25 innovative men’s ministry ideas for connection & discipleship

February 22, 2024

Many men feel like they’re walking through life alone—facing struggles, addictions, relationship issues, and problems at work all by themselves. Over 6 million men struggle with depression each year, and only 20% of men say they feel like they get emotional support on a weekly basis.*

This difficult reality provides local church men’s groups with a unique opportunity to have a huge impact on the lives of men and their families. By coming up with men’s ministry ideas, your church can foster spiritual growth and community. 

However, actually running men’s small groups and coming up with fun, diverse, and engaging activities can be a challenge. Will men actually show up? What kind of activities will draw men to events and ensure they want to attend following events? 

It can be hard to know the answers to these questions, and, frankly, nothing is universal here. A men’s group at a church in Oregon will likely enjoy different activities than a men’s group at a church in Florida. 

Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of 25 innovative men’s ministry ideas that your church can use to get men more involved with the church, connected with each other, and started on the path of discipleship. These are broken down into the following main categories:

If you’re ready to see some new, fun, and exciting men’s small group ideas, let’s dive in!

25 men’s ministry ideas for building relationships & discipleship

Active pursuits

Men often enjoy activities that involve keeping busy, such as playing sports, using their hands to build things, or participating in outdoor activities. While some say women are more likely to connect face-to-face, men are more likely to connect “shoulder-to-shoulder.” These activities provide just those kinds of shoulder-to-shoulder moments.

Let’s take a closer look at some great ideas for men’s ministries that keep guys active while providing opportunities for them to bond and grow spiritually.

1. Sports spectacular 

Many men love sports of all kinds. Of course not all men like sports enough to be huge football fans that are glued to the TV every Sunday, but most men like to be active in some form or fashion. So hosting a sports-oriented men’s ministry event with a wide range of sport activities such as slow-pitch softball, pickleball, or golf, would be a great place to start. 

2. DIY workshops

Handymen like engaging in activities or hobbies that require some skillful use of their hands. Some men enjoy woodworking, building furniture or even creating artful pieces. Others enjoy home improvement, finding ways to make their living space more enjoyable. Perhaps a good men’s event idea would be inviting men to use their love for handiwork to serve the community.

3. Outdoor adventures

Is your church full of outdoorsmen? Do you live by a lake or within a community where hunting is a common hobby? Maybe your church is close to a national park that is perfect for hiking and camping. If your context allows for it, hosting a men’s event engaging in some forms of outdoor activity could be very well-received.

4. Discipleship disc golf tournament

This kind of activity would be a hit in some areas of the country to be sure. Disc golf is a fast-growing hobby, and there are tons of ways you could make it a spiritually-reflective event, too. Maybe you could assign Bible verses to each hole. Or even conclude the tournament with a short talk from a leader in the church. Lots of possibilities here! 

Game nights

Gaming of all kinds is rising in popularity, especially among younger men. Board games are as popular as they have ever been, and the average age of video gamers is increasing. Games are perfect men’s ministry activities over which men can connect. Here are some game night ideas that you can try at your church.

5. Game Night Extravaganza

As was said above, gaming of all kinds is as popular as it has ever been, so just hosting a “game night” for men and offering a wide variety of games from board to card to video could be a great way to get men to come out for an event.

6. Video game tournaments

As time moves on, the average age of video gamers is going up. That’s in part because men who are close to 50-years-old today were playing video games when they were kids, too! Hosting a video game tournament can be a great way to get men to check out a church who have maybe never done so before.

7. Poker & prayers

Men still love card games, even if they aren’t as popular and commonplace as they once were in American culture, and hosting a poker night or other card game event could be a great way for your church to reach men in the community who have never considered church. Take it a step further and donate all of the winnings and proceeds as a fundraiser to the church or a local charity!

Cinematic connections

Movies are back! After a rough few years due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more people are getting into movies again. Another men’s ministry opportunity would be to build some events around movies. Here are some ideas to that end.

8. Men’s movie night

One way to engage men’s film interests is to host a faith movie night at the church property, perhaps even outside on the lawn with a projector if you have one! Show a faith-based movie or two and then have a group discussion about the themes afterward! 

9. Film critique & fellowship

Another way to engage men’s movie interests would be to watch critically-acclaimed films or popular movies and have a discussion afterward that critiques all aspects of the film from the cinematography to the score to the acting to the themes. This would be especially popular for movie buffs.

10. Faith & flicks

What if your church had a men’s ministry group that was actually built around movies? That could be interesting for the men in your community. Perhaps you could get together monthly, sort of like a book club, to watch and critique movies like mentioned in the event above, but on a more regular basis with the same group of guys.

Hangouts & heart-to-hearts

As opposed to many of the event ideas already listed, the next few men’s fellowship ideas would not be shoulder-to-shoulder activities, but more face-to-face activities. This kind of event is usually not quite as popular with some men’s groups as other more “active” events, but they would be worth a try, to be sure! 

11. Coffee & convos

If you get the sense that the men in your church and community have an interest in coffee and would like to get together in local coffee shops (or even at the church), a basic coffee-and-conversations event could be a hit! It would be simple and cheap, and worth trying! 

12. BBQ & brotherhood

A popular kind of men’s ministry gathering is built around smokers, various kinds of meats, and just hanging out. Lots of men love to grill, smoke meats, and engage in other such recreational cooking. If you sense that this is popular in your community, create an event built around cooking and having intentional conversation!

13. Hiking huddles

Are there great hiking trails in your community? Do you live close to mountains or a state or national park? Consider starting a men’s ministry group around hiking and the activities that surround hiking. It could be a hit, and it definitely would allow for great conversation.

Service & projects

As reviewed above, many men are more likely to connect working on a project than they are just chatting over coffee. This provides a great opportunity for your church to create men’s ministry events built around serving the church and broader community. Here are some ideas toward that end.

14. Community cleanup crew

If you have some men in your church and community who are willing to get their hands dirty, consider creating a community cleanup crew that doubles as a men’s ministry event. This provides men the opportunity to work with their hands and connect with each other simultaneously. It could be a hit for your community!

15. Build & bond

Are the men in your church particularly handy? Do you have some engineers or contractors that come around? Consider an event that gives men the opportunity to build something together and connect with one another at the same time. One idea would be to have the men’s ministry partner with Habitat for Humanity or another organization in your community.

16. Mentorship programs

Every guy would benefit from having an older person in his life to whom he could turn for wise counsel, even outside of family members. One powerful men’s ministry idea is to promote one-on-one mentoring. This could be professional mentoring, personal mentoring, or even purely spiritual development. Young people crave wisdom, and older people are often honored to provide it.

Spiritual growth workshops

Would you like to host some men’s ministry events that are less active and more purely geared toward encouraging the hearts and engaging the spirits of the men in your church and community? These ideas are geared toward that goal.

17. Bible & breakfast

A common (and successful) men’s ministry idea is to host a weekly Bible study for men that somehow incorporates a breakfast component. One day during the week, before men have to go to work, consider hosting a simple breakfast Bible study at the church building for men who want to engage the Bible together.

18. Prayer walks

Do you have some men in your church who are passionate about prayer and want to encourage other men in the same way? Consider starting a prayer walk ministry in which men can gather together for a time to get a bit of exercise and also go before the Lord with the needs of the church and the community. 

19. Faith-focused workshops

Another way that some churches engage men in their church and community is by hosting workshops on various life topics to help men connect their faith to everyday life. Consider having different speakers from inside and outside of your ministry who can speak to different aspects of what it means to be a man in today’s world and how to do so faithfully.

Tech & faith

Men are generally pretty interested in technology. Many men love to play video games. Lots of men work in IT and other technology-related fields today. Here are some ideas for how to engage technology-interested men with faith-related events.

20. Faith-based gaming night

This is a similar idea to one mentioned earlier, but consider having a faith-based gaming night for your men’s ministry—perhaps you could even encourage men to invite their sons to this event and make it multi-generational. Lots of video games have deep, thoughtful themes, so you could have everyone play one of those and discuss it.

21. Virtual Bible study

If you find that getting men to show up for an in-person Bible study is difficult, try doing a virtual Bible study! Since the pandemic, plenty of people are used to gathering via Zoom or other video conferencing apps, and you could use one of those to do a virtual Bible study! 

22. Social media challenges

Tons of people use social media today—too many, maybe—and most people aren’t necessarily considering their faith when they use it. If you have a group of men who love social media, consider challenging them to incorporate their faith into that activity more intentionally.

Annual retreats

One of the most impactful events a men’s ministry can host is an annual retreat. This usually looks like a bunch of men going some number of miles away from the church for a period of intentional community, Bible study, and spiritual reflection. Here are some ideas on how to do that well.

23. Retreats with a purpose

Generally speaking, plan annual retreats that have a purpose. Don’t just organize a men’s fishing trip and hope that spiritual conversations take place. If you want to host an annual men’s ministry retreat that could change lives, plan a balance of fun activities and serious spiritual reflection, no matter what you do or where you go.

24. Adventure retreats

If the men in your men’s ministry are adventurous and looking for some physical challenges, consider a more adventurous kind of retreat! Do a deep sea fishing adventure that incorporates spiritual elements, or a team-building ropes course. Just be sure to keep spiritual elements present in the activities.

25. Reflective wilderness retreat

Finally, if your group is open to being out in the wilderness even if they aren’t the adventurous type, consider hosting a reflective wilderness retreat. Getting into the woods and spending time in spiritual reflection can change lives. It would be a wonderful use of resources for your men’s ministry to provide that experience.

Brothers living life together in unity

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity!—Psalm 133:1

Whenever and however you plan men’s ministry events, it’s important to remember that not all men are the same. Not all men like to build things, and not all men like to drink coffee and chat with a friend. It is vital that, as a men’s ministry leader, you keep a finger on the pulse of the men in your church and community so that you can tailor the work of your men’s ministry to their interests for maximum effectiveness. 

*Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, dial or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org for free and confidential support.

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