Since I first wrote this post, I put together a great page of links to websites and blogs for ministering to men. You can click here to check it out. However, the ones below are still fantastic and I encourage you to visit them when you're able.
For this Top Ten I wanted to share some of the websites that have blessed me regarding ministry to men. However, because I’ve come across so many helpful websites on this subject, carving this down to ten is, I’m sure, an injustice to others that ought to be included.
Part of my criteria for choosing which websites make my Top Ten list is that the website has to be useful. In other words, the ministry that a website represents may be phenomenal and doing great things for the Kingdom. However, if the website itself doesn’t do much more than tell me a few interesting things about the ministry, then it’s not very useful as an online resource. Thus, the websites I like most are the ones that provide articles, devotionals, podcasts, YouTube videos, social media connections, newsletters, etc. That’s how I decided which ones to include on this and every Top Ten list.
PS – The following websites are focused more on ministering to men “in general.” I’ll include Top Ten lists later that will focus on top websites for fathers, husbands, etc.
This list is in no particular order… except for the first one, because I believe it is far and away the best.
1.) Man in the Mirror Ministries with Pat Morley – Morley and company are the premier thinkers in the world of ministering to men. Their website is super user-friendly. You can read countless articles on men’s ministry, men’s issues, etc. You can download and listen to men’s Bible studies taught by Morley or watch them online. You can also sign up for a number of training events that Man in the Mirror holds or purchase some fantastic resources online. Great website that goes well with an incredible ministry to men.
2.) Every Man Ministries with Kenny Luck
3.) Top Gun Men’s Ministries
4.) Men’s Stuff at CrossWalk.com
5.) New Man Magazine
6.) Men’s Ministry at Bible.org
7.) Church for Men
8.) Live Bold
9.) Christian Businessmen Connection
10.) Men’s Ministry Catalyst
Grace and Truth,
You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
So it’s yours to use and cherish
For so long as you may live.
If you lose the watch he gave you
It can always be replaced
But a black mark on your name, son
Can never be erased.
It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father
There was no dishonour there.
So make sure you guard it wisely,
After all is said and done
You’ll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son.
I would agree that the poem above could provoke a great deal of stress and pressure in a young boy’s life (not to mention his father’s). No one’s “name” is that pure. And, to be sure, without God’s grace and the power and guidance of God’s Spirit, no one will go through life with an unblemished record. Still… I like the poem as something to bear in mind as I encourage and help my sons navigate their way through life. One day, as part of that instruction and encouragement, I will have to share a few times when their father got quite a few dark smudges on the family name. And then I shall remind them of the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(By the way, if you want to see an incredibly powerful presentation on the significance of one’s name, watch this scene from The Crucible. In this scene, John Proctor accepts a death sentence for something for which he was innocent, rather than passing on a blemished name to his sons. After several years of searching for this scene, I finally found it. There is a short and helpful little commentary at the beginning… which is worth watching as well. But by all means, please watch the scene that follows it.)
And while I’m feeling like imparting some inspiration to my sons… here’s a great video-version of Rudyard Kipling’s “If.”
In the previous post, I mentioned a book by George Grant that radically changed how I think, minister, etc. It’s called The Micah Mandate. Once again, I highly recommend it! I would now like to share how God used an audio-taped message (also by George Grant) about an obscure man from the pages of history whom most folks have never heard of, to bless my life and ministry in ways I could not even have imagined as I put the tape into the tape-player of my car. Here’s what I wrote over a decade ago…
Earlier this year God poured his grace upon me as he placed in my hands an audiotaped lecture entitled, “Gerard Groote and the Brethren of the Common Life.” Providentially, this also was by George Grant. I can’t express how moved I was by what I heard in this message. In this lecture Grant basically revealed what a biblical worldview should look like in the “everydayness” of a Christian’s life and ministry. He accomplished this by sharing God’s work and power in and through the life of a man named Gerard Groote. Groote lived in the 14th century, and, as Grant says at the beginning of his address,
“It would be difficult to find a single page of modern history written about him. But it would be even more difficult to find a single page of modern history not affected by him.”
Below are the notes I took from Grant’s message on Groote. I’m sure much won’t translate to this format. But I believe the ideas taught and lived out by Groote and expounded by Grant are more than worth passing on and meditating upon.
Notes on Gerard Groote: Brethren of the Common Life
Based on a lecture by George Grant
1.) The Devotio Moderna , first of all, emphasized holiness for every Christian – not just for a few. Groote wanted common piety for common folk – this was the heart of his message.
Together, these distinctives: Holiness, Humility, Covenantal Community, Antithesis, and Catechizing – comprised what Groote called “Classical Christianity” or what we might call, “Biblical Orthodoxy.”
“Lay foundations that will endure in the hearts of your children. For there are only two things that are eternal in all of the created order: the children under your care, and the Word of God.”
Grant’s Prayer at the end of the message…
O Father; Almighty Father, I confess to you that I am often diverted by pleasant alternatives. I am often tantalized by that which will bring success, effectiveness, suasion in the here and now. I pray that you would give me eyes to look beyond the horizon of just this moment. Enable me to invest for all eternity. Enable us to have a distinctive vision of discipleship – like that of Gerard Groote before us. Enable us to quest for holiness, humility, covenantal community, antithesis, catechizing – classical Christianity – in the hearts of our children – first and foremost.
Lord God, I pray that we will produce not just successful businessmen, or men and women effective in their vocations. We yearn for REFORMATION. Change the world, O God! And use us in the process.
We pray this in Jesus name. Amen and amen.
Here’s a short little introduction I just found on Groote that’s worth reading.
Below are some thoughts I shared a few years ago as I was reading and interacting with a great book by Daniel Harkavy. I found it to be a very meaningful book for me as I reflected on pastoral ministry. I thought I’d pass this post along once more.
Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
Title: The Fuel of Great Leaders
For Harkavy, the fuel of great leaders is the combination of convictions and courage.
Harkavy points out that the desire to help other people is a fundamental conviction that energizes coaching leaders. He asks, “…do you believe that you have something of significant value to offer your key team members?” He assumes that someone reading his book will answer yes. Thus, he says, “This primary conviction, the commitment to help others improve, usually gets strengthened by a few other important convictions.”
He then briefly hits on what these important convictions are. A coaching leader will…
The point is this: a coaching leader cares for more than just the business-side of the clock. A coaching leader cares about the people in his or her life –whether at work, home, etc. Therefore, “They want to help their team members succeed in all of life, including after 5:00p.m.”
I preached a sermon last year that highlighted some of my spiritual mentors and how important they were in my life. Harkavy helpfully makes a similar point to his readers by asking…
He follows up by saying that, “Chances are, you are thinking of an individual who really cared for you, someone willing to take a risk and invest in you.”
He then makes this important point as a way of summing up the chapter…
“Do you want to know something? Your offices are filled with people who would love for you to be just that person.”
I was speaking with Len Sykes (who works with Ken Boa) a couple of years ago and he mentioned to me almost the very same thing and it has really stuck with me. He said that men don’t have other men who will really listen to them, without an agenda. He also said that men just don’t have another man who will come along and speak honestly into their lives. That’s really true. I’ve experienced that.
I think what is easy to miss in our culture is the veneer that people hide behind so that others won’t know how badly they’re hurting. Building relationships and trust with others is such an essential step in the process of investing your life into the life of another. It requires keen listening (a point that Harkavy will make in a later chapter). It also involves asking good questions. I’ll deal later with those two points in the order that Harkavy unpacks them.
Another good chapter. I enjoyed it because I resonated with his description of what undergirds and motivates a coaching leader. While I fall short of the qualities he outlines, it’s still a goal that I strive for.
This is an older post (I think around 2009). However, I’ve just started rereading this very good book and thought I would share some of the highlights from it again.
Chapter Highlights for… Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy
Introduction and Chapter One
A few years ago I became interested in the discipline or ministry of “Coaching,” probably because I felt it was something I had been doing (or trying to do) throughout my ministry. I figured that educating and equipping myself in another aspect (or from another angle) of something I was already doing could only add value to my life and ministry… and by extension… to the lives of those entrusted to my care.
The very first line in the Introduction to Becoming A Coaching Leader by Daniel Harkavy confirmed that I had chosen wisely regarding my most recent read on the subject. (Or… that God was very gracious in directing my hand in the choosing of it. Don’t want to steal his glory.)
Harkavy’s first words are these…
“You want to make a greater difference in the lives of those you lead and experience more success and significance as you do so.”
To that I can only give a hearty, “Amen.”
Chapter One begins by asking, “What is your vocational purpose?”.
That’s a question that I think about often. Yet I can’t sever it from my deepest purpose in life, which is to please, honor, and glorify God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. My other sub-purposes in
life flow out of that over-arching purpose.
While the book seems primarily addressed to leaders in the business field, many of the principles that Harkavy deals with apply to my life as a minister of discipleship. Throughout the book I sought to (and sometimes really labored to) make connections between what Harkavy was describing about an office setting and what I’m attempting to do in a church setting with folks who don’t work for me.
I really resonated with a couple of quotes on pages 4 and 5…
“Your purpose as a coaching leader is to add the most value to the people you lead and to help them improve.”
“Leaders are called to develop people. Their passion for people drives everything – and few things in life feel sweeter than investing in the lives of others and then watching them grow and succeed as a result of your
efforts.” Greg Harkavy
Amen to both statements.
I first heard the phrase, “add value to,” in the context of pouring your life into another person (or persons) from John Maxwell. It has always stuck with me because, at the end of the day, I want to add value to the lives of others for the sake of Christ and his Kingdom. I want others to experience the abundant and eternal life of those who know Christ and who are seeking to please him, honor him, glorify him, love him more, know him better, and become more like him in every sphere of their lives. This book offered some great ways to help me grow in my ability to add that value in the lives of others (as well as my own life).
One of the penetrating questions Harkavy asks on page 11 is one that I’m wrestling to answer: “What is your plan to develop your team?”
For me, the paraphrase of that question is this: What is my plan to disciple, shepherd, educate, equip, encourage, enrich, nurture, lead, coach, mentor, etc., the folks of my church family (and perhaps beyond)? Do I have a plan? How intentional am I being? How strategic am I? Are minds being renewed, hearts changed, and lives transformed as I minister to those entrusted to my care? That’s my great calling and passion. Is it happening? How can I do better? Tough questions… but ones that need answers.
In that respect, Harkavy and I are on the same page. He writes,
“…coaching is not merely ‘another thing’ for me; it’s the chosen focus of my life. I love adding value to leaders and showing them how they can do the same for the members of their own teams.” (p. 15)
I’ll try to draw more from this book by taking a look at Chapter Two on another day.
UPDATE – Michael Hyatt just reposted (8-25-09) his article on developing a Life Plan, which is an idea based on the book, Becoming A Coaching Leader. A very fine article and well worth your time.
I love Acts 20! As a shepherd entrusted with the care of a local assembly of God’s flock, I get a lot of mileage out of these farewell words of the Apostle Paul to the church leaders in Ephesus. Paul spent three years shepherding and building the church in Ephesus – longer than he spent with any other church. He poured out his life as he invested in theirs.
As he prepared to depart from them, Paul both reminded them of something important and warned them about something important.
First of all, he reminded them that he had never hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to them. I get the sense here that Paul did not preach to their felt needs, but instead, ministered to their actual needs before a holy God.
Furthermore, he didn’t just preach from the pulpit to the masses. Like the pastoral giant, Richard Baxter, who would use this text as one of the foundations of his ministry some 1,600 years later, Paul went house to house – teaching both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance as well as place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ if they would be saved.
This effort, for Paul, was the cornerstone of his ministry there. He said in verse 24,
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
His faithfulness to this blessed task was what enabled him to say in verse 26 that he was “innocent of the blood of all men.” For he did not hesitate “to proclaim to [the church at Ephesus] the whole will of God.” In other words, there were no essential doctrines of the Christian faith omitted because of how uncomfortable they might make the intended audience. The whole counsel or will of God was preached. That meant that Paul preached on the character, attributes, and decrees of God, heaven, hell, salvation, sin, justification by faith alone in Christ alone, holiness, the cost of discipleship, etc., etc., etc.
If it was a.) helpful to the people (verse 20), and b.) part of the whole will of God (verse 27), then the Apostle preached it.
I’ve heard it put this way before: If you knew you only had five years to minister to someone, what would you want to make sure they heard, understood, and began to put into practice before they left your influence? Paul only had three years. And we don’t have to guess what he spent every minute preaching and teaching. We need only read the Book of Acts and his epistles to know the heart of Paul’s focus.
That leaves me with this question: What am I preaching and teaching the people entrusted to my care during the time that I’ve been given? That includes not only my church but also my family…and anyone else whom I may influence. In that sense, we are all shepherds who need to ask ourselves that penetrating question. We are all called to pass on the whole counsel of God to the next generation of followers and would-be followers of Christ. It’s what Christ meant when he said that included in making disciples is the order to teach them to obey everything that he commanded. He also said in John 8:32, that if we would hold to his teaching, then we are really his disciples.
For us, today, that “whole counsel” of God would include things such as repentance of sin, trust in the person and work of Christ alone for salvation, the great doctrines of the faith, holiness of life, etc.
Some of this will soothe the wearied soul. Some of it will be a balm to the hurting. Even for some of the rebellious it will be inexpressibly good news. For others it will prick the conscience and even stir up anger. It will be repellant for yet others. But we can be assured that it will all be for the good of those whom God has entrusted to our care…to our sphere of influence And that, along with the joy of obeying God in such things, should be all the affirmation we need.
Grace and Truth,
Pat Morley, founder of the ministry to men called, Man in the Mirror, has said something along these lines: “However many men are in your church, that’s how many men are in your men’s ministry.”
It has taken me awhile to fully understand and even embrace that idea. However, I have come to slowly wrap my mind around that idea and now completely agree with it. For many churches, the men’s ministry consists of those dear brothers who attend a monthly Saturday morning breakfast and quick devotion followed by spending the rest of the day doing “chores” around the church (for which, that church is greatly blessed). I know that I had, for many years, a similar view of what constitutes a men’s ministry.
Ministry to men, however, ought to be thought of more comprehensively than that. There are certainly components which, in my opinion, should be present and operative in a men’s ministry, yet a one-dimensional definition of men’s ministry is counter-productive and, ultimately, will not yield very much good and lasting fruit for the kingdom.
Southside’s ministry to men ought to run the gamut of activities and programs… all designed to help build up men in their faith and to equip them to be a blessing to others, in every sphere of their lives.
Small Group Study in Community
Yet, in spite of all that I just said on not wanting to too strictly define or limit what makes up a men’s ministry, I still passionately contend that our men’s weekly discipleship groups at Southside are foundational to all our other men’s ministries.
These weekly discipleship groups, which we call The Baxter Boys, began as a little band of men who met in the living room of my house, just a bit over nine years ago. (Click here and here to learn about our namesake, Richard Baxter.) These weekly gatherings are where our men can be instructed, encouraged, equipped, enriched, edified, and even convicted through the ministry of God’s Spirit and Word working in the midst of Christian community. (Click here to learn more about the primacy of God’s Word in such settings.)
In the Baxter Boys weekly fellowship, our men learn about the things of God – how know him better, love him more, follow him more faithfully, and how to become more and more like him. We do this in the context of community and accountability. Curiously, such a setting has been described as a sterile environment and even irrelevant to real life. I suppose it could be seen as that. I guess it may even be practiced in such a way. Yet, one would have a hard time making that case to many of our men who have had their minds renewed and their lives transformed in and through such a ministry setting.
Throughout the year we used a three-pronged approach that consists of Word, Doctrine, and Life. By Word, I mean a straightforward study through a book in the Bible. When we study Doctrine, we are isolating a particular affirmation of our faith and focusing on it for a period of time, such as the person and work of Jesus Christ. Finally, by Life, I mean a practical, rubber-hits-the-road approach to living in this world as Christian men, whether it’s as husbands, fathers, or in the workplace. Obviously, there is overlap for all three. For example, we don’t (and, I would contend, can’t) study Doctrine or Life without studying the Word. They all connect and interrelate.
Accountability and Encouragement in Community
The Baxter Boys discipleship ministry includes accountability, yet not in the same way as smaller and more intimate groups experience it. Accountability in this fellowship is experienced more through mutually encouraging one another to attend and participate in the life of the groups. And yet, struggles, even failures, are shared. It’s a setting where brothers build one another up in a common faith, lift up one another in prayer, and celebrate victories and successes. Though it lacks the intimacy of smaller accountability groups of 2-4 men, our groups still, to quote John Wesley, “watch over one another in love.”
Leadership Development in Community
Our men also learn leadership in and through our weekly discipleship groups. As our men get more and more grounded in God’s Word, they begin to feel God’s Spirit moving and calling them to serve him in a wide variety of leadership settings, such as in their homes and workplaces, teaching Sunday school classes, working with inner-city mercy ministries, mentoring boys without a father in the home, administrative committees in the church, just to name a few. God has promised that regularly renewing our minds with his Word will bring about such transformation.
Leadership is also manifested in the lives of our men as they seek to pass the baton of faith on to other men. Through study, prayer, and fellowship, God’s Spirit draws them out of their comfort zones and encourages them to invite other men to join us. Many men also begin to pour their lives into the lives of other men through various forms of mentoring and discipling.
Unity in Diversity
One last aspect that makes our weekly fellowship so meaningful is that it is made up of men from a variety of church affiliations. True ecumenism is found when brothers from a variety of denominational backgrounds can gather together and affirm one Lord, one Spirit, one baptism, one faith, all grounded in one Word.
If this sounds like something you would like to become a part of, please do not hesitate to come and join our fellowship!
We meet on Monday nights in Southside’s Family Life Center from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
We meet on Wednesday mornings in Southside’s Family Life Center from 6:30am to 7:30am.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to call me at 396-2676 or email me at email@example.com.
Blessings in Christ,
(April 16, 2010)