Father's Day Special: Exploring Men's Ministries in China

Shenzhen men's fellowship
Shenzhen men's fellowship (photo: Christian Times)
By Kristina RanJune 17th, 2024

To foster the growth of male lay members, pastor male communities, and cultivate male leaders, it is crucial for churches to create ministries specifically aimed at male believers and husbands. In celebration of Father's Day, the editorial team at the Gospel Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, has gathered a variety of distinctive men's ministries to highlight. The reporters' names mentioned below are pseudonyms for safety reasons.

Family pastures: Respect and affirmation empower men

A church in Liaoning places great emphasis on family, establishing family gathering sites to nurture believers. Even if some husbands do not believe in Jesus, they are still given important roles in activities. They may not be assigned specific tasks, but their position as the head of the family is affirmed.

Xiao Dai, a staff worker of the Gospel Times who visited this church, said many have been built up through this activity.

As the church's pastor adheres to the principle that “men need respect and affirmation,” even men who generally lack interest in church activities are willing to participate in family gatherings.

After twenty years of persist efforts with family pastures, "now most of the people serving in this church are men." They have risen up and led many to faith. Many families with troubled marital relationships have also been restored, becoming beautiful testimonies in their lives.

Men's camps: The first step to healing is opening up

The men's camp that Xiao Fu attended primarily targets married men, conducting a three-day, two-night retreat. Besides teaching biblical responsibilities of husbands, it particularly emphasizes that men must adhere to God's word and view the Bible’s instructions as commands rather than casual suggestions.

Additionally, the key to the effectiveness of the men's camp lies in the pastors who opened up about their own experiences with temptation, weakness, and sin, no matter how shameful or difficult to speak of, and shared how God helped and healed them.

“In the same group, many problems and weaknesses are common,” Xiao Fu said. The demonstration by the pastors makes it possible to share within the small group and collectively outside the group. Because of this, a brother in Christ was encouraged to speak about struggles he had never shared with anyone before, and the pastor prayed for him. “Sharing one’s weaknesses here does not lead to condemnation but rather to help from everyone.”

Effective use of games to break the ice

Games have been used in many church activities, from daily small group gatherings to couples' retreats. They should also be widely used in men's ministries. Due to reasons such as shy personalities or professional identities, many men are not good at opening up. Games can help break the stiff atmosphere and promote integration.

A men's retreat in a church in Ningbo left a deep impression on Xiao Shi. The event was divided into three parts: a tour, games, and learning activities, starting with a church tour and then moving on to games. In men’s fellowship activities in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and Jinjiang, Fujian, games are also widely utilized. 

Tailored teaching based on men's characteristics

In addition to the above case studies, Xiao Yin summarized that the key to men's ministries is recognizing the unique characteristics of this group, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and thus providing targeted care.

“The best way to lead men to grow is to work with them,” a pastor from Anhui told Xiao Yin. During the dedication of a new church building, all tasks, such as vehicle management and reception, were handled by men.

Compared to women, men prefer ball sports. A grassroots church plans to set up a basketball court in the churchyard to attract more young men.

A pastor in Guangxi found that the church rules on holiness by establishing moral and lifestyle requirements, such as prohibiting smoking and drinking, which prevents many people from approaching the gospel.

“Do not set entry barriers for someone to come to church. You must quit smoking and drinking, or you cannot enter the church,” the pastor urged. He is willing to take risks, placing ashtrays at the venue when inviting new men to participate in activities. The aim is to let these people feel accepted by the church. Jesus accepts them not because they have been changed, but because he loves them unconditionally, with their lives transformed through this love.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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