Men’s ministry in the Lower Mainland
by Howard G Pike, CSB Men’s Network
For well over a decade, authors like John Eldredge, Robert Louis and Dr. James Dobson have been sounding the alarm that the Church is in trouble. Pollsters George Barna and Reginald Bibby have documented the loss of men from the pews of local congregations. It’s happening in the Lower Mainland of BC, and though our reaction has been slow, we are now seeing more churches intentionally encouraging their men through men’s ministries, men’s groups, men’s events and men’s Bible studies. Canadian ministries, such as Wholehearted Men, Promise Keepers Canada and Iron Sharpens Iron, are seeking to involve men with Christ through the local church.
In Mission, an association of men’s groups named Mission Men in Unity, has been drawing men together for breakfasts, sporting events and conferences for ten years. Its founder, Ron St. Hilaire, says, “It’s been a challenge. At first, some churches were slow in their support. However, now we are seeing a more responsive engagement.” He goes on to say, “My calling has been to simply gather His men; to draw them together once or twice a year to be part of something for the Lord.”
Larry Kittlitz of Burnett Fellowship Church in Maple Ridge has been coordinating his church’s efforts to build men in every stage of life. “This is ministry to men, but as men mature in their faith, it becomes ministry through men.” His church does the events – the breakfasts, sports outings and conferences, but it is through the building of relationships that men move into the church to serve those in need and in the community.
In north Surrey, Pastor Michael Vuorensivu says, “Many of our men are involved in the ministries here at Cedar Grove Baptist Church. I am excited to see the level of engagement.” In the past year, their men have participated in a major facility facelift, hosted the Promise Keepers’ Simulcast in November, gathered for their monthly breakfasts, and are now preparing for their annual Men’s Retreat this May. He concludes, “Our next Serve Event is on Mother’s Day… Now is the time for us to step up and not just play the man, but make the man as well, as Mark Batterson’s new book directs!”
Bible studies are a foundational part of most men’s ministries. The regular gathering around God’s word is building men at the deepest levels. From CLA’s Monday Night Men to Cedar Grove’s Thursday Knights to Calvary Baptist’s Saturday Morning Men’s Bible Study, as the late Les Geortz said, “men want to learn and to grow in Christ, but they want to do it in a hands-on way. No homework in men’s Bible study. Men will engage but we must meet them where they are at.” Many churches are striving to do this.
Wayne King leads a men’s Bible study at Bear Creek Community Church in Surrey. He sees his primary role as inviting men of all ages to get involved with what their church is doing, and this includes boys from six and seven years of age. “As soon as a boy starts identifying with men, wanting to do the things that his dad does, he is moving into manhood.”
It is vital that men’s ministry be intergenerational. Some call it mentoring or coaching. Others call it discipleship.
A retired pastor gives this advice: “Pastors, if you have a church, you already have a men’s ministry. Your men are there, so you must engage them on their terms. Get in the trenches and do the stuff men are doing. Engage them at the level where they live.” Men’s ministry is an anchor point that can build the man, his family, his church and his community. Engage the man and build the Church.