Tips For You From Our Church’s Experience
Five members of our church and our senior pastor went to Orlando in March 2006 to be trained on the No Man Left Behind Model (NMLB). In addition, our church hosted a regional training in 2008. I highly recommend it to those pastors and men’s leaders who are serious about moving toward a discipleship model in their church’s ministry to men.
We have gone from zero small groups to having small groups of men meeting regularly to grow in their faith. We typically have 50-100 men at an annual discipleship training event, such as Success That Matters or Letters From Dad. We have also attracted many young couples and their families through this approach. Here are several thoughts to consider in using the Model:
- The NMLB approach places a strong emphasis on the senior pastor’s support. Their support and encouragement are Don’t try to do it without them. If possible, have them participate in training with you.
- You DO need that one leader who is on fire for discipling men. He needs to make a commitment. That person needs to become a friend and supporter of the senior pastor, and be willing to develop a good relationship with him/her.
- Put together a leadership team that represents different age groups, especially younger men. They need to understand the Model, and be able to give the “elevator speech” (explained in training) to expand the vision beyond the leadership team. We ask our team members to commit to 18 months, and then add new men along the way and for the next period.
- See every man in your church (and their families) as part of your “men’s ministry,” not just the ones who show up for an event or group.
- If you follow the NMLB Model, it works! But you have to understand the Model, and follow it. Don’t expect immediate results. Although if you lay the groundwork well, you will have a great start! It takes time to change men’s perspectives from the monthly “meet and eat” mindset. And you may have to start with a new team if your existing leaders are not interested in modifying their approach to emphasize discipleship. We took six months to develop and kick off our efforts… but we are still seeing blessings from that first step!
- Personal invitation is key in whatever “Create Value” steps you do. That’s what gets men there (and it helps to get their wives excited about how this event will bless their husbands and their marriage). We had 56 couples for a Marriage Prayer event that was wonderful! The wives really got behind the planning and implementation, and it has blessed many marriage relationships.
- Be willing to invest resources in this Model. Our budget is $2,500 a year, and we get more from individuals who see the importance of supporting the ministry. If you don’t have the funds, pray and ask individuals to catch the vision and invest. The amount depends on what you’re trying to do.
- Don’t let the Model overwhelm you. Start small and grow from there.
- Do fun things for men throughout the year, such as NFL playoff or Superbowl get-togethers, Final Four Basketball Shootouts, etc. Make sure someone gives a brief testimony about how the ministry is blessing their life, and offer an opportunity for guys to commit to their right next step.
- Always have that “Capture momentum” step after an event. And offer ways to “Sustain the Change” as well, such as joining a mission team.
- Prayer needs to undergird everything you do! It works!
Remember how important the work you are doing is!
Yours in Christ,
Men’s Leader & UMM District President, NC