Category Archives: Advanced Tips

This is advanced training for leaders

Five Rules For Great Men’s Small Groups

Five Rules For Great Small Groups Experiences and Avoiding The Pet Peeves Of Men

Pastors want men to lead, but often the complication is training them to lead in an environment without a lot of structure. Most men from the marketplace are accustomed to working within structures but in a non-profit setting there is often not a lot of structure, and more freedom than leaders are used to. Given this, pastors and directors give their men's ministry small group leaders a long leash but sometimes find this is counterproductive and that only a few survive when throwing them into the deep end of men's group leadership. What these men need, is not just more experience, but maybe a little structure to get them going.

Principle: We need to give leaders a little structure.

As a man who has lead hundreds of groups in my ministry career, there is nothing more challenging than coaching a men's small group leader in an environment where you will never see the dynamic. I would even have problems dubbing this "coaching" because most coaches, like an athletic coach, watch their dynamics unfold and make adjustments along the way. For a men's leader in a small group experience, we might never see events happened. And if we do attend their meeting, men are on their best behavior. And this is what makes a men's group and leadership a messy experience.

Several years ago, we invited Heather Zempel, a small group expert, to come in a speak to our leaders. She authored a book entitled "Community is Messy," and she stated:

"Discipleship is a whole life journey, not an eight-week class. It's a process of becoming, not a destination. And this is always messy."

What a timeless reminder. But just because groups are messy and different in every situation, this does not mean that we shouldn't have a leadership approach that will help us lead the men in our group toward greater success and higher percentage results. Here are a few rules that I believe help men have a little bit of a framework for their role as a leader and facilitator of a group.

Rule One | Spend More Time Asking Over Telling

I believe the best leaders in a group setting are not those with all the answers. They are those who ask the best questions. For reference, you may want to spend time counting how often Jesus asked questions. He asked a lot of them. And even when people asked him questions, he often returned a question with another question! For example, take the Rich Young Ruler, who asked: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus could have just answered the question, but rather he asked back "What is written in the Law?" And why did he do this? Becuase this is what great leaders do. Even when you know the answer, sometimes you need to hold back. This is one of the hardest things to teach leaders who have a passion for teaching. If you ever need a failsafe question, I have told all our leaders to use the question, "Say More?" This is my favorite go-to question when men offer short anecdotal answers to a question because it turns the comment into deeper personal sharing.

Principle: Use the question "Say More?"

Rule Two | Catch Men Doing Things Right

Nothing will get your group moving in a positive direction quicker than encouraging and complimenting men when they engage in behaviors you want. While we may be tempted to tell the group what to do, it is better when men make impromptu actions, and you reward them publically for the behavior. For example, "Thanks John for being so transparent, I know that was probably difficult to share." Or "Bob way to go on bringing donuts and coffee this morning, can someone else do that next week?" Or my favorite, "Man everyone was early today, thanks for being on time!" Catching men doing things right creates a growing group dynamic in a small group setting that is much more positive than a list of rules or telling people how it is going to work.

Principle: Catch men doing things right and call it out publically.

Rule Three | Focus On Relationships Not Just The Material

This is often the forgotten rule for those who gather men. We must remember It is okay to postpone a lesson or to truncate the material. Yes, you can do that. Because you are free to do what you want, and no one is going to punish you if you don't get all the way through something in the time you were given. Sometimes you might even need to modify a group meeting. It is okay to eat breakfast together or go bowling, hunting, or golfing to build relationships in a different context. Relationships are important to the meeting along with a shared path of discovering life together with God.

Principle: It's the men, not just the material.

Rule Four | Be Curious About Everything

A great men's leader is naturally curious about people, things, and life in general. Men want to know other men in the group. Let them share prayer requests in the group time. Have men share about the challenges they are facing at work, home, with children. Welcome men in the group to share testimonies of their life. The more men share personally, and not just facts and opinions, they grow in relationship depth. So be curious, a little like an investigator. But do this with everything, because everything is interesting in a small group setting.

Principle: Be curious and interested in men.

Rule Five | Keep The Big Picture In Mind

Great small group leaders keep the big picture in mind while working on the details. For some, this is a challenge because we got caught up in a lesson, a point, or an illustration we cannot wait to make. Leaders should lift their heads sometimes and remember men in our group need direction and understanding of both why we are doing something and where we are on the path of getting there.

Principle: Cast vision for the big picture in your group.

These are just a few rules for your men's leader to keep in mind. These have helped me greatly over the years and ones that I have embraced for myself in every group meeting. They are broad enough that they also work in almost any type of group I have ever led. And while I could have included a dozen more, these are the one at the top of my list because they are the pet peeves I dislike in poorly led small group experiences. Notice the contrasted pet peeves I have about poorly led small groups.

My List of Pet Peeves

  • Leaders that teach the whole time <vs> spend more time asking over telling
  • Leaders that talk down to men <vs> catch men doing things right
  • Leaders that only care about the material <vs> focus on relationships, not just the material
  • Leaders that are not curious about me <vs> be curious about everything
  • Leaders that don't guide me through the lesson <vs> keep the big picture in mind

If you are looking for material for your men's group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a

Vince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to speak to men's audiences and has a deep passion for mentorship and God's Word. He has authored ten books and small group content for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Reach out to him today if you need a men's speaker or content for your men's small groups.



Top Six Reasons Men Join A Small Group

no man left behind mens ministry bible studies resolute

After thousands of exit surveys, here are what men give for reasons they join a small group.

The hardest thing you will ever do is recruit men to join a small group experience. Like everyone today people are busy, and men are no different. And recruiting men will sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But just because it is hard, this does not mean that we need to give in or give up since the net payoff is often enormous and worth the effort.

Men need small groups.

I would attest after overseeing small groups in one of the largest churches in America, Eagle Brook Church, and leading men through the ministry of Resolute, that a small group is the best opportunity for deeper and richer growth that has long lasting impact.

These reasons are our survey results of thousands of surveys.

Considering this, thousands of men over the years have joined our groups and used the curriculum in Resolute. And after surveying all our men in exit interviews, here are the top six reasons that they say they joined our small groups. I think these are very insightful on what men are looking for in their spiritual development as it applies to your small group situation. And I did not make these up, these are their top reasons for joining.

Reason One | The Mentorship Void

The first reason we discovered that men join small groups is that men have a mentorship void. The most basic need of men is a need for mentorship.

For proof, turn to the first twelve disciples. They too had a void, and Jesus in this void met their mentorship needs. In fact, I believe this is a timeless need. If you read the New Testament carefully looking for this theme, you will notice quickly that the entire New Testament and the ministry of Christ were built around the topic of mentorship. In fact, turn back to Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and read what Jews called the “Shema Yisrael.”

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

As you read this, you will discover that God commanded mentorship as his method of passing wisdom from one generation to the next. And in today’s world with family and spiritual guidance being so disconnected, this mentorship baton is frequently dropped leaving a void for the people who are next in line. I cannot tell you how many times in a group I have heard even great Christian men with great families say that there was little spiritual mentorship in their home growing up. And men, even though they have a hard time asking for it, want mentorship often because they missed it themselves and now desire it and want to pass it on.

Reason Two | Need For Structured Guidance

A second reason that men join a small group is men want structured guidance.

Most men do not know how to verbalize this need, but the process in the men’s ministry or group is important to them. While men will occasionally come to an event as this presents a small risk. However, when you invite them to a men’s group you are inviting them to join a process.

You are inviting them to join a process.

A small group invitation is a much bigger ask, because all of a sudden, a bunch of process obstacles come into play. And if you are going to invite men, you need to ensure you can answer the process the questions they may have. If you are simply studying material, men will only be faithful to the material as long as the material lasts. However, if you build a process, you will gain men for an extended period time. I remember men that joined my first Resolute groups signed up for weekly meetings for 2-years. And guess what, they came in droves. In fact, 93% of men that joined the 2-year program finished with me. And why? Because I could answer the process question for them, and they committed to the process not exclusively the content.

Reason Three | Desire For Like-Minded Community

The third reason that men join is men long for like-minded community.

Men want community, even though they may not admit it.

This reason seems simple, but as you know far too many men deal with life situations and environments at work that are not spiritually nurturing. And these men need community with other like-minded men. There is not a lot of complexity to this one, other than men are looking for a way to escape or game up for their week.

Reason Four | The Want A Strong Male Role Model

A fourth reason that men join small groups is men are looking for strong male role models.

Men want role models.

This is more challenging than you think, but men have told us in exit interviews that individual character, biblical and leadership competency, and personal chemistry with the leader or a person in the group is another reason for joining. If you can invite these types of male leaders into mentoring other men in small groups, you will witness male engagement go up. This is because every Timothy needs a Paul in their life and this principle never gets old regardless of how old you are. And if you are a man who others consider to be a role model, then we need you in the game. You are the hope of the generation behind you.

Reason Five | The Search For Identity & Purpose

The fifth reason that men join is men long to discover their greater purpose. Identity and purpose are timeless needs for all people. Men, I believe are major targets for getting sucked into the rat-race vocationally and then usually rethink their identity and purpose at some point. Often, they are lost in finding the convergence of vocation and spiritual purpose. It is in this reflective time that men search for a men’s group as a place to think through these issues in their life. They are looking for purpose but also a safe place to process it.

A friend of mine Patrick Morley, wrote a book years ago called “Man in the Mirror,” and in this timeless book he addressed his search for purpose and how God worked through his struggle. As a result, he left his vocation in commercial real-estate and formed a ministry to men called “Man In The Mirror.” While we are not all called to vocational ministry, I think the transformation he went through is what men are seeking – the convergence of our design with God’s divine purpose and calling that has the potential for impact that reaches beyond this world. And men need a safe place to explore this, which is found in a men’s group.

Reason Six | A Desire For More Of The Bible

A sixth reason is that men want more of the Bible. In every one of our Resolute groups, we read the Bible, which is probably a reason men put this on the list of reasons.

Men do not want another social club the world offers these, they need the Bible, and the God of the Bible.

I think far too often men’s groups drift toward becoming social clubs or feel good groups, and thus engagement drops off after a short period, or a group becomes stagnate. I know in my 25-years of working with men that they want more of the Bible, in a relevant way, and when men come to a Resolute group, they get that. Our men in exit interviews say that reading and inductively studying God’s Word was a major attraction and greatest benefit of their group experience in comparison to others they have joined. The greatest attraction we have is God’s Word, because regardless of how good or bad we are at leading a group God’s Word is faithful every time and his Word carries us through. And men want it. So, give the Bible to them.

These have been our learnings from the men that have participated in our groups. Hopefully, these reasons are enough to motivate you to stay with it or to make some small tweaks. But these are not just my thoughts they are thousands of men who shared reasons they joined a small group and the factors that kept them engaged.

If you are looking for material for your men’s group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a or send us an email.


Vince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to speak to men’s audiences and has a deep passion for mentorship and God’s Word. He has authored ten books and small group content for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Reach out to him today if you need a men’s speaker or content for your men’s small groups.


A Disciple Method for Leading a Men’s Small Group

A Disciple Method for Leading a Men’s Small Group

A Simple Approach For Leading Your Men’s Group

I have found that there are hundreds of principles for small group leader that equip men for the challenging task of leading a small group. But who can remember all these tips and tricks, seriously there are thousands?! From my 25-years of leading small groups for men, I have found one failsafe philosophy that will empower you for leading men more than any other. Philosophy, that if embraced, will turn you into a great leader and help you with any group you lead. And all you have to remember is three letters – KMS.

I guide our leaders toward keeping the KMS leadership process at the top of their mind. It helps them keep their group focused on discipleship and guided them toward a holistic approach to discipleship and leadership development. KMS stands for “knowledge, modeling, and skills.” Together these form a complete picture of a discipleship process, which Jesus modeled for his men. When these three elements are intentionally carried out by leaders, group members will experience transformation and will be equipped for ongoing growth in their relationship with God. And all this happen right in your small group community. Here’s how I break them down.

Knowledge: The essence of what we need to know.

Knowledge is how we gain new insights and perspectives, or it reminds us of them, through teaching, discussion, and observation. By far our greatest tool for knowledge is the Bible. Leading men and equipping them to discover God’s Word and hear from Him through the Bible is our most important role. In Resolute, we read scripture every time out loud every time we meet. Also, we guide men through additional concepts to broaden their understanding of the topic at hand. And to increase the sticky factor of this knowledge, we also end each session by leading men in discussion questions to help them reflect on how they will apply the knowledge they are learning to their everyday lives. Without application and integration into one’s life, education is worthless, or as Jesus says, knowledge without application just leads to arrogance.

Modeling: It’s not just the group content it’s the leader.

In modeling, the men learn by observing the leader or mentor. This may be something a leader shares about their own private life, how they interacted with someone recently, or how they respond to challenging situations. This is especially at play when something unexpected happens in a group meeting. This unexpected moment is your finest moment to model for the men, for what you do here is the tell-tale sign of who you are. Show men how to respond, by caring, praying, deliberating, or confronting.

Modeling is useful for picking up small but significant things that can benefit someone else’s life I cannot tell you how many times a man in one of my groups has commented on how I handled a situation that forever changed their perspective on leadership and even who I am. The key aspect of modeling is recognizing that you are not just extending knowledge, as important as that is, you are also extending your life. The men in our groups learn from who we are as people, as followers of Christ, and as we lead and interact with them. Purposeful modeling is essential. As leaders, we need to think about main features we want to model as we prepare to lead each week. Particularly important are characteristics that may be newer for some men. Here are some examples:

  • Humility: Humbly sharing struggles we have encountered with the theme of the week’s lesson model’s humility, vulnerability, and security in God’s love for us. It also encourages men that they are not alone in their struggles and that they are normal.
  • Honesty: Owning our sins which we have committed and sharing honestly about them is compelling. We are human, and eventually, the men you lead will find out. Why not share a little bit at a time and build a report with them along the way?
  • Peace & Forgiveness: It is important to share about times we have pursued peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the middle of a conflict. These are major areas of need for many men and modeling this can be overwhelming.
  • Service: Sharing successes or failures as we serve our wife, children, colleagues, have been some of the greatest teachable moments in my groups. And more often than not I share my failures, but men love to see me not always at my best, but my worst.
  • Biblical Wisdom: Intentionally sharing about decisions that are guided by God and his wisdom rather than our culture in areas such as money, materialism, busyness, rest, sexual purity, and numerous other areas.
  • God’s Love: Sharing our sincere belief in the Father’s love for us as his son, which many men find difficult to believe. And maybe how we saw God’s love displayed to us over the last week.

The primary means of modeling will happen through intentional sharing as a part of one’s leadership. Modeling also happens as a leader responds to others in the group, during 1-on-1 meetings, or other gatherings outside of the group time.

Skills: How to implement the knowledge and modeling.

Skills are areas that need hands-on training and the opportunity to ask questions to ensure that the individual can utilize the skill proficiently. Skill training is essential in spiritual practices such as planning a regular time with God, prayer, and Bible reading and study. We invite men in Resolute to pursue these practices in directed ways during the week and report back at the beginning of the next group meeting. We have found it best to train in one spiritual practice over many weeks. Learning to utilize life skills from a Biblical perspective such as making important decisions, working through conflict, and the like are also key. Exercises, role playing, case studies, and other methods are very effective to help men gain these skills. Remember In some cases one-on-one meetings can be helpful in working through a skill with a group member.

If you are looking for material for your men’s group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a or send us an email.

Vince-Miller-headshot-resolute-bible-studyVince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to speak to men’s audiences and has a deep passion for mentorship and God’s Word. He has authored ten books and small group content for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Reach out to him today if you need a men’s speaker or content for your men’s small groups.


Five Reasons Men Don’t Join Small Groups

5 Steps To Accountability a Blog by Vince Miller

The Five Reasons Men Don't Join Small Groups

Few things have a positive impact on us more than healthy relationships with other Christian men. And yet still so few men are engaged in a small group community. As a pastor who used to oversee small groups in one of the ten largest churches in America, Eagle Brook Church, in the Twin Cities, I can attest to the fact that involving men in small groups is the greatest challenge men's leaders, directors, or pastors will ever face. And we know that engaging men is a critical target market, that often goes untapped.

David Murrow, the author of “Why Men Hate Going To Church,” said in an interview with CBN,

"The pastorate is a men’s club. But almost every other area of church life is dominated by women. Whenever large numbers of Christians gather, men are never in the majority. Not at revivals. Not at crusades. Not at conferences. Not at retreats. Not at concerts.”

While I think David’s, title book title is a little extreme, the reality he paints in this statement is spot on.

But I think more needs to be said about the root causes mostly because we get disillusioned about the involvement of our men without understanding the real reason behind diminishing male involvement. Here are five reasons I believe men do not join small groups.

They Deal With Personal Shame

The first reason that men don’t join is that men deal with a lot of private and personal shame. While most men are not eager to talk about it, one of the primary reasons men do not connect with men's ministry or men's small groups is that they are embarrassed to admit that they may not have the answers. Men are sensitive, whether they admit it or not, about being made a fool of in a group meeting. They also do not want to be the outcast in a group setting. And in moments of confession, I have heard men say personal shame or an immature faith is a valid reason for avoiding small group engagement. While some people might want to shout "man-up and get in a group," working through this issue is a real challenge. This is because men prefer to play on teams where they can win, do work they excel at, and be a part of group experiences where they can feel some measure of competence. So, do not ignore the power of shame by providing them with a safe and caring environment.

They Don't Respect The Leader

A second reason that men don’t join is that men don’t respect the leader. While this is a tall order for any leader, this is a common reason for the lack of participation and followership. Men willingly and recklessly follow men who are perceived, strong leaders. They want to learn from them and want to sit at their feet. I have found that if someone like John Piper, Matt Chandler, and Tim Keller walked up to you and said to you join my group, you would probably follow. Because the character, wisdom, and leadership of the man make all the difference. There is no church with an army of Andy Stanley's leading the way, but there is usually one man who everyone follows. He is the one I would challenge to lead and replicate the men's efforts in my church, assuming his character is one that is biblically grounded and willing to lead.

They Don't Like Other Men In The Group

The third reason that men don’t join is that men don’t like the other men in the group. Now, this is a typical chemistry problem. I have heard this excuse several times and have even had people leave groups I have led because there is some other man in the group that they do not like. I have also asked men to leave a group for the benefit of the group itself. This poses a unique challenge for any leader. We have to remember that we will not always anticipate these issues, and in some cases, we cannot avoid them. However, my solution has been to create groups with a broader reach. Here is what I mean, I have found some of my best groups have been groups of men that do not know each other very well. While most churches focus exclusively on having their congregation in a small "church" group, I've found that this is not always the best option for men. Groups with higher anonymity often have higher male participation at first, because they can share more openly, and there is less risk with issues like chemistry. Just think about it, if rather than having men exclusively from your church, how about having men from the many churches. Consider how this might increase the vulnerability and lower the risk for men who are not familiar with small group dynamics to begin with.

It Doesn't Address Their Life-Stage Challenges

A fourth reason that men don't join is that the group does not meet their current life stage challenges. A single man is going to self-opt out of a group for married men, and a group on fathering is going to exclude men who are not. While life-stage groups are helpful, they also create an issue for churches and ministries that are trying to get going. Often life-stage groups are challenging to begin with unless you have a large ministry with a lot of good curriculum access. If you don't, then I believe focusing on common discipleship paths is much more effective. I have had hundreds of men join our program and use our small group curriculum for this reason alone – it attracts men of all ages, and all walks of life, with an extensive discipleship path.

They Are Too Busy

The fifth reason is the killer, and as a leader that wants to see men mature, this one drives me crazy—men are too busy. This is because life is busy. But I know one thing that life will never move as slow as it does today. Therefore, I believe the excuse “too busy” is another way to say one of two things; either they did not want to mention one of the reasons above, or they prefer status quo because life is fine as it is. What they are saying is that don't need it or want it right now. But I have discovered when the pain is high enough, they will reorder their priorities and consider that community, relationships with other like-minded men, and a regular dose of God’s Word is just what they need.

Five Solutions For Your Men

So in conclusion, while the obstacles are numerous, I think the solutions are out there because we cannot just give up. And by the way, I have already given you a few great solutions to consider.

  • For shame – give men the promise of a safe environment.
  • For leadership – give them the strongest male leader in the church.
  • For chemistry – give them, groups that are more anonymous and community-focused.
  • For life-stage – give them general discipleship with a clear path.
  • For busyness – give them the challenge of a community, so when pain strikes, they know where to go.

If you are looking for material for your men’s group, or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a or send us an email.

Vince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to speak to men’s audiences and has a deep passion for mentorship and God’s Word. He has authored ten books and small group content for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Reach out to him today if you need a men’s speaker or content for your men’s small groups.



Communicating About Resolute

SUMMARY: So today the purpose of this lesson is to give a solid answer to this one question, “What is Resolute?” Simply put, Resolute is a spiritual game plan for men. This perhaps is the most important question to have an answer to since Resolute is a unique program for Christian men.






You need to be registered and logged in to take this quiz. Log in


Your First Men’s Small Group Meeting

Great Leadership a daily devotional by Vince Miller at Resolute Mens Bible Studies

Experience a successful men’s small group meeting. A simple easy-to-use outline for killer success.

I sometimes believe when gathering men for the first time we overthink it. It is not as hard as we make it in our mind. Whether we are gathering a few men, or many, here would be things I would make sure and do after 25-years working in ministry and leading groups of men. And if you keep the first gathering to just these steps, you will stress much less, and realize that community and chemistry are major components to getting a men's small group off the ground. The other stuff we will get to later.

First | Pick up food or snacks and arrive 10 minutes early

Again don’t over think this. We are probably not going to set out silver, porcelain, and matching linen. We are men. Just go to a local donut or grocery store and get a carafe of coffee to go and some hand food. But if you have a snack it gives men something to do as those first moments can be awkward.

Second | Introduce men as they arrive (10 min)

Introduce yourself and other men to each other. Not rocket science, but you should invite the men to talk to one another. And game up for this. You should introduce other men, and then step out and introduce yourself to the next man. You are the host so get in there and host.

Third | Purpose and prayer (5-10 min)

A good friend of mine taught me years ago the PPP model. Purpose, Process, and Payoff. This is a simple model for laying out the purpose of the time. I would define it as much as possible, and give a little room for the other guys to speak into this, but not too much. If you are too loose with your purpose, then guys will quit coming. And then pray.

Fourth | Group Introductions (30-40 min)

Now, this is the meat of the first meeting. Round table introductions and then let each man talk - and I would not do much teaching. Just let the guys each talk and get to know each other. I would suggest a simple format where each man shares 4-5 things and answers a question. For example:

  • Name
  • Family
  • Work

And then one question that they can talk about at just the right depth for a first meeting. A good leading question might be one of the following:

  • "How did you come to know Christ?"
  • "Tell us about your spiritual background?"
  • "What do you hope to get out of this time?"

I might also add you could throw in a fun fact question at the end, "What is one thing no one here knows about you?"

Fifth | Hand out materials or expectations for the meeting (2-5 min)

Finally, I would give whatever the men need for the next session. If this is a book or content, make sure and have it ready and put it in their hands right away so that there are no excuses for not jumping in at the very next time. I would also recommend a list of expectations for the group itself. If you want to check out mine, you can see them here. Group Expectations.

If you are looking for material for your men’s group or are looking for help with your small group leadership, reach out to us a or send us an email at [email protected]

Vince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to speak to men’s audiences and has a deep passion for mentorship and God’s Word. He has authored ten books and small group content for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Reach out to him today if you need a men’s speaker or content for your men’s small groups.