of disciples to make a huge difference in the mission and ministry of a previously uninspired congregation.
  • I'll take that a step further: A dynamic men's ministry will literally transform your church.
I believe, with all my heart, that the role of encourager-amongst-the-men is a calling that every preacher's husband should seriously consider.

In the mainline church culture, there's a lot of room for progress when it comes to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. That may be where we are, but God has charged us with a critical mission, and that is to be agents of positive change. Listen to this scripture from the letter to the Colossians: 

"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules?" 

The rules that dictate church has to be boring, and that men's ministry is either non-existent or uninspiring, are rules that need to be challenged. We have been renewed and restored with Christ! 

That, my friends, is what I am talking about!


  1. This is very thoughtful and extremely encouraging Derek. A sister who lives abroad and who I met while she was in her PhD program shared your blog with me. I love it. I am a mainline pastor and embrace the gifts and call of women ministers fully. I also see the loss of men to mainline churches. Thanks for offering some really good input on a real problem. You are modeling some important stuff as a good pastor's husband. I would love to know more about you. I will try to follow your blogs.

  2. Hi John... it looks like this is the only way to send you a message... so I hope you check back in!

    Thanks for your encouraging words. You can check out my home page at for more information, or click the "Derek's author page at Amazon" tab at the top of this post.

    Many blessings on you and your ministry - DEREK

  3. What "structure" do you recommend for mens' groups? What is.working for you? Small group resource? Service? Prayer and sharing? Speakers? So many men's groups end up doing fundraising dinners and that is it... it can be so much richer! Thank you for your thoughtful writing.

  4. Lots of good questions, "Templeamma". Short answer is "Read my book, GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men" (!!!). Slightly longer answer is - Covenant groups, where 5-15 guys pray together, support one another, do Bible-study and engage in mission. Heart-level sharing. Lots of prayer. Having a speaker is not a men's group - it's a meeting! Meetings are good, but covenant groups have more potential to be transformational experiences that will "turn -on" an entire church. Check out this link to a class I'm teaching at BeADisciple.... scroll down half a page...