Hi there.

Hi there. My name is Frank. In-depth one-on-one ministry to men is what this website is encouraging you to do. Here are my recent posts.  Please see the Contents page to learn what is here. Also, see the About Me and  Mission pages.

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Facilitate his monologue on his emotions

The best way to edify a man is, most often,  to facilitate his monologue on his emotions.  Two years ago I wrote a post on the importance of having the other guy do all most all of the talking.  This post is more on how to encourage emotional expression.  

man leaning on tree during daytime. Who needs you to help facilitate his monologue on his emotions

A man who needs you to help facilitate his monologue on his emotions

The first thing getting him to start talking.  See  my post on that subject.  Facilitating his monologe absolutely requires deeply hearing what he is saying and making often non-verbal responses. 

Here are a few questions you can insert during short pauses in his monologe. Asking thoughtful questions in a wonderful way to take any discussion to a deeper level. Men usually have little trouble going deeper in to mechanical explainations, but are often almost mortally scared to go deeper about emotions. Asking questions that call for emotional feelings and expressions, signal him that you are free and open to these things.  It just may help him get the courage to share it with you. That will also help free him from his emotional lock-up. 

  1. How did you feel when [name] said that? or How did you feel when [name] did that? 
  2. How do you guess [name] felt when saying that? or How do you guess [name] felt when doing that? 
  3. How did you feel when you said that to  [name]? or How did you feel when you did that to/for [name]? 
  4. What emotion were you trying to convey when you said that? Had you thought about the emotional impact of what what you said to [name]? 

When you ask these kinds of question you help facilitate his monologue on his emotions. When we ask someone questions like this we need to think about the emotional impact that will have on him! This is very important. 

For more on emotional intelligence see this post by Eric Barker.  The book on which Eric bnased this blog post has an excellent chart of 100 different emotion words. It has four general categories.  I would post it here but that would be a copyright violation. You really might want to get the book to help both yourself and others expand emotional intelligence. 

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How Many Brothers?

How many Jesus and Paul did

How many brothers can you minister to in a month? Jesus did only 12. And He focused on 3 of those. Yes, Jesus addressed large crowds. He sends the 70/72  to spread the message. But He worked primarily with the 12. If that is all the infinite Son of God handled, then how any can I realistically do?

Right now I treat one-on-one ministry to men as a full-time job. And I have not been able to work more than 12 into my schedule.

Look in Acts and see how many men traveled with Paul at any one point in time. It is a small number.

What you are doing is traveling through life with each man. Agewise you may be ahead of them, so that makes you the guide, maybe the defacto “leader.” I never use that term for myself. Christ-like men need to see other as brothers and nothing more or less.

Why so few?

The frequent and often long meetings, limit how much you can do in a month. You also have other obligations like providing for your family. Not only ensuring they have food but also love and spiritual care.

Wisdom in life is “more caught than taught.” One can not shortcut this with lectures or assigned readings. We truly learn as life unfolds.  You can meekly suggest things. Unfortunately, you  learn much of life in the “school of hard knocks.” You are there to encourage and support you Brother when “knocked down.” Or when congratulate him when he does well.

It should be one-on-one. Your Brother will, in all likelihood,  never share where he most needs help in any group. It is too personal to him and way to private to risk exposure.

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“What do you find fulfilling?”

Asking “What do you find fulfilling? Can take your conversation to a whole new depth. Do not use this question too often with the same person. That can make it sound like you are working off a script. And that is something people do NOT like.

Before you ask this question be sure you spend a reasonable amount of time hearing and reacting to the suggested conversation starter question discussed here.  Be sure to read that post!

One great place to use this question is when there is a long pause in the conservation. Like when you out in a boat together fishing. Or maybe just the two of you around a campfire.

I would not use that question in a group since you are likely to get a canned response that does not deepen anything. Except maybe the boredom everyone is experiencing.

You will know you have hit “pay dirt” when the answer to “What do you find fulfilling?” suggests an unmet emotional need.

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How to pray for somebody.

What prayer is

Pray is a request to divinity or some higher authority for issues beyond your control. You do not pray for what you can do or control. How to pray is for things outside our abilities.

How to pray as seen in the New Testament

I recently when through all the New Testament passages on prayer. Especially those in the epistles. And I was reminded again of the old saying, “Prayer is not  getting our desires done in heaven, but getting heaven’s will accomplished on earth.”

I found no example or command to pray for John Doe’s gout (James 5 is not an exception). Nor prevention of or relief from disasters, natural or otherwise.

Things prayed about in New Testament scripture are spiritual. Especially the salvation of unbelievers and the continuation or expansion of ministry for believers.  There are some prayers for relief from spiritual discouragement primarily when persecuted. In summary, pray for things that will bring others to Jesus or help others grow in Christ-likeness.

How to pray for somebody

So instead of praying forJohn Doe’s gout what do we pray for or with him? We pray for his coming to faith in Jesus. When he comes to that point, we then pray for effectiveness and expansion of his service (ministry) to others.

We do not need to pray for God to bless someone. He is very good at doing that without our reminding Him. It is something God longs to do. We do not pray for God to bless us, again He wants to do that. We do not pray for God to bless other people for the same reason. Benedictions can be a problem if we see ourselves as the provider of the blessing.  An exception to this was in the Old Testament when the priest serves as an intermediary for conveying God’s grace on people. As believers today we are indwelt by God and so have no need priest to bless us. We are all believer priests with direct access to God. Wishing another well as Paul does in his letters is excellent. Just remember that God is the source of this and not us.

Now, look at this discussion of I Thess. 4:14.

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Active Listening

There is so much to say about active listening, on how the other guy knows we are truly listening. I will need several entries on this topic.

Active listening starts with your total attention focused on the other person.

If at all possible sit directly in front of him. Be close enough that you do not miss his non-verbal expressions. The good news is that he will also be able to read yours. What he sees in your body language allows you to communicate a lot with having to take up “air time.” Speaking focuses attention on you and away from him which is terrible. You are here for him!

Also, sit where you cannot be distracted by a TV or other activity in the area. He can feel it each time glance away. He makes him think you have lost interest in what he is saying. Or are disapproving of what he just communicated. Do not look at your watch or have it propped up in front of you. It means that your focus on him is not complete.

Keep other thoughts out of your mind. Especially on how you will respond to what he just said. That little pause when you switch speakers is long enough to do that. Also, the next words out of his mouth often change what you were planning to say. Maybe even reversing it.

Active listening involves your ears and brain.

Process everything he says. Do not it go in one ear and out the other. Keep asking yourself questions about what he just said. For example: Why did it he express it that way? What is the real meaning of that figure of speech?

In time he will become more direct with his statements. When he is hinting around, you know there is something more profound involved.

Active listening sometimes involves “non-words” on your part.

You can show that you are following what he is saying with little noises like “um,” “ah”,  “oh,” “wow,” etc. Now be sure it fits what he just said. Do not say “ah” or “wow” when he in tears says his companion dog just got killed by a speeding truck. At that point, you want to hug him and cry with him.

Make sure you are not interrupting his train of thought.

Active listening involves your facial expressions.

For most of these come naturally. Do not force or suppress such expressions.  Smiles and frowns communicate a lot. They must match what he just said. Remember you are here to show brotherly love and acceptance. Do not let your face convey hate or rejection. If there is some problem, you want to seek loving restoration.

Your face can signal that you have a question. Be careful with this one.

Active listening involves other non-verbal communication.

What you do with your hands can say a lot. For example, both hands behind your neck can indicate rejection.  Bringing your hands towards your body is a signal for him to say more on this topic. Pointing your feet away from him and towards the door would mean you are ready to leave this meeting. These are just a few; there are many others.

Active listening may involve asking some gentle questions.

These rare gentle questions are excellent. For example, if your friend just mentioned his grandmother, you might ask on which side of the family. This question shows that you want to get the story straight.

These short little concrete questions requiring a one or two-word answer are excellent. Avoid anything complicated that may get your friend off his current train of thought.

 

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How long does a meeting last?

My Usual meeting length.

One hour is, to me, a short meeting length. Two to four hours are usually more productive than one-hour meetings. Dealing with heart level items takes a lot of time. My sessions occasionally go 6+ hours. Assuming you asked a very open-ended conversation starter then followed that up with the suggestions in this other entry. It will take more than an hour.

Also be sure that you are actively listening to him alone. No other thoughts than his words are in your mind while you are together.

Again he needs to articulate how he feels at items in his life today. Have to put thoughts and feelings into words make them evident in the speaker’s mind and heart.

The times suggested for a psychological counseling session are not applicable nor enough. You are not a psychologist nor is this “counseling.” You are building a personal relationship with a spiritual brother.  It is a bond often more profound than physical brotherhood. Note Jesus’ reaction to his physical half-brothers in Matthew 12:46-50. Also Matthew 19:28-30. Jesus puts spiritual brothers ahead of the closest physical relationships.

If possible have an open-ended meeting length

Try to leave your meeting length unspecified. You can schedule some for an hour or more after you usual meeting time. When it is time for that meeting, just tell your brother you have another meeting. Guys never seem to mind. And you have not cut his time short. If he has another meeting or has to get back to work then never complain. Immediately schedule the next meeting. Thank him for his time. And get out of there. If you have to use your phone or a GPS to set, do not do that where he can see you. You don’t want him to wonder if he has detained you. He needs to know that he has all your time he needs.

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Conversation starter for one-on-one men’s meetings.

The heart of each meeting is a time of one-on-one, soul to soul discussion. So what is a good conversation starter to get a man to talk about this? There may be some discussion about what to order for lunch. Or maybe the project you are going to do together today. Or even the weather today.

But when it gets to the heart of the meeting, you want a straightforward question. Never something like the opening line of a  speech or sermon. Err to asking that question too soon. So you do not bog down in nonessentials. 

The center of each meeting is lovingly getting to the heart of the other person.

 Possible Conversation Starters

  • “Well, what’s been going on with Joe?” this is a good opener in almost any situation. You can use it to open every meeting. No one gets tired of it.
  • “Whats been going on with Joe since we last met?” Good for someone you talked in depth with a little while ago.
  • “Tell me about Joe.” Good line if you have never met one-on-one before.

What a conversation starter should do.

  • Get the focus on the other person
  • Get him to talk about what is in his heart. His current concerns or joys.  Remember He Needs to Talk.
  • Use his preferred name.
  • Be VERY open-ended.

What conversation starter should NOT do.

  • Suggest a topic. If Joe told you in advance what he wanted, it might have changed.
  • Pull the focus toward yourself.
  • Indicate your opinion on ANYTHING. Especially politics, sports teams, and theology.

 

What if he asks you first?

Answer him with the same depth and sincerity that expect from him. Admitting that you too have issues is healthy. It often strengthens the relationship.  Now immediately flip the question back on him! And next time you take the lead.

Here is a blog post that suggests 125 conversation starters. However, I found NONE of them that opens up the way for an in-depth ministry.  And meaningful personal ministry to others is the heart of being a follower of Jesus. John 13:34-35.

This medical article has a suggestion in Table 1. I will talk more about that and its meeting outline in another post.

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Pre-Meeting Reminder

Shortly before you meet someone, send him a Pre-Meeting Reminder Message

Each meeting gives you three contacts with your Brother.

  1. First, a message confirming the meeting in the next eight to 18 hours.
  2. The actual meeting. And scheduling the next meeting.
  3. The post-meeting thankyou message eight to 24 hours later.

Why this time frame?

You want to give him time to get your message. He also may have a conflict so will need to reschedule. If you do it any earlier, he may get distracted and forget your meeting.

These timings assume you are using cell phone text messaging or a voice call/message. You may need to allow more time if you have to use email. You need to know how your Brother usually responds.

Pre-meeting reminder Elements

It is a personal note tailored to the upcoming visit. Never used an automated canned message or have some assistant write the words. You are building a personal relationship.
  1. Greet him using his preferred name. If you accidentally send it to the wrong person his guy will probably let you know so you can correct it.
  2. Tell him you are looking forward to seeing him.
  3. Remind him of the time a location.
  4. Again allude to your positive anticipation.

And here are a few do not’s

  • Please do not remind him of anything he promised to do between meetings. Your message is enough of a prompt.
  • Don’t mention anything you plan to give him or do for him. You may learn at the meeting your plan is not best for him now.
  • Also, don’t repeat any gossip you have heard related to him. You are building a positive connection with him. Sharing gossip weakens relationships. Remember you are helping him develop positive relationships with others. Even positive reports are a problem. He may wonder if you also talk to other about him.
  • Do not ask him to confirm. Just sending him a message does that. If he can not make then, he will let you know. A no-show that tells you a lot about him.  Asking him to respond seems like you do not trust him.

Pre-meeting Reminder Message examples

  • Hey Joe. I am sure looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, same time usual place.  Frank.
  • Tom, Sure looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. I have us meeting at the Polar Bear Cafe at 1234 North Antarctic Blvd. for lunch at 11:30.   Meet you there. 🙂 Frank.

Here is an outside source that warns about using the word “just” in reminder messages.

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Post-Meeting Thankyou Message

Did you schedule your next meeting as your left each other? Now, within eight to 24 hours, say thank you for his time.  Cell phone text messages work best for a post-meeting thankyou. If that is not possible, try email or kill a tree and use the postal service.

Why this time frame?

If you wait a while, then your message becomes another contact. It reminds your brother of what you discussed. It may help him follow through on actionable items. Waiting a while helps him know you care about the relationship, that you think about and pray for him when you are not together.

Each meeting gives you three contact with your Brother.

  1. First, a message confirming the meeting eight to 18 hours in advance.
  2. The actual meeting.
  3. Now, the post-meeting thankyou message eight to 24 hours later.

But shouldn’t he say thank you?

Well, he may. But do not expect him to say it. You, the older guy, should say it first. Your thanking him is a model for him. You are helping him learn how he should bless others.

After all, you may have asked him to help you with a task or project. Hence you need to thank him!

Just remember, you are to treat him as a peer.

What if he says Thank You first?

My experience is that it does not happen often. If the younger man does, then mention it in your thank your message.

Thank you Elements

It has to be a personal note tailored to this visit. Never used a canned message or have some assistant write the words. You are building a personal relationship.
  1. Greet him using his preferred name
  2. Express gratitude for his time.
  3. Thank him for some personal detail he shared with you. The thanks will help him to relax and deal with this issue. It will also encourage him to be open to deepening the relationship.
  4. When he helps with a project of yours, express your gratitude.
  5. If he gave you something, then tell him how you will use it.
  6. If he bought your meal or snack, then be sure to thank him for it again.
  7. Mention the date, time and place of your next meeting together. This review will help make sure it is on both calendars!

Don’t mention

  • Anything you gave him or did for him!
  • Any negative information he shared. It is often gossip. You are helping him build positive relationships.

 Post-meeting Thankyou Message examples

  • Hey Joe. Thanks for our meeting today. I enjoyed hearing about your promotion at work. Congratulations. I am praying that your ministry to your son will be accepted. See you next week, same time and place.
  • Tom, it was so good to meet with you yesterday. I am praising the Lord that you have an increasing ministry in the Village. Thanks for my lunch salad. I am looking for to seeing you again on the 19th of next month. I will meet you at the same time at your gate just like yesterday.

Here is an outside resource that may help you with the elements of a simple thank you message.

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Schedule the Next Meeting Immediately

Near the end of each session is the best time to schedule the next meeting.

How to schedule the next meeting

Pull out your calendar and say “When do you want to get together again?” He will probably get his out too. Let him make a suggestion first. (Do not steal control at this point!) If at all possible take it. If you cannot, they say why but do not reveal personal details. Say “Sorry I have a conflict. When else might work?

When I am going to be out of town several months, I still set up a meeting. Maybe just a pre-meeting contact about ten days before. (That is a subject for a later post.)

Integrity when you schedule the next meeting

Always honor previous meeting commitments. If you do not, you have made your self a liar to the first person.  Do not promise to move some other appointment to make one with this guy. That is making distinctions, and that is not a Christian thing to do! (Gal  3:28; James 2:1-9) Let God control those things. You are serving Him to let God control your calendar. When I have tried to rearrange things, it as usually been a great mistake.

Your tool to schedule the next meeting.

By the way, smart-phone calendars work best. They are always up-to-date. Be sure to hit “save” after you enter something.  Second, best is a pocket calendar unless of course, you have your computer with you. If you are not using the phone, then be sure very sure you update your “real” calendar. And if you are meeting several guys today, make sure you do not create a conflict.

Occasionally someone for logistical reason needs a delay. If so, then make a date you will contact that person. But be very careful. That is an easy way to lose contact with someone. That just happened to me today😔.

I have only had one negative response in the past 5 or so years. That was a person who had an entrenched odd theological position. He was trying to drum up support for it.

In the after session text contact mention the agreed time and location. (There will be another post of after meeting “thank you” messages.)  Rehearsing the date will help ensure it is on the other guy’s calendar too.

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