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 www.beresolute.org 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.