1.1 The Men's Ministry Model
Men's Ministry: What is it?
Why is it needed?
Many men have few close male friends, with whom they can discuss their faith and other important male issues in a meaningful way.
For many men, church and their faith have become spectator sports. They may attend weekly Mass, but they never get around to pursuing spiritual fulfillment beyond that.
Men are called to be spiritual leaders in their families, the Church, and the world. That leadership is greatly needed, and many men want and need assistance in developing these skills.
Many men don’t know how to:
- Become what they’re capable of
- Realize their true priorities
- Commit to being true to these priorities
- Be accountable to these commitments
Purpose of this Website
This web site is based on our experiences at St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield, Connecticut and in assisting other parishes throughout our Diocese. It is intended as a resource to provide guidance and suggestions to men contemplating establishing a parish based Men’s Ministry. In addition to providing an overview of program elements, we have also tried to include practical suggestions for implementation wherever appropriate.
This Men’s Ministry program is meant to serve the men of the parish. Many successful Men’s Ministries have shared common program components, we are presenting ideas that have worked well for our parish and parishes we have assisted in establishing their ministries. However, the program will have a greater chance of initial and long-term success if it is driven by the particular needs of the men in the parish.
- “Go slow and strive for excellence” is a guideline we have tried to follow.
- Rather than trying to quickly win over a large number of the parish men, we believe a better goal is to achieve a meaningful and enriching program.
- For example, as we rolled out the program to our parish, we were prepared to feel successful if we grew to 25 or 30 men, if the program helped those men feel more fulfilled. We believe if you do things well, the word will get out and the program will grow.
In our experience, two ingredients will greatly increase the odds for success:
- The establishment of a “Core Group” of men committed to getting and keeping the program running. The commitment needs to be sincere, but the workload should not prove to be overwhelming.
- The commitment and active involvement of the parish clergy, in particular a priest sponsor. This helps in several ways, including helping to establish credibility within the parish community. The priest sponsor can help immeasurably. Two regular and prominent ways are by: -Guiding the Core Group in spiritual and practical matters, and -Serving as a liaison to the Pastor and to a degree, to the other parish ministries.
- Defining the role of Clergy: In our experience it is best for Clergy to participate in, not run these meetings. The ministry should be able to function without total dependence on Clergy. Over the years we’ve seen many levels of Clergy involvement:
- Some Pastors attend every week, join different tables and participate in the discussion.
- Others show up for the opening prayer, remain awhile then depart depending on their schedule.
- Those unable to attend weekly meetings often participate in Core Team meetings to contribute and stay informed on how things are developing and address any challenges where they may give guidance.
- Weekly Meetings (6:30 – 8:00 AM every Saturday) or whatever time work best for your group. Most parishes default to early Saturday mornings, as this seems to interfere least with Saturday family obligations.
- Spiritual and Catechetical Components
- Social Events
- Parish “Community Building” Activities
- Community Service