As men's ministry continues to gain momentum in the UK and across the globe, the voices of opposition are becoming louder. Mild objections to men holding their own meetings, which are separate from the rest of church, may take the form of vague murmurings in the pews or sneaky passive aggressive behaviour. Stronger objections can range from polite but forthright protest to full-on sabotage.
Yet those who are in favour of the movement, and those who are against it, are frustratingly difficult to identify and pigeon-hole. They may be high church or low, free church or otherwise, male or female, married or single, with or without influence and with or without position in church. As with any seemingly contentious issue it's almost impossible to identify who is your friend and who is your foe until the 'battle' is well under way.
Of course we understand as believers that only God can see exactly what's in the heart. However I learned, while researching for my book What's the Point of Men's Ministry? that it is possible to identify some common causes of concern surrounding men's ministry.
While different questions and concerns clearly overlapped each other I was able to identify some patterns emerging over the course of writing the book. I noticed that some questions surrounding men's ministry were more common among certain people groups. For example church leaders and those in positions of influence naturally had concerns relating to their work, their ministry and the overall running of their church. Wives, mothers and single women voiced a completely different set of worries relating more to their relationships and their independence. The biggest revelation, which took me completely by surprise, was just how many men, quite forcefully, objected to men's ministry and had absolutely no hesitations in telling me exactly why! Yes, you read that correctly.
Of course I also learned that very many men, and women, and church leaders, and wives, and mothers are wholly in favour of men's ministry and the fruit they see it bearing. And some church leaders are completely sold out on it too. According to Christian Vision for Men (CVM) there are currently over 500 men's groups officially registered with them in the UK. That number continues to grow. Whether publicly or privately, with or without approval, with or without official affiliation, men continue to meet up with their Christian brothers for prayer, worship, friendship and fellowship. Statistically, it is more than likely that a grass roots band of committed Christian brothers is quietly growing in your neck of the woods.
Exploring and investigating contentious issues within Christendom is never an easy job. Striving to unpack and address them isn't a simple task either. There's always the potential for misunderstandings and the risk of stirring up even further confusion. I'm not an important leader or a theologian. I'm just a jobbing journalist who's asked the question, What's the Point of Men's Ministry? Perhaps, like me, you've asked that same question. If my little book helps you to understand the answers, even a tiny bit better, well then, I'd be chuffed.
'What's the Point of Men's Ministry?' is available as an ebook on Amazon.