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?