By Brady Cooper
We all understand how important it is to reach men in our churches today, but how we reach them is a bit more difficult. I want to share three simple things that I, as a pastor, do to attempt to create a “man friendly” church.
Rule No. 1: Be honest and authentic.
I attempt to be very authentic in my preaching. I share my pain, my fears, and my struggles. Most men in our culture today abhor pious preaching. I do understand that there is a balance in this approach and I do not share all my private life, but I want men in my church to know I am on a journey of spiritual transformation with them and I don’t have it all figured out. I hear from guys all the time who tell me how much they appreciate me being real. Our men in the pews aren’t the only guys struggling in their marriages or with lust or financial fears. When I am transparent in my preaching I have the attention of the men and can then take them to the Word for truth.
Rule No. 2: Look for simple ways to encourage men in your preaching.
I make it my aim to look for ways to encourage men in my preaching. I have sat through many sermons where men and their failures were like giant piñatas for the pastor to swing at incessantly. It is easy to load up on men today but in doing so they slip back out to the golf course, the tailgate, or the deer stand on Sunday mornings.
I never will forget counseling a man in my office who was beginning to open up to the Lord. One morning I simply said how proud I was of him for a reading assignment he had completed. When I said those simple words “I am proud of you,” he broke down in sobs and said that it was the first time another man had uttered those words to him. In fact, his longing for his father’s blessing was driving so much of his rebellious behavior.
Rule No. 3: Use man friendly illustrations when possible.
I always look for man-friendly illustrations in my preaching. I don’t share poems or cute sonnets. You might be thinking, “Won’t this alienate the women?” Most women I know want their husbands to be passionate about Christ so they are all for whatever speaks to their husbands. On Sunday morning most men are still thinking about last night’s college football game or what Tiger Woods will do that afternoon in his last round at the Masters. I try to share illustrations from my life that show I am interested in the things that they are. For example: “Hey guys last night when I saw the University of Tennessee football team hold up four fingers to start the fourth quarter it got me really fired up as well. Not just because it was crunch time in the football game, but it reminded me it is crunch time in life. Let’s live like it’s the fourth quarter. Hey guys, let me see you hold up those four fingers.”
I love it when I see one of our men around town and he holds up four fingers. I realize that men need to be challenged to be the spiritual leaders in their homes and in the work place. I am not saying that we don’t challenge men; we must do that, but we need to connect to them at some level first.
Another way we try and stay connected to men in our church is with a 3 to 5 minute weekly video devotion that goes out to men every Thursday morning. This gives us a unique way to encourage and challenge men with truth by leveraging the things they’re into. (You can check out an example at newvisionoutdoors.com)
I understand there is a lot more to reaching men than what I’ve shared, but my hope is that these three practical steps can help you create a more man friendly church!
Brady Cooper is the senior pastor of New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he has served for the past 11 years. Brady is married to Amy Weekley Cooper and they have two sons, Will (20) and Clay (14). Brady loves spending time with his family and being outdoors.