Through various roles over the years as a pastor, associate, chaplain, or para-church ministry leader, this year marks my 23rd year in ministry. While a few things have changed, like God calling me out of being a pastor and into men's ministry targeting outdoorsmen, some things haven't changed at all.
Pastoring Means Being Over-Extended
One consistent pursuit of my life, regardless of my ministry platform, has been finding ways to impact the men within my sphere of influence. However, time was, and still is, forever an issue. Not just finding time in my own life, but in trying to find a time when a church member could carve out time on his end.
On top of finding time, there was the relentless overhead of an overloaded schedule. I know what it's like to live a life of borderline schizophrenia as you are looked to as CEO, Strategist, Shepherd, Prophet, Marriage & Family Counselor, Missionary, Fund Raiser, and Preacher.
So here's a method that worked for me when it comes to men's ministry. It has proven incredibly effective, yet insanely simple. It's called "lunch."
Pastoring And The Power Of Food.
I promise I'm not being cute. I told you it was incredibly simple, but I also told you it has been, and continues to be, incredibly effective.
Men have to eat ... and men love to eat.
I began to use that to my advantage. Every day.
I knew I could not be the one to manage our men's ministry with all of my other responsibilities, yet I knew I could do something as simple as strategic lunches. While it may be hard to get a guy who works construction to spend time playing golf with you, that same guy has to eat lunch. Every day. So, I'd go the job site, and eat a Subway with him.
A corporate executive has his assistant plan his day down to the half-hour, but that same man must eat lunch; and, you're his pastor. He has already given you a license to walk into his life, even if it's on a small level. Use that.
When pastoring churches, I made it my goal every single day to have lunch with a guy in my sphere of influence. No agenda. No formal plan. Just lunch with my brother.
Why? Because men are given a biblical mandate to lead their homes and their churches. Reach the man, you reach the family. Yet I was discovering that I wasn't reaching families because I wasn't reaching men. I was leaving them stranded, and I was their pastor, but more importantly, I was their brother in Christ. I needed them, and they needed me, so I just started using something every man and I had in common: lunch.
I do not have the time or column inches to tell you how effective, and spiritually rewarding, those lunches were both to me and to him.
Sometimes in the course of kingdom leadership we look at complex problems like discipleship, and we wonder how we can get it done with reaching men, when often the answer is right before our eyes in something as simple as lunch.
This article is part of a series that appears once a quarter on Jason's site entitled Called. Resources for ministers, by ministers.