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Growing the Church, One Man at a Time

The Worship Centre in Fowler, California, sees reaching males as the key to building the congregation.

The Worship Centre in Fowler, California, started as a church plant with 22 people. A dozen years later, the largely Hispanic congregation numbers 1,200. 

Lead Pastor Rod Haro attributes the church's remarkable growth to a commitment to reach men. With 20 years of experience leading men's ministries, Haro says he has long believed that a strong outreach to men is the key to transforming entire communities. 

"Every time men's ministries grows, the church grows as well," Haro says. "Most men who get saved influence their families to come to church, hear the gospel, and, in many cases, become Christians. We know men's ministries is vitally important - not only to the growing of a church, but, more importantly, to the family." 

Situated in California's agriculturally fertile Central Valley, Fowler is a diverse community of farmers, entrepreneurs, and executives, many of whom have no church background. The Worship Centre, located in a former casino, hosts a men's dinner and church service every Monday evening. 

"We have worship, teaching, and an altar call," says Haro, who leads the weekly gathering. "It is essentially a Sunday morning worship service on Monday nights for men. Some men won't come on a Sunday morning because they get this mental image of what church is about. But they'll come to have dinner and hang out with a bunch of guys." 

About a third of the 200 weekly participants are from other churches. As a result, Haro says, the ministry positively impacts the faith community as a whole. 

"I know there have been at least 10 men's ministries over the years in various churches that have started because men came here, got on fire, and then went and started ministries in their churches," Haro says. 

Haro follows a three-pronged approach to men's ministries: connecting men to one another through meaningful friendships; leading them to a growing relationship with Christ; and challenging them to become godly role models in their church, families, and community. 

"We're seeing men going from indifferent and complacent to men who are involved, on fire for the Lord, and ready to be leaders," Haro says. "That's why I do men's ministry: because of the lives that are ultimately changed. It is transforming not only families but this community." 

Haro recalls stepping to the pulpit one Sunday morning and seeing two men standing together, serving as ushers. It was an inspiring moment as he realized these individuals had been rival gang members before they came to know Christ. 

"At one time they were enemies who would have killed anyone who looked at them wrong," Haro says. "Now here they were, loving Jesus, working in the church side-by-side, filled with the love of Jesus."


Christina Quick

Christina Quick is a former Pentecostal Evangel staff writer who attends James River Church (Assemblies of God) in Ozark, Missouri.