Ministry Trends & Patterns – Part I of II

A quick look around Christendom evinces some interesting trends and patterns related to Men’s and Women’s Ministries events, retreat themes and topics for group study.  A brief sampling from several sources (not exhaustive):

Men’s Ministry Events:

  • Fishing derbies
  • Cycling and mountain bike weekends
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Paintball
  • Golf tournaments
  • “Extreme weekends”
  • “Grunt & Growl” (crab and steak) dinner
  • Wild Game banquet
  • Prayer walks
  • Round-robin racquetball tourneys
  • Hiking and “field” expeditions
  • Chili Cook-Offs
  • Men’s retreats and breakfasts
  • Father/Daughter and Father/Son Banquets
  • Trout fishing excursions
  • Hunting expeditions
  • Hiking and backpacking weekends
  • Volleyball, baseball, basketball, and soccer tournaments

One church broke its Men’s Ministry leadership team down like this: Head Coach surrounded by various “offensive coordinators” and other “coaches” for areas such as Men’s retreat, small groups, special events and outreach.  (In contrast, the Women’s Ministry at this church has a “Contact Person.”)

Men’s Retreat themes included: Walk Worthy, Stand, Declaration, Iron Sharpening Iron, The Journey, Deeper Still, and Follow Me. Several men’s retreats didn’t list specific themes or titles.  Publicity simply referred to “Men’s Retreat” and included dates, time, place, speaker, cost, what to bring, and driving directions.

Featured titles for men’s seminars or small groups included Soul Warriors, Iron Men, Band of Brothers, and Biblical Fraternity.

Women’s Ministry Events:

Bible studies

Christmas brunch

Women’s tea

Bible studies

Mentoring programs

Spring tea

Bible studies

Garden tour and tea


Women’s Desserts

Bible studies

Fashion show and brunch

Knots & Needles (handicrafts)

Bible studies

Heart to Heart (mentoring program)

Fall Faire

Mommy & Me

Bible studies

Women’s Retreats Titles/Themes/Topics:

Precious in His Sight

Understanding the Men in Your Life

The Clothes that Make a Woman – Putting on God’s Wardrobe

Taming the Tongue

Prescription for Worry Removal

Lean, Healthy Moms…Strong, Healthy Kids

The Balancing Act

Voice of the Heart

Lights of Love

A Heart: God’s Dwelling Place


Dressed to Kill: Spiritual Armor

Heart Notes: Music & Loving Relationships

Forgiven and Free

Never the Same – Encounters with Jesus

Unspoken- Let’s Talk About It


This is an unscientific survey, but what does this little overview convey about how some churches view gender roles, interests, opportunities and ministry?  Aside from event or retreat titles – which are typically shorter and perhaps pithier for men’s events than many of those attached to women’s events – what differences are evident?  Why?

Tune in next time for Part II.

For more, see Not Your Mother’s Church Social and Women: Mission Critical.


One Response

  1. I have to admit, I’ve always been a little jealous of the themes for men’s retreats/bible studies/etc. They just sound so much deeper…less about how to be “a good (fill in the blank with your favorite role)” and more about simply drawing closer to God.

    As for the activities, I can’t see myself doing much of either the men’s activities or the women’s. Yet, there are things that appeal to me off of both lists…like prayer walks off of the men’s and needlecraft’s off the women’s. Yes, the men’s list seem more physically/sports-inspired and the women’s are more centered around concerns for the home and other typical “girly” stuff. But I don’t know if that is intentional (though I’m sure it is for some churches) or if it just reflects the interests of the men and women in the church. I’ve attended a very non-traditional church where they allowed women to serve as elders and hold other non-traditional roles, yet, I’m sure if I asked most of the women in that church “hey, would you like to go fishing/hiking/etc. at our next retreat” they would look at me like I have some sort of disease.

    However, I have to admit, most churches seem “stuck” in the same sorts of ministries and events that it offers men and women. And the options do need to be widened, especially if there are members of the congregation that enjoy activities that might not normally be offered (like a group of women who love biking or mountain climbing or whatever). However, it also wouldn’t make sense to start offering activities/events that don’t appeal to church members. Overall, churches need to be willing to offer events/ministries that will be meaningful to it’s congregation.

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