Reaching Men of All Ages.
Enabling men to be faithful followers of Christ in the 21st century at Plume Avenue Church, Colchester.
Statistics in the uk show the number of men in the church is on the decline. Together with research that shows suicide as the biggest killer of men under the age of 30 Plume Avenue Church began to ask questions around what faith had to offer the wider community and how men could be encouraged to consider the deeper things of life in a safe yet inspiring context.
Beginning with prayer and looking at what was already happening at PAC a number of people recognised the already existing men’s home group as a significant catalyst to develop the men’s work. ‘What is in your hand’ was a question the church asked itself relating to the story of Moses in exodus 4:2 What did the church already have that God was wanting to use?
The men’s group looked at those men in the church who they could get alongside to encourage and disciple. Once individuals had been identified they discovered the course Father Heart Of God. The course was run over six sessions every other week during the Sunday morning service and the men left at the same time as the children! Through the course men have drawn alongside each other and discipled one another, prayed with each other and offered one another practical help.
The men’s work has led the church to ask questions of how it operates in relation to men. What language do we use in church, what do the lyrics of songs say to men, how beyond craft activities, can we engage men in the Venue (Messy Cafe church)? PAC now thinks intentionally of speakers we invite and seek out resources to engage men in questions of faith. As a result of this process PAC has now partnered with Christian Vision For Men.
The ongoing discipling process has led to a weekend trip to Snowdon, a local camping weekend, men’s breakfasts and importantly an environment that encourages questions of faith and life amongst men both in the church and those on the fringes.
Where did the idea come from? How did it start?
The initiative developed from an already existing men’s homegroup. It started as part of a conversation between a few men one church.
Who is it for and What needs is it meeting?
Friendship between men of all ages, Forum to ask deep questions, fun. Any man in the church or not who wants to develop develop friendships, seek faith and have fun!
What Preparation did you do?
Conversations with other men, prayer.
What Resources did you need?
Somewhere to meet, a Fathers heart DVD series, men!
Who have been your partners in this project?
Men from the church.
How did the congregation get on board?
More men are now involved in the wider life of men’s work in the church. It is ongoing and evolving.
What were the key steps to get from idea to day 1 and how long did it take?
Talk to individual men, speak to the men’s home group, men’s home group trialled the course for themselves, invite individuals to take part, run the course, watch the work flourish.
The work took about two months from idea to delivery.
What legislation did you have to deal with?
- IMPACT IN THE COMMUNITY
What impact has the project had on the life of the community?
Very little so far. We would like to be a church that is known to be accessible to men. Some men and boys feel comfortable being at our monthly Messy Cafe Church because they know there will be activities going on that engage them.
How has this changed the relationship between church and community?
The church is becoming more aware of its language and projects and is trying open up to mission that will be more engaging for men. The activities that it puts onward open to all and we are developing a culture of invitation whereby men feel comfortable inviting male colleagues to events that will engage them and encourage them to ask questions.
- IMPACT ON THE CHURCH
How does the project connect with your faith and mission?
Our mission statement is to know Jesus and to make him known. This work fits well into the knowing Jesus section. The work is a key part of our ongoing discipleship programme.
We have run a number of invitation evenings on a Sunday night and men’s breakfasts with speakers that have been suitable to invite male friends to.
How has the life of the church been transformed because of this project?
We now consider language in services, activities at Messy Cafe church, social activities and find ourselves often asking the question ‘how does this relate to men’?
Additional resources and web links
www.cvm.org.uk Christian Vision For Men
www.ransomedheart.com John Eldridge Ministries
www.nakedtruthprayer.com Helping men fight porn temptation.
www.sorted-magazine.com men’s magazine touching on relevant issues with a faith edge.