Tips & Resources

What is warm-up & hosting time?
It’s a welcoming experience at the beginning of a men’s meeting that allows the men to transition from their busy work or day-to-day schedules into focusing on the K21 lesson. Hosting time should bring humor to the group and make each man feel comfortable.

Hosting time should work toward accomplishing the following goals:

  1. Strengthen bonds
    The host of a men’s group should strive to strengthen the men’s bond with each other, often by giving them experiences that involve emotions they have in common. For example, the host could help the men laugh together, or he could play background music or videos which relax them as they are coming in. This encourages them to drop their defenses, which increases their ability to hear the content that is being taught. Men need time to transition from the busyness of life in order to be fully receptive to the lesson you are presenting.
  2. Begin promptly
    It can be helpful to begin each meeting with the same high-energy song each week, signaling that it’s time to start. After the lesson is presented, end with a brief wrap-up that emphasizes an action step or an inspirational thought to motivate the men.
  3. Increase emotional awareness
    Through creating a shared experience and creating space for a transition into a spiritual, manhood attitude, hosting time helps men become more receptive to hearing the upcoming lesson.
  4. Eliminate distractions
    By giving the men something entertaining and lighthearted to focus on, hosting time can encourage men to be fully engaged during the following lesson.

Want more hosting resources? Click the button below to visit our full hosting page!

1. Each campfire group should consist of 6 to 8 men.

2. If your group draws from a large geographical area, consider putting men together who live in a similar location.

3. There are advantages and disadvantages to having both similarity and diversity among the participants of any group process. Decide whether or not you want to group men by age or stage of life (e.g., married, unmarried, age of children) so that the men can better relate to each other.

4. Appoint a group facilitator. Good group facilitators are essential to sustaining strong campfire groups. A good group facilitator:

  • Follows the Facilitator Guide provided with the Squire material.
  • Encourages the men in his group.
  • Creates a group experience that causes each man to want to come back each week and encourages new members to join.
  • Is a team player.
  • Is energetic, fun to be with and focused on the success of others.
  • Creates a safe environment where everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
  • Believes in Jesus Christ and is led by the Spirit of God to love and lead the men in his group well.
  • Meets periodically with other group facilitators to discuss ideas and talk about the campfire process.
  • Makes sure his group consists of both spiritually strong and spiritually weak men who can learn from each other.
  • If assigned to lead younger participants, must be able to understand their perspective and guide their youthful energy.
  • Makes an effort to get to know every member of his group. He does everything he can to help the men in his group bond with each other and develop lasting friendships.

Want more Campfire tips? Click the button below to visit our full Campfire Tips page!

1. Start on time—end on time!
If you want men to show up—don’t waste their time. In today’s world, men are busy at work and at home. Regularly attending a men’s group is a major sacrifice for most men. They often have to choose between attending a men’s group and all the other things that are going on in their lives. When you host your men’s group—start on time—even if it means starting with only five guys in the room. Communicate a clear ending time, and let the group know that if they have other commitments, it’s okay to leave. You will show them that you value them by honoring and respecting their time. Don’t start an open-ended closing prayer with three minutes left in the meeting without telling the men that they may leave if they have to. As you honor and respect their time, you will frequently see men show up early and stay later because they feel valued.

2. Men grow side-by-side in small numbers, and rarely face-to-face.
More will be shared between two men while changing the oil in a car versus sitting around a table in a small group discussion. Provide opportunities where men can “do stuff” together in small numbers, and watch their relationships grow.

3. It’s not a church service.
Don’t treat your men’s small group like another church service. Use this time to unwind and step back from the responsibilites of life. Often, we tend to over-formalize our groups and stick to the tight regiment of a typical church service. Give men time to bond and connect in various ways. Save the worship sing-alongs and personal testimonies for Sunday services or special events.

4. Remember the three phases of a group process.
Each guy that comes to your men’s group will experience the three distinct phases of a group process. Some will go through these phases quicker than others, but every guy must go through them all. These phases are:

  • The Inclusion Phase:
    In this phase, men decide how much they want to invest in the group. They assess the other men to see how comfortable they are around them and typically refrain from talking about anything extremely personal about themselves. Conflicts are scarce and disputes are avoided because everyone wants to make a good impression. Men can transition to the second phase of the process once they feel that they are valued by the other members of the group.
  • The Influence Phase:
    In this phase, men are able to gradually let their guard down. They begin to voice their differing thoughts and opinions, which often sparks conflict. In order for men to develop closer relationships with each other, it’s vital that they learn to successfully work through and resolve their conflicts. They will not be able to establish deeper levels of trust until they know that they can say what’s on their mind and still be respected and valued by the group.
  • The Intimacy Phase:
    In this phase, men begin to leave their comfort zones by disclosing more personal information about themselves and their struggles. Each man will decide how intimate he wants to be with the other members of the group, some choosing to share at deeper levels than others. Regardless of how open they are, the men all begin to feel that the group is a safe place for them to be vulnerable with each other without fearing ridicule or rejection.

5. Think like a man.
Most men’s groups consist of reading a book and eating some snacks. Throw a wrench in the usual plan! Men want to take risks, have fun and get dirty. Have a few group meetings outside the church building or at someone’s house. Plan non-traditional special events that are focused solely on fun and manly enjoyment, like skeet shooting, sporting events, car-care clinics, etc. Organize a work day that allows the men to be active while helping someone in need (e.g., split firewood for an elderly church member).

6. Remember that your group is made up of men from a variety of different backgrounds.
Everyone has different life experiences. Our spiritual walk, family life, socio-economic background, race and personal beliefs all shape how we see and think about the world. These differences should not separate the men in your group. It’s vital that each man is respectful of the other men’s opinions and willing to hear what they have to say. God may open your eyes to something you haven’t seen before.

7. Don’t get discouraged.
Your group might start off with 35 guys and dwindle down to 12 guys within a few weeks. Don’t get discouraged; this happens to all small groups. Many men are overly busy and do not prioritize their need for spiritual growth. Others are not ready to make real life changes. Find ways to minister to these men on the side, but don’t lose sight of the men who attend the group regularly. These are the guys who value spiritual growth in their lives. Try to stay focused on them and not on the men who are absent.

8. Men need to see measurable results.
Give the men in your group specific action steps that will lead them toward a stronger spiritual walk. Men want to know how they’re doing; they need to see that they are making progress in a direction that will lead to their success. Show them their progress by pointing out the positive changes you see in their lives. Schedule a graduation ceremony for those who participate in your men’s group for a specified amount of time. This type of celebration will allow the men to make a public commitment to pursuing Godly manhood.

9. Get it done with God!
No matter how many men attend your group, whether it’s five or 85, a good effort isn’t good enough—make it your best effort. The amount of effort you invest in the group will determine whether you and the men you lead grow spiritually or stagnate. As you invest in leading your group, be genuine; men can tell when someone’s faking it. If you want them to open up and talk about their struggles, emotions and thoughts, you need to open up and talk about yours. Focus on building a relationship with each man in your group, and watch their relationships with each other thrive.

10. Patience, patience, patience!
Patience is essential for anyone leading men. No one is capable of changing someone’s heart—only God can do that. Your job is to minister to the men around you and give them opportunities for spiritual growth. You can’t control how men will respond, but you can do your best to make sure that they are given the chance to grow in their relationship with God.

Click the buttons below to download each document:

Before starting a men’s group, leaders often worry ‘how can we afford it?’ This spreadsheet provides a good idea of the cost involved in setting up and running a Knights Chapter so you can prepare for costs ahead of time.

It’s helpful to have a timeline when you’ll complete the various steps toward getting your team ready to launch a successful Knights group. We recommend deadlines for each step, but feel free to speed up those deadlines if you want—it’s better to launch sooner rather than later. This spreadsheet serves as a reminder of the important elements of any Knights gathering.

This spreadsheet lists the topics of each Trail in all five years of The Heroic Man’s Journey (see the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet for Years 2-5). You can use this resource to help you plan ahead of time for the topics that are going to be dealt with in each lesson—the hosting theme for each week should be consistent with that particular topic.

  1. Calculate the average cost of snacks and drinks per meeting.
  2. Ask local businesses to sponsor a meeting for the calculated amount. (Let the businesses know that a sign will be put at the snack table stating who the sponsor is for that meeting.)
  3. Ask members/groups in your church to sponsor a meeting.
  4. Have group members sign up to bring snacks each week if they are willing and able to do so.
  5. If sponsors don’t step forward and members cannot provide weekly snacks, that’s okay—stay within your means. Refreshments are not essential for a successful meeting.

Our Theological Position Paper can help you get a better understanding of what K21 is all about (see pages 5-8 for information on starting a K21 group). Also check out our “A Moment with the Author” video below.

Theological Position Paper

If you’re interested in digging deeper into men’s group dynamics, we recommend the following documents. These articles analyze how men’s groups function, what works and what doesn’t, and how to guide your men to have the most beneficial group experience possible.

Men’s Group Dynamics (excerpt)
Handbook for Starting a Men’s group (full document by Gervase R. Bushe, Ph.D.)

  1. Set up the room and AV equipment 10-15 minutes before the meeting starts.
  2. Start the meeting on time (suggestion: use a 5-minute PowerPoint countdown so that everyone knows when the meeting will start).
  3. Allow 5-8 minutes for warm-up/hosting time.
  4. Play the DVD lesson (each Trail in The Heroic Man’s Journey is about 30-40 minutes long).
  5. 5-minute closing: share any announcements or info for next week. Pray for the men before they go into their campfire groups.
  6. Dismiss the men to their campfire groups.
  7. Campfire leaders should end their campfire groups in prayer.

(See “10 Steps to Launching a Knights Chapter” video below)

Starting a Men’s Ministry

2:30 | Dr. Roy Smith, author & founder of K21, talks about the ups and downs of leading a men’s ministry. Regardless of the challenges, there’s an undeniable need for strong, enduring men’s groups and the supportive relationships they create.

Video Resources

10 Steps to Launching a Knights Chapter

23:35 | Clair Hoover and Dr. Roy Smith discuss ten steps needed to successfully institute a K21 program. It outlines the tasks that need to be completed prior to launching a men’s ministry, and gives leaders practical advice on how to get men interested in joining their group.

Setting Up Campfire Groups

11:00 | After viewing each K21 lesson, we encourage groups to break out into smaller groups of 6 to 8 men to discuss the lesson and life in general. Dr. Roy Smith talks about the importance of these Campfires, how to facilitate them and the ways they benefit relationships between men.

Let’s Talk

13:30 | Take a seat with Dr. Roy Smith as he discusses some practical tips that will help you get your K21 group started. Starting at the beginning, Roy explains each practical step a men’s leader needs to consider when setting out to build a vibrant ministry.

A Moment with the Author

6:30 | Dig deeper into the goals and design of The Heroic Man’s Journey program with author and founder of K21, Dr. Roy Smith, as he talks about his beliefs and motivations for creating K21. Take a look at this video to learn more about the philosophy and mechanics of implementing a successful Knights Chapter.

Use the Right Bait

6:10 | Men learn in unique ways—it’s our job as men’s leaders to find our similarities and use them to guide men in ways that help them grow. In this video Dr. Roy Smith shows how a men’s ministry can attract more men by actively meeting their spiritual, emotional and relational needs.


6:40 | Taking a break and looking at your group’s progress is important to the success of any ministry program. Clair Hoover and Dr. Roy Smith discuss how to assess the effectiveness of your ministry and make any necessary improvements. They also talk about some techniques for encouraging your men to grow even further.

Starting Your Knights Chapter

4:50 | Churches and communities build strong, effective men’s groups through The Heroic Man’s Journey, our 5-year DVD study program. Watch how others are using this series and how it’s benefiting their men, families, communities and the world.