The purpose of men's ministry at EP is to encourage men to be effective servants of Jesus Christ by growing in their relationship to him and by being appropriately engaged in the church and the world. There are some unique challenges to men's ministry in the more traditional, established church. For one, in a church like EP it is still the case that most men of working age are engaged in the marketplace full time. In an economy in which companies are able to demand what they want from their employees, this means that discretionary time and energy are near all time lows for men in the church. The church is most healthy when men are leading their families and engaged in the regular ministries of the church. So, the church must be careful not to make men's ministry an end in itself. Rather, the goal must be to think strategically about how to encourage discipleship among men. Our approach to this challenge over the past several years has been to have large events for men in the fall and in the spring. We encourage all men to attend, whether or not it is their custom. The goal of these events are to challenge men through topics at hand, encourage men through the fellowship that they experience, and provide opportunity for continued fellowship and service. These events are efficient and highly focused--otherwise men will not attend. We have developed a positive reputation among our brothers in the community and often have men from other churches attend.
In the past several years, the large group events had been followed by a series of Saturday morning studies. These studies were successful in engaging more men spiritually. As a result, more men became ministry leaders, Sunday School teachers, elders, deacons, and youth workers. We also formed a new ministry that required more male leadership from this same pool of men--the Elevation Community Groups. With so many men from these Saturday morning studies being called upon for additional time and leadership, the short term strategic decision was made to stop doing the follow up series on Saturday mornings.
Paul Veenema and Benjamin Harding provide leadership to the Men's Ministry from the Session and Staff respectively. Many other men have been vital to implementing the large events, small group series and Door of Hope Fundraiser Golf Tournaments. Currently a team of men in our congregation is exploring how we can better equip men to serve Christ faithfully in our culture. I expect that this team will be bringing forward special events (and perhaps a few ongoing series) that raise awareness among our men for the need for Christian leadership and provide opportunities for them to grow in that leadership. I look forward to another year of seeing how God deploys men to serve him in our church and community. In Christ’s Service, Pastor Jay