Mission Lab 2018

‘Roles of a Man' Training series helps churches develop a clear and compelling men’s ministry

August 2nd, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

While the Man Church phenomenon has gained momentum among some congregations, ministry geared specifically to men is missing in action in many churches today. 

In response, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has teamed with Eric Reed and Don Munton of Houston’s First Baptist Church to produce the “Roles of a Man” video resource, now available online from the SBTC.

Reed has served Houston’s First for nearly a dozen years, most recently as men’s minister, while Munton has been the church’s single adult minister for almost two decades.  The tag team duo disciples Houston’s First men using the Roles curriculum developed by Munton and honed by decades of teaching.

Reed and Munton believe a clear and compelling men’s ministry is vital to the health of a church. When churches step away from specific men’s and women’s ministries, Reed said, they may be forsaking the teaching and equipping of leadership and future generations. Additionally, Munton added, men’s natural proclivity toward passivity combined with society’s devaluing of the roles of men have made the need for discipling all the more necessary.

The practice of men’s ministry is changing, SBTC church ministries associate Lance Crowell said. 

“There was a day when large men’s events like Promise Keepers were the norm. We are seeing fewer of these. Fewer churches have men’s ministers. Men’s ministry is incorporated into other areas.”

Lance Crowell

“There was a day when large men’s events like Promise Keepers were the norm. We are seeing fewer of these. Fewer churches have men’s ministers. Men’s ministry is incorporated into other areas,” Crowell explained.

“Churches are rethinking how to engage men holistically,” Crowell added, noting that many churches emphasize smaller groups to create and sustain community. Familiarity encourages participation in church events as men attend functions with their life groups or Sunday school classes. 

“The buy-in is a lot higher when you are in relationship. Relationship is where we must engage men,” Crowell added.

A relational discipleship approach requires a solid foundation in the basics of biblical manhood, Reed and Munton told the TEXAN. The Roles of a Man curriculum is a six-week series taught to men of all ages in groups of varying size at Houston’s First. 

“We teach from [ages]18 to 80,” Reed said. 

The series grew from material Munton discovered in the late 1980s in David McLaughlin’s  book The Role of the Man in the Family. With McLaughlin’s permission, Munton adapted the curriculum, adding material from other teachers, including Kanakuk Kamps’ Hank Harmon. When Reed joined Munton on staff at Houston’s First, they adopted the team approach to teaching Roles of a Man.

As its title suggests, the material is for all men, not simply husbands or fathers. 

“Single or married, old or young, single again or empty-nester, the biblical role of the man is for every man in every season of life.”

Don Munton

“Single or married, old or young, single again or empty-nester, the biblical role of the man is for every man in every season of life,” Munton explained. 

“Men’s ministry is a three-legged stool,” Reed said, requiring a vision of biblical manhood, faith skills and a supportive, intergenerational community to help when life becomes difficult.

Based on more than 20 Scripture passages, including Colossians 1:28-29 and Genesis 2-3, Roles of a Man declares that men are loved by God and play valuable biblical roles as provider, protector, discipler and servant leader, Munton said.

The series can be taught at a weekend conference, although Reed called the material too “intense” for that setting to be optimal. Six weeks works well, Munton said, adding that initial sessions focus on “perspective,” a term he clarified with sports analogies, likening men’s roles to positions on a team.

The two prefer to teach together. “We share stories from each other’s lives, … pass the baton to each other, interrupt each other if necessary,” Reed said. “We want to model biblical friendship. We don’t believe the world encourages that enough.”

Crowell, desiring to make the resource available through the SBTC, approached Reed and Munton about doing a video series. 

Reed and Munton were initially reluctant since the curriculum is evolving and they thrive on audience interaction. Eventually, though, they decided the video would be “healthy” to do.

“The Holy Spirit will interpret for the men watching,” Reed said. “We will be faithful to prepare our hearts and deliver it with passion and truthfulness. We decided to create a resource, not replicate a weekend.”

The curriculum has proved meaningful to thousands of men, single and married, Munton said.

The church as a whole benefits when all men are discipled, Reed and Munton insisted.

“Ultimately, men’s ministry is a ministry to the whole church. It’s not a church inside the church. It is a ministry to the church itself,” Reed said.

At Houston’s First, after each week of class, the men are asked to put into practice what they have learned. The application of theology—called “applicology” by Reed—encourages men to apply their knowledge in Sunday school, community groups or elsewhere at church.

“After the six weeks of classes, these men are stabilizing and enhancing classes and the church,” Munton said, adding that families and work places also benefit long-term.

Men who catch the vision of biblical manhood “step in as a big brother to the [fatherless] children” and participate more fully in the life of the congregation, Reed said. “The more men grow, the more they should be giving their lives away. We see men grow up, and they begin to serve. It’s a beautiful thing.”

“Biblically speaking, I want to equip and train men to walk out of this church to their office space, to their neighborhood, to the little league team, to their families.”

Eric Reed

“Biblically speaking, I want to equip and train men to walk out of this church to their office space, to their neighborhood, to the little league team, to their families,” Reed added.

As for the Roles of a Man video resource, just as McLaughlin originally gave Munton permission to use his original material without charge, the SBTC videos are available at no cost.

“We want to do whatever we can to lift men up and help them play their role in the game of life,” Munton said.

Roles of a Man is designed for groups of all sizes and is available online or in a two-disk DVD set, with a downloadable guidebook, at sbtexas.com/rolesofaman