When I was a kid I used to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom every few months. Why? Just for the sake of it, that's all. I liked the change. In ministry though, change for the sake of change is typically not a good reason to do things. Changes should intentionally support the mission. Our mission as a church is not self-determined but is centered on the gospel and was given to us - the Great Commission. This is summarized in our church's mission statement - "We exist to bring glory to God by making fully devoted followers of Christ who passionately love God and people."
Pastor Mark reminded us of this when kicking off the Bold sermon series and Pastor Brady focused on disciple-making this past Sunday with Ephesians 4. As a church we think that this is best accomplished through ministry to different communities - Children, Special Needs, Adults (Women and Men) just to name a few. As the Discipleship Director for Men, I, along with others, support Pastor Brady in helping craft how we provide men opportunities (special events, classes, groups, etc.) to become healthy and strong disciple-making disciples. Regina Hanson and a team of women serve in this same capacity. My goal today is to explain how the ministry to men and women will be changing to better meet our gospel-centered mission.
Almost four years ago as a church we made some changes to our men's ministry. Intentional changes aimed at providing men with opportunities to become healthier and stronger disciple-making disciples. How? Small groups (Fight Clubs) and a monthly gathering (The Fight). A safe place for "one-anothering" - to KNOW. FIGHT. TRUST.
We started off with some pretty tough topics - first porn and then our emotions. Not exactly easy or comfortable subjects for a bunch of men. Unfortunately, some thought The Fight and Fight Clubs were only for those struggling with lust or porn. Eventually we moved on to the subject of change and then manhood. Later the church would launch women's Fight Clubs and Fight Like A Girl (FLAG). With Fight Clubs and The Fight/FLAG in place men's and women's ministry leadership teams have continuously assessed how well these are helping men and women in accomplishing the church's gospel-centered mission through community, worship, disciple-making, and service. That briefly summarizes where we've been.
This past Sunday Pastor Brady introduced some big ideas that are shaping where we want to go with this bold mission. Engage, Evangelize, Establish, and Equip our families, our church, and our world. We concluded that we needed to make some changes. We feel we need to do a better job of engaging and supporting ALL men and women, both the men and women in our church and in the world around us, not just those in Fight Clubs.
How we plan to do this:
- Diversify monthly men's and women's events that better highlight Community, Worship, Disciple-Making, and Service.
- Support existing opportunities (2 Squared, Financial Peace, Grace Gives, Ministry Leader Training, etc.) and also provide new opportunities (Electives, Marriage Weekend) to meet specific men's and women's needs.
- Empower our small group leaders with the freedom and responsibility to talk about the issues most relevant to the men and women they are leading and ensure we are providing these leaders with specific and consistent training opportunities to grow as leaders.
- Expand and change opportunities as needed and as people become equipped.
With these changes identified, we also felt there was a need to change some of the language we use. Our men’s ministry will be referred to as Men of Grace and the women's ministry will be Women of Grace. Fight Clubs will still have the same purpose of helping one another grow into Christ, but will now be referred to as Small Groups. And finally, The Fight and Fight Like a Girl (FLAG) will be replaced with a variety of events.
Change for the sake of change? We hope you'll see it's not, but very intentional. Change can be scary, but let's be bold this year - join an ABC or a Grace Life Group, sign up for 2 Squared, take an elective, come out to an event, serve, and let's worship the Lord through all of it as we do life together - on mission to bring glory to God by making fully devoted followers of Christ who passionately love God and people!