Where’s the Church’s Man-Card?

David Murrow's book Why Men Hate Going to Church woke me up the fact that women outnumber men in American churches in 61% to 39%. His rationale, while overstated in some places, is worth consideration. This from the web site churchformen.com:

"Like a glove that gradually conforms to the hand of its wearer, Christianity has, over the centuries, subtly conformed to the needs and expectations of its most faithful constituency, women age 40 and older. So instead taking up the epic struggle Jesus promised his disciples, today's congregations focus on creating a warm, nurturing environment where the top priority is making everyone feel loved and accepted. We gather. We worship. We love each other. We sing. We instruct children. We comfort the hurting. This lineup is both beneficial and biblical, but these things alone will not galvanize men.

Why not? I think John Eldredge says it best: men are wild at heart. Though men see the goodness of the Christian faith, they are not swept up in it because church life is so soft and sweet. The cautious, sensitive culture of today's church fails to match the adventurous spirit found in most men. However, women and older folks are more likely to crave the safety and predictability the church provides. They flock to the pews, earning our congregations the dubious reputation as a place for little old ladies of both genders."

In addition, Murrow point out in his book that while males dominate the clergy in American churches, females dominate everything else. He also mentions the décor in most churches, the language used from the pulpit, and other things that send unintentional messages to men that the church is a masculinity-free zone.

It's Father's Day weekend and in my experience…it's a day when men are typically treated to a sermon on the plight of fatherhood in America…while Mother's Day is a celebration of Motherhood. This weekend, appreciate fathers for who they are. Have some fun with fatherhood without being cynical. Guys love to laugh. And, challenge them without beginning with guilt. Guys love to be challenged without being disrespected.

This Sunday's message at NCCC is entitled, "Man-Card," surveying great moments in fatherhood from the Scriptures. We've also put together a video called, "Great Moments in Fatherhood," (the spirit of Jack Handey) from TV and film as a way to say thanks to dads with a laugh. I hope to post it here Sunday or Monday.

Whatever you do at your congregation this Sunday and in the days to come, find ways to bless men, teach men, and challenge men to be all God has called them to be. God's church needs more spiritually mature men in it. Who knows, maybe one day they'll write a book entitled, Why Men Love Going to Church.

Question: Is the church too masculine, too feminine, just right, or does it matter?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

6 thoughts on “Where’s the Church’s Man-Card?

  1. Tim,
    Thanks for the post. It’s interesting to me that even though many CoC’s continue to limit the “roles” of women in church, women are often more active in service and attendance than men. Is it the single mom and her children we see more often in the “pews” or the single dad? Is it the dad that brings his children while mom stays home or vice versa? Regardless of our limitation on their participation, women continue to be volunteering in the schools, supporting the ministries, and generally attending worship in greater numbers than men. Is this a result of the evolution of our theology and our worship service, or is it more a gender/cultural issue: women nurture and care for the needy and men bring home the bacon. I think many men miss out on opportunities to find the joy in Christ’s work not because we’ve feminized church, but because men identify themselves more with vocation than ministry. We need to call our men to service, to build them up, and to help them find the joy in Christ’s work. Thanks again Tim.

  2. Tim,
    It’s interesting that in many COC’s, were women still struggle to find their “roles,” they continue to be the most active servants and the most active attenders. Does this strike anyone as odd? Is it single fathers bringing their children, or single mothers? Is it fathers that are showing up even when their wives are not, or vice versa? I appreciate your thoughts and I agree that we need to encourage fathers to be more active, to hear the call of Christ in their lives, and to give them outlets for service. I just find it interesting that although our recent traditions have tried to limit the service of women, they’ve seemed to find a way to serve Christ, often to a larger extent, than men. We have all the opportunity, but for some reason many of us would rather watch the game or be in the office. Just food for thought….

  3. Since I’m not a man I’ve never thought about this – whether the church has lost it’s man card. I don’t believe my husband feels that he has lost his place in the church. Probably because he has areas that he serves in and other couples that we meet with for bible study group. I think NC3 does a good job at reaching out to men, but there’s always room for improvement, no matter where you’re at. I really do believe that since the younger men, and even boys, are the future of the church that they do need the extra spiritual guidance and to be called to a higher challenge! If they are not active and called to help lead, teach, preach, etc…, why would we think that they would see their special role that God has given them in the church? And if their leadership is not brought out in the church, what would their home look like?
    just thoughts from a wife, daughter, and a sister 😉

  4. I will most certainly celebrate as a male disciple when my church is no longer predictable beyond reason and stops insisting I check my brain at the door.

  5. Good post, Tim. I think that you’re right that we need to call our men to live the adventure of faith, to get out and take risks for the kingdom, and to be strong in Christ-like ways.
    I suspect that one reason we don’t hear more “celebration of fatherhood” type sermons (as we do for mothers on Mother’s Day) is because many male preachers have complicated relationships with their fathers that make it harder for them, personally, to celebrate dad. Not to mention that Scripture has more negative examples of fatherhood than positive.
    Thanks for your post. And have a great Father’s Day with your gals.