When the Focus is Men...
by Keith Jennings
It started when I was asked to join a group of men at Marietta First United Methodist Church and help build an “all-inclusive ministry to men”.
To put this request in perspective, were I given a choice between surgery and a men’s gathering, I’d probably choose surgery.
Knowing that God is calling me to my own unique ministry, I agreed to “sit in” and see where the Holy Spirit led.
Enter Pat MacPherson.
Having actively served in church throughout my life, I came into this initiative with a bag of biases: more poorly-planned programs, more time-wasting events and yet another attempt at a social club under the guise of “men’s ministry”.
However, there was something different about Pat early on.
He didn’t push his own agenda. He didn’t even try to sell us a box we were expected to fit in. As a matter of fact, he didn’t seem to have an agenda. At first.
Weeks passed. Then months. And I noticed something happening. Relationships and bonds formed among our men.
Having attended MFUMC since 2002, I began walking the halls and getting handshakes and hugs from guys I had probably passed hundreds of times, but never knew.
And it wasn’t just me.
I’ve noticed all the men in our Friday morning men’s group connecting. Chatting in the halls. Offering handshakes. Becoming a tribe.
At this point, and we have only just begun, the worst I can come out of this experience is with new friends. At best, I am answering my Lord’s call to be a disciple and build disciples.
Pat was the catalyst for this.
How do you “measure” ministry? It’s like asking, how do you measure love? Or faith? You really can’t. But you know when it’s there and when it’s not.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. Spiritual growth is more important than numbers growth.
2. The focus of ministries to men is men, not programs and events for men.
3. Growing disciples in not a program, but a wide-to-deep process that takes time.
Unlike many other “ministries-in-a-box” I’ve experienced, MAC Ministries is teaching the men of MFUMC to fish. To hunt. To farm. And to garden. These skills take time and experience. They require intentionality.
And that’s what sets Pat apart. He ministers rather than administers. He doesn’t church men into a mold. He molds men into a church.
And I’m a better man for having met him.