I attend a lot of Christian men’s events. It’s amazing how often these gatherings are planned without the slightest regard for the needs, tastes and preferences of men.
In Why Men Hate Going to Church, I wrote, “Men’s ministry so often falters for this simple reason: it’s actually women’s ministry for men. When Christian men gather, they’re expected to build relationships the way women do. Men’s ministry is built around the needs and expectations of women—or more precisely, the churchy guys who show up for men’s ministry events.”
But March 8-10 I attended a men’s event that was built from the ground up with guys in mind. The event was the 2012 National Men’s Ministries Leadership Conference for the Assemblies of God. Over 300 men’s ministers from around the nation gathered in Dallas, Texas for three days of instruction and encouragement.
This was unlike any men’s conference I’d ever attended. Tom Greene and Darian Amsler designed every detail of this event to appeal to the average guy. “We are modeling what we want these local men’s ministers to do in their own churches,” Greene said.
- Start ’em off laughing. The event opened with a night of comedy, headlined by Michael Jr, a funny man who’s appeared on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel and Comedy Central.
- Music did not dominate. The “worship band” consisted of exactly two musicians. The longest worship set consisted of one song. Let me say that again: we never sang more than one song in a row.
- Prayer. Each day began with a massive prayer rally in the main hall.
- Time discipline. The speakers kept their talks on time – nobody went over.
- Location. Even the venue was manly: Embassy Suites Hotel on Bass Pro Drive. The hotel is decorated like a wilderness lodge, complete with a waterfall in the lobby. It’s located right next door to the world famous Bass Pro Shop, that 300,000 square foot mecca of all things manly.
But most impressive was the stage. Amsler and his design team built a man-cave up front. Here are some photos to give you an idea of what the stage looked like. I’m not sure where they got that motorcycle, but it was awesome!