Archived Sections, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Congregations find creative ways for men to deepen involvement in congregational life

One of the more challenging aspects of congregational ministry appears to be
effective ministry to men. Women’s ministries tend to be more organized.
There are circles, quilting groups, and mother-daughter banquets. Many
times men’s opportunities are less visible or non-existent. However, several
Lutheran congregations in Minnesota have men’s ministries that are alive and
well.
Some examples of effective men’s ministry in Twin Cities area congregations
are:
* St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church (ELCA), Mahtomedi
A monthly men’s breakfast with a guest speaker and music by members of
the congregation attracts 100 to 150. Under the theme “Champions of Faith,”
an all-day conference has attracted up to 500 to hear big-name speakers
such as James Baker. Activities include a “Take a Kid Fishing” event for inner-
city kids and a 6:30 a.m. Tuesday Bible study that attracts as many as 80
(which recently had to be moved to a larger space). Other activities include a
summer barbecue prepared by the men, a catered banquet held alternate
years, small group Bible studies (for six to eight men), and a men’s prayer
group. The latter group has prayed for each man in the congregation by
name. A men’s leadership team is being formed to assume some of the
planning responsibilities, according to Ronda Sowada, administrative
assistant to Pastor John Straiton, who has worked with the men’s ministry
effort for more than a decade. Questions may be directed to Ronda at
651/762-9105.
* St. Michael’s Lutheran Church (LCMS), Bloomington
The men’s ministry is about two years old and features a men’s Bible study
Wednesday mornings (6:30-8). Focus is on spiritual leadership in the home.
Other aspects of the ministry include a Sunday morning class titled “Men
Created by God,” says Jim Anderson, adult minister at the church. A class
titled “Love and Respect” included wives, many of whom brought along
husbands not normally involved in the men’s ministry. Another aspect has
been what Anderson calls “men’s restaurant groups” that meet where clusters
of members work. These sessions have developed friendships among those
attending; Anderson observed that men usually don’t seek out relationships
like women do. The contact is Jim Anderson at 952/831-5276.
* First Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), White Bear Lake
Andy Collins doesn’t know whether the men’s ministry at his church is a
revitalization of a former ministry, a new one started in January of this year,
or a combination. Currently the aim is to build awareness of the ministry and
promote fellowship. So far the ministry programming has included a guest
speaker on fishing in Alaska and John Williams, a lineman who has played in
three Super Bowls. The second Monday evening of each month there’s a
cribbage tournament. Upcoming is a multi-year, national program called
Men’s Fraternity; the first year’s theme is “Quest for Authentic Manhood.”
Andy Collins can be reached at 651/734-5212.
* Shepherd of the Valley (SOTV, ELCA), Apple Valley
Men’s Ministries at SOTV includes monthly breakfasts the first Saturday of
each month (September to May) from 8 to 10 a.m. In June the group held a
North Shore Summer Retreat. In addition three men’s Bible study
opportunities are offered each week. Studies may be on a specific book of the
Bible or on a given scriptural theme. These groups meet Tuesdays, 6 to 7
a.m., Wednesdays, 6 to 7:30 p.m., and Fridays, 6:30 to 8 a.m. Pastor Chris
Steubing, associate pastor, works with the men’s group and calls it “a place
for men to connect, deepen their lives of faith, and support each other.” He
can be reached at 952/985-7306.
* Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (ELCA), St. Paul
While Men of Gloria Dei doesn’t have a regular meeting schedule, it is active
in service to the church, support of the youth group, and coordination of the
Rally Day picnic for the congregation. In addition members volunteer for
Habitat for Humanity. A 29th annual fall retreat at Park Rapids, Minnesota,
will have the theme “The Centered Life.” Bible studies throughout the year
will be on that theme. The group also has an annual golf classic event. The
president, Chris Knips, can be reached at 651/690-2817.
* Calvary Lutheran Church (ELCA), Golden Valley
Calvary’s Men’s Fellowship meets the second Saturday of the month for a
7:45 a.m. breakfast followed by a program. The group has scheduled a joint
meeting with the Prayer Warriors for September 3, when the speaker will be
former Vikings player Jeff Siemon. A golf outing was held in August, and the
schedule included a Christmas program. The contact person is David Wagner
who can be reached at 952/512-0362.
* Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA), Burnsville
At Prince of Peace, men’s ministry is service oriented, according to Eric Elton,
director of outreach. Activities included are softball games, a Camp
Wapogasset retreat, a golf outing, a mission trip to the Dominican Republic,
and a Tuesday morning (6:30 a.m.) Bible study during the school year. “We
have a monthly leadership meeting, but our activities are concentrated on
things men like to do.” An unusual event was the deconstruction of the
interior of one of the buildings on the church campus; professional crews
took over the actual construction. Elton is the contact at 952/435-8102.
* Central Lutheran Church (ELCA), Minneapolis
A Men’s Fellowship Breakfast is held the first Saturday morning of the month
at 8 a.m. A core group of men of the congregation started the group several
years ago. Programs feature speakers from within the congregation as well as
outside plus some spirited hymn singing. Speakers have included Steve
Sviggum, when he was Majority Leader of the Minnesota House of
Representatives; Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney; and Bill Frame,
former president of Augsburg College. The contact is Bob Tufford at
612/347-7815.
Beyond the local congregations, the ELCA’s men’s ministry is called Lutheran
Men in Mission. A men’s gathering in Omaha early in August attracted about
600 men from around the country. Among presenters at the gathering were
the Rev. Paul G. Hill and the Rev. Dick Hardel, executive director and senior
fellow with the Youth and Family Institute, Bloomington. The list of topics
addressed at the gathering included ministry with young men and ways men
can relate intergenerationally.