Friday, April 29, 2011

Helping Men Spend Time with God

At our church we have "iron man groups." These are groups of 3-5 men who meet for encouragement, accountability, and support. Currently we have about 25 of these groups. I am in regular contact with the captains of these groups, and often they ask me about how to get their men to spend time with God. Here is what I tell them:

1. Be sure you are modeling this—leadership by example. The best way to motivate your men to spend time with God is to do so yourself and then to freely share with them what God shows you from His Word, how you are benefiting from it, how you pray, etc.

2. Almost every time you meet, talk about it. Ask them how their times with God are going! See if they want to be held accountable to this, and if so, do it with fierceness and love. Each time you meet simply ask, “So, how are your times with God going? Where are you in the Word? What is God teaching you from His Word? How many days this week did you spend some time alone with God?”

3. If they are not spending time with God, help them to identify what the barriers are: laziness, priority, conviction about its importance, not knowing how, etc.

4. Make a "pact" as a group to each have a Quiet Time for 21 consecutive days. Email them every day to remind them. Studies show that it takes 21 days to develop a true habit.

5. Don't be reading any other books for a "study" if the men are not spending time with God. In other words, if they are currently taking time to read another book, they can now substitute that time for time in the Word and prayer, which is more important! Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The best book is the one that makes you put it down for the Book of books.”

6. Teach your men how to have a Quite Time. Make it very "doable." Just ask them to read about 5-10 verses a day (going through a book like Ephesians, so that today I read Eph. 1:1-5 and tomorrow I read Eph. 1:6-10, etc.) and then spend about 5 minutes in prayer using the ACTS approach (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).

7. Agree as a group to each have your time with God in the same book of the Bible. For example, say "Hey, let's all be in the book of Ephesians this month. So, for next week, let's each bring something that stood out to us in the first chapter."

8. Last but not least: pray for them, that God will give them the desire and the power to do this (Phil. 2:12-13).