Dave “Living Large”’ VanVickle and I address a question sent in by one of our listeners, Dante, on the Catholic Church’s struggle to engage men and build men’s ministry. We discuss the importance of community for men, and share tactics on how to transform men’s ministry in your parish.
Snippet from the Show
“Every man wants a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to live”- John Eldredge
First, I want to thank you for the work you do through the Every Knee Shall Bow podcast. Listening every week and taking the practical takeaways to heart has helped tremendously in my faith life. Over the past year or so, I have made myself more available to God asking how I can serve him. I now help with a few of the ministries within the parish, and in the fall I will be starting a Masters of Arts in Theology program online.
As I’ve gotten more and more involved within my parish, it has become noticeable that we are failing to engage adult men, particularly men ages 30-60. Before the pandemic hit, we had discussed doing some things to build relationships, like having a weekly open gym where guys could play basketball together, or Theology on Tap. It will likely be a while before we can get together in groups for many social activities. I was wondering if you had advice on how to reach those men as we return to our churches, though slowly and cautiously.
Ways to Engage Men in the Church
- Host “half secular events” as a springboard into evangelization. These events should cover a range of men’s interests to draw men that might not initially attend a “religious” event.
- Study the ancient historical roots of the Catholic Church’s tendency to be female dominated. Read Biblical scholar NT Wright’s writings on the Church’s treatment of women in the Roman Empire.
- Find a priest who is comfortable with men and is able to walk with them.
- Work with smaller groups of men first and form them as missionary disciples.
- Men want to be challenged! Introduce men to Exodus90 as a way for them to grow in discipline and virtue.
- Host male-specific events, retreats, and men’s support groups. Provide resources for issues that men commonly struggle with.
- Emphasize the importance of mentorship. Mentorship is an avenue for men to experience their innate desire to “father” or “be fathered”.
- Make sure you are living your faith outside of men’s talks or small groups. The fruit of men’s ministry should be seen in the way you live your day-to-day faith.
5 Practical Takeaways
- If you are a guy, have coffee or a beer with another guy.
- Look into Exodus90 or a similar program and talk to your pastor about putting it on your parish calendar as a parish event.
- Create one of those “half-secular” events and think about how to bring in the Gospel afterwards.
- Intercede for men who do not have a father or father figure in their lives.
- Attend a local men’s event with some friends.
- Email us at email@example.com
- Text “EKSB” to 33-777 to subscribe and be added to Gomer and Dave’s email list!
- Visit Dave’s website at thesinnersguide.com
- Romans: The Gospel of Salvation Bible Study Program
- Ascension is pleased that our Catholic Community is starting to come Together Again — at our parishes, with Jesus in the Eucharist, or in small group settings where you can share and live in Christ. We invite you to explore our many resources and programs to help us all come together again
Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.