For men striving to follow Jesus, advice from churches and ministries can take different forms. But sometimes it takes out-of-the-box thinking to make the right impact, which is exactly what happened when some Christian leaders put their heads together and created a men’s ministry app.
Andy Blanks, a member at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, is co-founder and adviser for Youth Ministry 360, which provides youth workers with a growing number of innovative, creative and relevant Bible study resources and events.
“I co-founded YM360 in 2010,” Blanks recalled. “We started as a publishing company but added live events in 2015. So in addition to curriculum and discipleship resources, we do our GENERATE camp and a preaching conference called CLEAR.”
Blanks also is co-founder of Iron Hill Press and lead developer of the Strive app, which he calls a one-stop shop for men as they pursue Christ.
“I gave leadership to all of our content efforts, publishing and training until this year,” he said. “In January, I stepped away from the day-to-day leadership [of YM360] to grow our men’s ministry imprint called Iron Hill Press. Up to that point it had simply been a passion project, but I felt God calling me to give it full-time attention. I am still on the YM360 board and a special consultant, but I am growing our men’s ministry brand full time now.”
The Strive app includes daily devotions, weekly articles and a growing sermon library, Blanks said, adding that the idea behind it was pretty simple.
“We’ve been doing men’s ministry for about seven years, and we’ve noticed a couple of things,” he explained. “First, many men aren’t plugged into daily discipleship rhythms. They don’t have the good spiritual habits necessary for real growth. Strive is our attempt to address this.”
Having a strong desire to help men become who God intends them to be, Blanks said he wants to see men passionately pursue God and invest deeply in their families, churches and communities.
“We want men in God’s word each day and to be growing in their faith by reading articles about marriage, parenthood and spiritual development,” he noted. “We want them to have access to solid biblical voices in the form of sermons and Bible studies.
Accessibility and substance
“The second thing we noticed is that there are a lot of men who know they need to be growing in their faith, but they don’t know where to turn to do it.”
With so many men’s ministry resources available, Blanks said some are excellent but cautioned that some are not.
“Many are theologically unsound,” he explained. “We wanted to deliver theologically solid content in one place so that men know right where to go to find it. That’s our goal.”
Blanks said he and others at Iron Hill Press are excited about the impact the app is making, but continue to work on new ideas to help improve the spiritual lives of men.
“We’ve got a lot more ideas in the works,” Blanks said. “This is really just the beginning.”