The most neglected ministry in the Church is Men’s ministry. I know this from experience. I have sat in a meeting with a senior pastor who told me that “for the amount of effort it takes to do men’s ministry well, it wasn’t worth the time to do it.” I have been part of Churches where women bible studies out number the mens 4:1. I have been to churches that women not only ran the ministry, but served in the ministry 10 times more than men. I have been in churches where men’s ministry was relegated to setting up chairs and tables. I have been on church websites that contain curly letters and every shade of red, in sanctuaries that have more floral arrangements than flower shops, and worship services that try to help us dance with Jesus (complete with ballet slipper background on powerpoint) or fall in love with Jesus. Each of these scream that churches are after women, designed by women, and full of women. Men are the outsiders or at least the minorities. It makes sense at times, because some of the most successful ministries to men, in recent months have seen their leaders (Mark Driscoll and Ignite) come under scrutiny. It poses the question that David Murrow answered in his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church! (not the book I’m writing about but a great read none-the-less!)
Steve Sonderman has written his book, How to Build a Life-Changing Men’s Ministry, as a both a testament to the ministry that he started 20 years ago at Elmbrook Church and a pattern for others to follow in starting their own men’s ministry at their Church. First off, this book is chalked full of practical ideas for events and leadership in men’s ministry. Sonderman hits the nail on the head with his advice about staying on vision. Men, above all other groups in the church, are vision oriented. When it comes to doing ministry, men want to the know the purpose first and foremost. There are busier groups in the church, but none more careful with how they spend their time. When men get together, they want to accomplish something. Vision is vital to doing men’s ministry.
The second major point that Sonderman emphasizes in this book, is the involvement of others in leading the ministry. There is no doubt that he was the point man, however, his teams, from outreach to small groups to retreats, are full of men who share his vision and his purpose. They are well trained, highly committed, and extremely responsible.
This book is really about how to create a ministry, not necessarily a mens ministry. It covers vision, teams, small groups, and purpose. It was very well written, extremely practical, and very well researched. His bibliography is well rounded and his text is well sourced. Sonderman has written a great book that is a valuable tool for anyone wanting to start a ministry.