|Men's Fraternity: a good curriculum for Men's Ministries|
by Marshall Duke
There is a wide variety of materials for Men's Ministries in the marketplace: Men's Fraternity is one of them.
I checked out this curriculum by visiting the company's website, by attending introductory workshops at men's conferences like Iron Sharpens Iron, by reviewing materials requested from Men's Fraternity, and by actually speaking with leaders in some of our Nazarene churches that are already using the materials. I am sharing my findings so that you can consider it as one option for use with men.
The author and founder of Men's Fraternity is Dr. Robert M. Lewis.
Lewis is passionate to see men develop a godly form of masculinity. From its modest beginnings in 1990, the curriculum is now in use by over 4000 groups in the US and countries such as Iraq, China, Poland, and Guatemala. It is being taught in churches, on college campuses, in corporate boardrooms, and in prison cellblocks.
Men's Fraternity has three components:
Men's groups typically meet weekly and follow the school year. Meeting format can vary according a group's need (i.e. one leader teaching each lesson; viewing a DVD session and breaking into small groups with a facilitator; morning session, weekday night, Sunday School hour). Designed as an outreach ministry, the first sessions are seeker friendly and help the unchurched or marginally-connected feel welcome and safe. The emphasis on Scripture and spiritual life gradually increases during the sessions.
After checking the Men's Fraternity web site, attending introductory workshops at Iron Sharpens Iron, and reviewing materials, I solicited observations from some Nazarene churches where Men's Fraternity is being used.
Following are some comments from these groups using the program:
Matt Samuels - Denver, Colorado First Church
Men's Fraternity has been a tremendous vehicle for bridging the man outside the church. It empowers guys to discuss the inner struggles and unaddressed topics of the male Christian experience and it establishes new relationships on a fundamental, deep level. Give it a try; you'll see men built up.
Gene Dougherty - Gainesville, Florida First Church
We have used the first year and are currently in the second year of the three-year curriculum. Our pastors have participated and have expressed support for the message. We have men in the group from their 20s to their 90s. This can be a life-changing study for men.
Jerry Lewin - Pasadena, California First Church
We have been doing Men's Fraternity for three years. Bob Lewis' teachings are consistent with the teachings of the Church of the Nazarene. The program encourages effective family relationships and building good marriages while pressing men to deepen their relationship with the Lord.
Mike McClane - College Church, Olathe, Kansas
We have been using Men's Fraternity for two years and plan to use it again this fall. Most men have few real friends and even fewer with whom they discuss important personal, spiritual, and family issues. Men's Fraternity explicitly addresses key issues of being a Christian man, with emphasis on being a husband and father as well as a mentor to other men. We discovered what we believe to be inconsistencies between isolated parts of Men's Fraternity studies and the Wesleyan doctrine. The prime example is one session in "The Great Adventure" that has "eternal security" as its central theme. If we do this lesson again, we will not use the DVD, but we will present a practical view of Wesleyan theology here.
May God bless and guide your efforts to lead others in their journey with Him!
To view the Men's Fraternity material click their web site here.