Every church, pastor, and men's leadership team wants to know how to get more "stick" out of their events.
Suppose you plan and execute a very successful event or activity for men. It could be a "men only" event like a fireside chat with the pastor on a Sunday night
That's good, but frankly, "men only" is the old wineskin of men's discipleship. The new wineskin is "wherever men are involved is men's discipleship." We call it the all-inclusive concept. So broaden your thinking. Any event where men are involved is also, at least in part, a men's event. For example, the graduation ceremony for vacation Bible school, a tour of the local food bank, the annual fall festival, or the family Easter egg hunt on the church grounds.
Now here's the heartburn. It is so disappointing to expend all that energy to turn men out, then see them drift away when the event is over. Frankly, it just takes too much effort to not have a fabulously elegant "right next step" to suggest for each man. It might be as simple as inviting a man to church or to meet (or meet again) for a coffee. It might be a six week study on a topical issue he's interested in, such as marriage, parenting, or how to be a leader. Anything. Just don't let him slip away! Obviously, some men are not ready for a next step, but what about those who are? To not offer that step is, in some sense, failing that man's discipleship.
Here's the strategy to capture the momentum. First and foremost, be a closer. Suggest and close on the right next step while you are together. Imagine walking into an automobile showroom and spotting the car you have always wanted – a shiny red convertible. You walk around the car several times leaving drool as you go. A sales person walks up and says, "She sure is a beauty, isn't she?" You respond how much you love this car!
What would you think if the salesperson said, "I can see you really want this car. I tell you what. Why don't you give me your name and phone number and I will give you a call in a couple of weeks to see if you're still interested?" Yet that's exactly what happens when churches expend a lot of energy and resources to turn men out, but then don't help them identify their next step right there on the spot.
The last thing you want to do is collect names and tell men you will get back to them. Two weeks later, after you've sorted the cards by ZIP Codes, most men will have forgotten they even checked the box!
Also, be sure to avoid the opposite error. Don't ask a man for too big of a commitment – such as a three year commitment to an inductive Bible study as a way for a non-churched men to wrap up a season on your church softball team. That guy is more likely the man you invite to church or for that cup of coffee.
The greatest amount of energy required in nature is that amount necessary to overcome inertia. It's take a lot of energy and creativity to get a man moving. So don't throw it away. Once you get a man in motion, capture the momentum. And do it on the spot. It's the discipleship thing to do.