Part 5 in the #BattleLine series.
Dr. Jamie McClanahan is growing a forest of Redwoods in the church he pastors in Waynesboro, Virginia. His motto is “start small and grow deep.” It is a priority for Jamie to invest in men at Wayne Hills Baptist, and his goal for the men’s ministry is to grow deep in Christ and not magnanimous in number.
“Healthy Redwoods grow large over time. Every church needs a forest of Redwoods and every pastor has the seeds in the soil of his local assembly.”
Jamie and his Ironman leadership team began with a small number of men and prayerfully moved forward. They now have three small groups for men meeting weekly, two of which are investing in the 33 Series. Jamie has also begun a church-wide men’s discipleship group on Sunday nights, and he regularly meets with men for prayer and conversation.
“Our men want to meet and gather for fellowship and spiritual growth. There is a core group that see the need for growing in Christ together and for greater accountability as they do life alongside one another.”
Beginning a men’s ministry did present a couple challenges at first, but the investment has been fruitful. They began at a time when it was hard to squeeze men’s ministry into the budget, so they had to be creative in how they organized and promoted events and activities. They also discovered that there are some men who do not always enjoy direct communication with other men. That aspect requires some creativity as well, such as creating environments where men can indirectly connect with one another, while taking small intentional steps toward greater intimacy.
Jamie and his team have organized 3 major catalytic events that have really connected their men. He says, “These have also been a source of unity in our community as many men from other churches and pastors have attended and enjoyed great fellowship.” They have also attended four conferences presented by Noble Warriors, including Leading Noble Men and The Noble Man / Iron Sharpens Iron.
“We grew from a group of 10 men to 50-60 men in a short time. Today we have about 25-30 men growing together in regular groups each week. We have seen men step up in their homes and into many church leadership roles.”
This is what Jamie hopes will continue. He has a desire to see men grow in their love for Jesus, and witness that love translate into their other relationships and roles. He says, “I hope to see more multi-generational mentoring opportunities arise as we intentionally move men into smaller settings from the large catalytic events to small groups to even smaller discipleship groups of 1-1 or 1-2.” Personally, this journey has allowed Jamie to get to know many men in his church that he did not know before, and has provided him a support network each week. He says “I have nickels on my podium regularly.” (See NickelPrayerDefense.org)
Jamie was feeling this burden for men for some time, but did not have a game plan until he heard Mike Young talk about a strategy. After employing that strategy he watched his group grow immensely. Jamie says, “From the very beginning Noble Warriors has affirmed the biblical emphasis on reaching and training men in the local church to become spiritual champions for Christ.”
Jamie encourages pastors to pray for men to develop as godly leaders in the home and church. He points out that the scriptures say, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Prayer helps a pastor see and strengthen those laborers.