Are you curious about the gender disparity in churches? Why do women outnumber men in religious settings, and why is it often challenging to engage men in church ministries?
In a recent conversation with Todd McIntyre, the brilliant mind behind one of the largest Christian men’s movements in the US, we explored becoming a fisher of men. We discovered a lack of deep connections with men in the church.
Today, we delve into his unique approach to bridge this gap and reestablish a sense of purpose and meaning for men within the church community.
Watch the entire interview by clicking on the thumbnail below or read excerpts in this blog.
Dave: How did you start with what is possibly one of the largest Christian men’s movements in the US?
Todd: It might seem surprising, but I was never a men’s guy. Growing up and in my early career, I worked in Children and Youth Ministries. I did that for the church. I volunteered in the church. Eventually, the church hired us to run their youth and children’s ministries, and worked for a church in Omaha, Nebraska, for a couple of years.
And by providence, God had us go into a church we had been volunteering in. The church that oversaw that church we volunteered in asked if we would come and help them run the men’s ministry. It was called Gateway Church out in Dallas, Texas. And so the crazy thing is, I knew nothing about men’s ministry.
Todd: When we interviewed with the church, I never thought they would hire us. I previously went to schools to talk about character education, how to be a good person, how to be a person of character, and how to be a person that’s responsive, respectful, and fair. While teaching the children, the focus was on how to change the culture of your school, not just a lesson plan, because we knew lesson plans only stick with you for the moment.
But if you could change the culture, if you felt like coming on to this school, you weren’t a person of character, you didn’t fit in, it was more effective. When we interviewed for this job to do men’s ministry out in Dallas, it was interesting that they weren’t really interested in whether I had worked with men or not.
They were interested in how we worked with cultures and how we worked with the culture of schools, and we were able to see results throughout the ten years we did this. And so they gave me a deal. They said, We’ll hire you, but on one condition: you’ve got to study men’s ministry and what churches are doing with men. I also had to work for another guy for nine months.
I studied. I thought every church in the world probably did great with men. And so I found out that all the major churches you can find out didn’t do well with men.
It was like the worst ministry in all the churches.
But it’s not that guys don’t want God. It’s not that guys don’t want to connect. They don’t want to do it if they feel stupid doing it. So it’s pretty interesting.
Dave: You’re doing such an important work because bringing back the man to church is fundamental. So, what must we do to bring men back to the church and ultimately back to God?
Todd: First, develop a way to bring them into an indirect world they understand. For us, we would do events, advertise the worship team, and advertise the Speaker.
But for most men, they don’t care about that. They don’t care who worships. They don’t care who speaks. They’re coming for the experience, and they want to know if they will feel comfortable in that experience.
We called a motorcycle shop, a Harley-Davidson shop, and asked, “Would you be willing to sell Harley-Davidsons at our event?” And we were averaging about 50 to 200 guys that would come to our events then. We advertised Harley-Davidson to partner with Gateway men to do a men’s night. We’re going to have free food and worship and a message afterward. And we advertise that.
Now, everyone in my world in the church thought I was crazy.
So we did this, and that night over 750 guys showed up for the event, and I didn’t have any more seats like the guys told me.
Todd: But here’s what was interesting. So we hung out. We had pizza. We did the motorcycles. We had worship. We had a message. We didn’t dumb it down. We didn’t change the worship songs and tried to make them seem secular rather than Christian. It was all Christian worship with a heavy message. It wasn’t like we dumbed down the message. At the end of the night, the altar call filled up, and guys came rushing to just say, I want to give my life to Jesus.
So it sounds crazy, but it took motorcycles to get the guys to come. It took the entire act, took food, it took the stuff to get them to come.
It’s just bait. Jesus is the hook. The bait gets you to come and taste it. But once you get in, you get hooked by Jesus. And that’s what we’re trying to do in churches right now, to help churches understand how to get the bait on the hook, not to make the bait the hook.
David: What’s next?
The men’s summit is still going. It sold out this year. We got to go to it in March.
It’s an incredible opportunity for men just to get connected. And what I love the most is that it’s a safe place to bring your son. Most times in churches, we separate the children, youth, and adults, and I think we’ve done a disservice because we haven’t taught our sons how to worship.
Unleashing the power of men in the church is a noble pursuit. What does God call you to do — in your job, ministry, and family?
Feeling excitement and hesitation as you embark on this journey is natural. You might wonder if your efforts will truly make a difference. But remember, every life transformed, every soul saved, is a victory worth celebrating.
So, let your passion fuel your purpose, and your ambition drive you forward. Your impact matters, and the world is waiting for your extraordinary work. Now, go forth and ignite the flame of change. The applause of heaven awaits your triumphant journey!