Live Life with Purpose
The Men's Ministry Vision is to help men move more consciously toward ongoing transformation and conversion. To see their faith lives as more than a set of beliefs, doctrine or dogma they profess to agree with and be loyal to, but also as participation in community, lived experience and conscious personal relationship with God.
About Men's Ministry
Ten years ago Businessman John Ream, author of the book Velvet and Steel, came to St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield, CT and gave an inspired talk on Effective Fathering and the importance of men’s responsibility for raising their sons into a grounded Christian manhood. After the talk some of the men asked John his thoughts on the best way for them to keep the dialog going. His response was “Just do it through your Men’s Ministry” The next question asked was, “What is a Men’s Ministry?” John was surprised there was nothing already in place but went on to explain about the men’s group in his home parish and how it had changed the men’s faith lives and positively impacted the parish community.
After a series of discussions between a committed priest and a half dozen men, the St. Mary Men’s Ministry was born. Today that ministry has grown to 150 plus men with an average of 75 men attending weekly Saturday morning meetings to pray, discuss faith, scripture and their personal experience of what it means to live a Catholic life. For many of our non-Catholic Christian brothers, this kind of ministry is quite common. For many Catholic men, however, faith sharing and personal fellowship are often a rare or non-existent part of their faith lives. We want to help change that.
The St. Mary Men’s Ministry quickly became a place for men to experience God’s presence through relationship. Beyond Mass and the sacraments, where does the “rubber hit road” in your faith life? Deeper questions evolved. How are you living the Gospel? Where do you experience God’s presence Monday through Saturday in your work, family, friends and community? Are you comfortable in your role as a disciple or are you stuck? Are you studying or hearing about discipleship but struggling with how to go about it? We are trying to help men close the gap between their Catholic belief system and their lived Catholic experience.
After the success of this initial ministry, a group of us decided to help men at other local parishes to form their own ministries using the simple model we had developed. After ten years and over thirty-five new ministries, the work continues. This web site is long over due, but we hope it will serve as a resource for men who might be searching for an effective model that is road tested, saves time and offers materials and coaching if needed.
Our vision is to help men move more consciously toward ongoing transformation and conversion. To see their faith lives as more than a set of beliefs, doctrine or dogma they profess to agree with and be loyal to, but also as participation in community, lived experience and conscious personal relationship with God.
For many men there often seems to be more focus on studying and defending the faith instead of living it, worshipping over following and knowing more about God instead of loving more as God loves. We need to bring these two elements into greater balance. A priest once told me “information is not transformation”. As Fr. Thomas Keating once said in a presentation: “In our Catholic tradition all sacraments, prayer, devotions, petitions, good works and acts of mercy are pointing us toward one thing, which is having the same intimate relationship with God that Jesus shared with his Father and is trying to communicate to us in the Gospels. His experience of God as Abba.” This God is not a distant God, but one close to us and wrapped up in the events of our everyday lives. When men gather around a table and share the challenges and joys of life with one another they begin to see Jesus’ story and God’s life unfold within their own. Ultimately, It’s all about relationship. As Professor Thomas Groome says, “ We want to put life into our faith and faith into our life”. We have seen this model for men’s ministry successfully building a bridge between our rich Catholic tradition and the experience of “God with us”. It is enriching men’s faith, family and work lives and is life giving to the parish community.
What We Do
A Men’s Ministry is a fellowship of men in a parish or congregation designed to enrich their relationships with God and apply their faith to their daily lives.
We have compiled a simple model and method with all the materials needed to launch a successful Men’s Ministry in your parish or congregation. The materials could be used as they are and/or we are available to explain the process from initial leadership development through launching your ministry to the parish.
Phase 1: Understanding the ministry model, assembling a core leadership team and building sponsorship with men and clergy.
Phase 2: Working with the small group model, understanding potential trip wires and facilitating productive faith discussions.
Phase 3: Growing your ministry
Why it Works
The short answer is that we believe the success is a movement of the Holy Spirit. In less spiritual terms, the model works because men are starving for meaning in their lives. We now live in a society whose values are increasingly secular rather than Christian. Many men have few close male friends with whom they can discuss their faith and other important male issues in a meaningful way. For many men, church and their faith have become spectator sports. They may attend weekly Mass, but they never get around to pursuing spiritual fulfillment beyond Mass. Men are called to be spiritual animators in their families, the Church and the world. That is, one who provides or imparts life, interest, spirit and vitality. This kind of animation is greatly needed, and many men want and need assistance in developing these skills.
Many men need help to:
Become what they’re capable of
Be inspired toward accountability in keeping these commitments
Commit to being true to these priorities
Realize their true priorities