Nathaniel Binversie
Head of Formation

How to Invite Men to Your Fraternity

Hey fellas, 

I’m moving a bunch of old bricks and pavers out of my back field this weekend. There’s a lot of them, but it should only take a group of us three or so hours to make it happen. I’ve got a couple wheelbarrows and extra pairs of gloves ready to go for whoever comes over. 

Anybody able to help me this weekend?

Thanks fellas. 

Your friend, 

Ted

If you got an email like this, what are the chances you’d go and help Ted out? That probably depends on how good of a friend Ted really is, or how charitable you’re feeling that week. In a less than ideal situation, not only would most men not go, but many wouldn’t even respond. In contrast to this email, take a look at this second version. 

Hey [insert their name here], 

I’m moving a bunch of old bricks and pavers out of my back field this weekend. There’s a lot of them, but it should only take a group of us three or so hours to make it happen. I’ve got a couple wheelbarrows and extra pairs of gloves ready to go for whoever comes over. 

Are you able to help me this weekend?

Thanks [insert their name here]. 

Your friend, 

Ted

Only three things have been changed in this second email, yet those three things turned this email from a general audience address into an email written to a particular person: you. After reading this, did the odds of you going over to Ted’s house to help increase? What about the odds of you at least responding to the email? For most of us, the answer is yes to both of these things. Why? Because the email was personal. 

In a culture that makes it easy to address the masses with a single message through countless mediums, it’s crucial that we never forget the power of the personal invitation. It is a statistical reality that the larger the audience being addressed, the easier it is for us to remove ourselves from the obligation to respond.

A billboard message to all men? I have no obligation to respond. A poster in church about a men’s event? I still have no obligation to respond. A message from the church men’s group to all of its members? I have little to no obligation to respond. A message from the leader of the church’s men’s group to the 5 people on the leadership team?

I’ll just wait to see if someone else responds first. A message from my dad to my brother and I, seeing if one of us wants to go to dinner? I’ve got a family and my brother isn’t married so I’ll just wait it out and let him reply first. A personal text message from my neighbor that I don’t know very well asking if I can take out his trash this week while he’s gone on a trip? I don’t even know this guy that well, but it would be pretty rude of me not to respond. I’ll text him back and let him know I can do it. 

What dead horse is being beaten here? If we want to be effective Christians, we must avoid mass communications and take on the burden of personal invitation. Over and over we see Christ doing this very thing: looking someone in the eye and saying to them specifically, “Follow me.” If we want to be Christ-like, we must do what Christ did. We must invite men personally.

Cast the Vision 

When it comes to inviting another person to join you in something that you know will be difficult for them, it is best practice to cast a clear vision before you make the invitation. For example, before you invite a man to take up Exodus 90, make it clear to them why in the world they would ever participate. Take a look at how different invitation 1 sounds from invitation 2 and 3. 

Invite 1. 

Hey Eric, do you want to do Exodus 90 with me? You’ll have to give up beer and take cold showers for 90 days. What do you think?

Invite 2. (Eric as a good friend)

Hey Eric, I know you’ve been struggling with life recently. I heard about this thing that promises greater freedom from the things of this world in just 90 days. It’s hard, but the results are worth it. I’m jumping in on this, want to join me?

Invite 3. (Eric as an acquaintance)

Hey Eric, It’s so tough to be a great husband and father these days. I found this thing that promises that I’ll be a better husband and a better father in just 90 days if I dig in and stick to it. I’ve decided that no matter how hard it is, my wife and children are totally worth it. I thought you might be of the same mindset. it’s called Exodus 90; would you be up for taking it on with me over the next three months? I know it will be hard, and I know I’ll need good brothers alongside me, which is why I’m asking you in particular. What do you think? 

Of course there’s more to describe about Exodus 90 with each of these invitations. However, the second two do a much better job of casting vision, or framing Exodus 90 than the first. 

Follow Up & Follow Through 

Making effective invitations isn’t easy, nor is being a Christian. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Are you willing to lay down your life for your friends? Are you willing to live as Christ? 

After you’ve made your personal invitations to men with proper vision casting, the next step is to follow up and follow through. Christ desires us to be fishers of men. “Peter, how did work go today?” “I got a lot of bites, but didn’t land any in the boat.”  A fisherman doesn’t stay a fisherman for long if he doesn’t consistently land fish. If we get up to the pearly gates at the end of our life and tell St. Peter that we made a lot of invitations, but didn’t actually draw anyone closer to Christ, he’ll know that concept too well to be impressed by our invitations that were devoid of adequate follow up and follow through. 

To be clear, it is not our responsibility to convert men. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. Nor can we earn our way into heaven by how many converts we make; only God’s grace and mercy can win us the privilege of entry. However, Christ did model for us the life we ought to live. If we desire to be in relationship with Christ for eternity, we had better start practicing how to live in unity with Him today. That is, we had better live as Christ lived, and co-operate with His abundant grace. 

After you’ve made your invitations to many men, you must follow up and follow through. That means sending personal messages to each man following up on how he’s doing at taking his next step, whatever that may be (Exodus Tailgate event, 7 day challenge, Exodus 90, etc). Following up is not done with just one text. Be zealous for the soul of each man you are reaching out to.

Continue to respectfully follow up with him, however seems best, until he makes a clear decision: either he signs up, or he changes his mind and tells you he’s definitely out. Don’t lock yourself into one medium of communication. If emails aren’t working, text him. If texting doesn’t work, call the man. If nothing is working, do what Jesus did for the apostles: go to him in person and follow up face to face. 

Warning: Following up and following through can be exhausting, especially if you have made personal invitations to many men. Don’t let the lies of Satan or the burden of the task deter you from living in accord with Christ’s will. Receive God’s grace, persevere, follow up, and follow through. 

Sometimes when men aren’t responding, they are sending you a message of their own. Other times when men aren’t responding, they need you to meet them in person to call them onwards. From first invitation to final follow through, assure that you are being respectful to the man you are inviting. This is going to take masterful balance.

The best way to know when you need to stop or when to push on is simply to hit your knees and ask our Lord what He wants you to do. Remember two things in this process: first, the success of this man does not depend on you, it depends on God, so trust in him and only go as far as he desires you to go; second, this man and his relationship with Christ will have a massive impact on his family and his community, and it is worth fighting for. 

As you work to make invitations to men, cast vision for them, follow up with them, and follow through with them living out their decision, be attentive to the Lord’s will and fight with every ounce of effort He desires you to fight with. After a year of working their way through Exodus spiritual exercises, you can nearly count on these men expressing some type of gratitude for your perseverance (if their wives don’t thank you first).

No, we don’t do this for gratitude; but keeping in mind how grateful these men will be tomorrow—after they encounter Christ—certainly can help fuel perseverance in the face of their disinterest and disengagement today. 

Want more support? Join Exodus men from around the world at the 2nd Annual virtual Fraternity Leaders Summit training on December 3rd. Learn more here.