1.4 Success Factors and Trip Wires

After ten years of building men’s ministries in Catholic parishes we have seen common patterns that lead to both success and failure in launching a man’s ministry, especially in the early stages. Below are some of the most common things to do and to avoid.

Success Factors

  • Core Team Selection: Choose men who embrace this model and will accept responsibility for a role on the team. Strive to identify charismatic leaders who can communicate to the average guy in simple but compelling language.
  • Support and Participation of clergy
  • Rehearsing The Model: Before you launch your ministry to the parish, rehearsing the model is essential until table discussions and sharing are relatively fluid and remain on track. If you can’t do this with your core team, there is no reason to believe it will work with a larger group
  • Solid Table Leadership: Identify table leaders are who best suited to facilitate and sustain the small-group table friendship and experience.
  • Hospitality: Make everyone feel invited and included.
  • Parish Launch: It is important to have an official launch to introduce the new ministry to your parish. Without marking the occasion and extending the invitation, your ministry will likely turn into another exclusive small group rather than a thriving faith community.

Trip Wires

  • Parish Launch: Groups who skip the parish wide launch often struggle to grow. Announcements in the weekly bulletin and word of mouth are not enough.
  • Launching to the parish prematurely: Failing to rehearse the model well before your parish launch.
  • Weekly Meetings: Maintaining a disciplined weekly meeting schedule: less frequently is too infrequent and people drift away.
  • Fidelity to the Model: There are many ministry models out there and while we believe this one is unique, we recognize it may not be for everyone. If you want to give this model a shot at success it is important to execute the model as it is designed. Essentially this ministry is a spiritual development model, not a bible study or a good works model. Stick to the script, protect the integrity of the model and don’t let men hi-jack the meeting for other purposes.
    • Often new men show up and in their enthusiasm, have all kinds of ideas for the ministry. Some think you should rake leaves for senior citizens, others want to turn it into a book club. These are great ideas, just not what this model is designed for.
    • If men have a passion for specific good works or other ideas we encourage them to invite others from the ministry to join them but without pressure. This way, men know they can show up each week to safe place and be fed without feeling they will be coerced into other agendas.