Monday, June 25, 2012

BookPastor >> "Effective Men's Ministry"

TITLE: Effective Men's Ministry - The Indispensable Toolkit for Your Church
EDITOR: Phil Downer
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001, (256 pages).

This book is a collection of articles covering 26 topics that are important for men's ministry. It begins with a passionate introduction by Patrick Morley that urges men to understand our purpose, to create, capture, and sustain momentum in achieving this purpose. Each of the 26 contributors is a member of the National Coalition of Men's Ministries (NCMM).  There are many familiar names in the book, like Jack Hayford, Dan Schaffer, Steve Farrar, Stacey R. Rinehart, and Gary G. Bateman. The editor Phil Downer does a wonderful job in organizing the articles into five parts. The whole structure reflects the natural way in which men understands and implements plans.
  1. Part One - Developing the Plan
  2. Part Two - Preparing the Ground
  3. Part Three - Laying the Foundation
  4. Part Four - Building the Framework
  5. Part Five - Creating the Structure

In Part One, we read of Dan Erickson and Dan Schaffer who writes about the need to understand men being in a contemporary culture of pressures. They then help us identify factors to make men's ministry "male-friendly" Steve Sonderman tells us exactly what men's ministry is and is not, and gives us seven essentials of men's ministry. Vince D'Acchioli shows us the way to define a vision through a four-stage process of significance, strategy, structure, and schedule. Gary G. Bateman advocates a need to be descriptive in our assessment before trying to prescribe any solution. He does that by giving us 5 steps of assessment and 20 questions to ask our men. Jack Hayford gives us a pastoral angle on exactly the kind of role pastors can do.

Part Two prepares the ground with Chip MacGregor telling us how to build a leadership team. A leader is one with a servant spirit, of character, godliness, passion, and giftedness. His part on recruiting, training, and eventually giving away the ministry to others is worth sharing widely. Steve Sonderman returns with organizational tips for men's ministry. He provides four exercises to help us build a prayer team, understand God's purpose, structuring our ministry, and evaluating it. He follows this article with a necessary article on implementation using six principles. Stacy R. Rinehart gives us his take on servant leadership and Chuck Stecker shows us the foundations of Christian Leadership. Dan Schaffer helps us distinguish the mark of leadership in terms of commitment, communication, conflict management, covenant, and collaboration.

Part Three lays the foundation farther with five contributors. Gordon England shows us how to write a good testimony to move men from self-reliance to God-dependence. Men are called to be the bridge between God and other men. Dale Schlafer writes about the central need for prayer. Rick Kingham gives us the way to learn to worship. Geoff Gorsuch encourages men to build vital relationships using the relational diamond, that at first base as acquaintances, we learn to accept one another. At second base as friends, we encourage one another. At third base as brothers, we exhort one another. Finally our home base is Christlikeness. Robert Sena brings us his take on how to overcome prejudices that prevent the building of an effective men's ministry.

Part Four enables us to build the framework on what has already been covered. Rod Cooper shows us how to create a transformational environment through the four traits of acceptance, openness, teamwork, and accountability. Phil Downer describes the process of becoming a spiritual parent from the inside out. Steve Farrar takes a compassionate approach in showing us how to work with men who have failed. Particularly interesting his his description of Moses's mid-life crisis that progresses from success to failure at age 40. Haman Cross and Thomas Fritz come together to write about unity in diversity across ethnic and racial groups. Phil Downer and Chip MacGregor show us how to move from success to significance.

Part Five is about creating a structure that can be sustained for the long haul. Chuck Brewster mentions the training necessary to prepare men to live a life of significance through discipleship, obedience, and true grit. Ed Cole talks about the role of becoming a godly husband. Steve Farrar puts in the need to be good fathers as well as good sons ourselves. Warren Hardig enriches the conversation with a short-term missions outlook. Larry Kreider describes what it takes to have successful men's retreats

The book is an encyclopedia that describes the nuts and bolts of men's ministries, put together in a readable way. It can be used as a reference. It can be used as a trigger point for ideas. It can also be used for leadership training.  Most importantly, this book is a book of ideas that ought to excite us to be creative and to be urgent on developing the men in our church. A Church with a strong men's ministry is definitely a force to be reckoned.

I highly recommend this book to all men, and all in leadership.


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