YoungER Men Ministry
It's Time for a Change
Concerned about the absence of men aged 18-40, the Southeastern Jurisdiction of United Methodist Men established a 16-member “think tank.” The “think tank” is tasked with identifying how we can best serve the 18-40 age group.
Most young men discover what it means to be a man in their late teens. This is when they make decisions about what the rest of their lives will be about. God and his Church need to be a part of that discovery. But discipling younger men is not easy. That’s why the YoungER Men Ministry exists.
Solidifying, Understanding, and Communicating the Why
Making Disciples of Jesus is complex and multifaceted. Fortunately, Jesus showed us exactly what it means and what it looks like with his group of 12 men. If our true ‘Why?’ is to create disciples of Jesus, we need to understand, solidify, and communicate the model he created us to follow.
Jesus’ 12 represented men of all ages. The only way we will reach and recruit men in all age groups is to follow Jesus’ model. Jesus created a model of mentorship and apprenticeship, older to younger and younger to older.
Jesus knew the questions his men were asking and He provided them the answers with grace and love, absent judgment. He torn down the barriers his men put up by serving and putting himself last and them first.
The Ultimate Why: Making Disciples
Making Disciples of Jesus is the reason why we do what we do. Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.
So, what are we doing as an organization to build and train disciples? The think tank has identified the five areas below where we can improve our reach to younger men.
Small groups are essential to effective ministry. They come in three forms: affinity, curriculum driven and transformational. They suggest transformational groups similar to the Wesleyan model of class meetings that ask the questions “How is your soul today?” “What is God doing in your life?” and “How is your heart.”.
Men like to use their heart and hands, and not just their heads. they said. Jesus showed his disciples how they could make an impact on a global level and the power of that impact on a local or individual level. We believe men are called to address social injustice, domestic violence, poverty and hunger.
The “YoungER Men” team suggests United Methodist Men is on the decline due to its reputation (its brand). There is a need to rebrand, not just setting up another program. Effective rebranding starts with a change in the culture of an organization – adapting it for the 21st century.
“Jesus helped conditions for people to feel safe, powerful and valuable. He helped them have fun and feel loved. Recreational ministry is a great place to create similar conditions.
The goal of any ministry should be to create healthy, strong leaders who are deployed to serve the church. Strong spiritual formation leads to strong expression of the commandment to love God and neighbor and the commission to make disciples.