The Man Church

Military, guns, boxing and bacon: these are common themes at the church I’ve heard many women refer to as “The Man Church.”  Many ladies are getting frustrated.  I, on the other hand, think it’s awesome.  The next time you’re in service, do a headcount.  The average church in America has around 61% female congregation. If we only look at the single protestant population, that shoots up to about 70%.  If we look at people who are involved at a deeper level than just the occasional weekend service, it’s about 75% female and “Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry.”1

I look at this photo and think, "Awesome! Men praying!" Most men look at this photo and think "Ack! They're holding hands! That's why I never want to go to a Bible study!"

I look at this photo and think, “Awesome! Men praying!” Most men look at this photo and think “Ack! They’re holding hands! That’s why I never want to go to a Bible study!”

As a woman, I object to the absence of a male presence in our churches.  I’ve heard too many non-Christian men express a sentiment along the lines that “church is for sissies.” I’m not going to address this aspect of the argument, since this article titled, “Why Men Hate Church” does it so well.

I’m a very practical person.  I think society functions better when families attend church regularly. Families function better when men attend church regularly.  I continually hear single women complain about the lack of character and integrity in men, specifically in regards to sex and relationships. Sermons pointed at men address these specific issues better than gender-neutral sermons. Therefore, I believe it’s in everyone’s best interest if men find church appealing, and a good way of doing this is by making it a more masculine environment.

What differences have I seen in the congregation and my own life in the last 3 years or so that the church in question has been on this man-track?  Well for starters, I’ve seen more men in the seats.  I’ve also seen more men volunteering in every ministry.  I’ve seen a change in the men I know.  Some of these men spent a lifetime feeling like they were drifting without a real understanding of what it meant to be a “good man” without being a weenie and feeling like no matter what they did, women were furious with them.  Often their own fathers never really showed them what they needed to know, and heaven knows culture paints a pitiful picture of men in general.  They expressed a hunger for direction and validation from other men.

With the strong message they have received at the “Man Church,” men increasingly feel confident of their purpose and are far more assertive about reaching for God and pursuing friendships with other godly men.  I’ve heard spine-tingling stories come as a result of the challenges received at the Men’s Retreats.  I’ve seen wonderful changes in men and I have seen these changes bless the women here, too.  With all the belly-aching we gals do about men, we should be thrilled when a church makes such a concerted effort to improve the situation. We need to be patient with the process.

Here’s the reality: in the absence of great teaching or nurturing community, women will seek it out.  We will read books or find small groups or switch churches until we find a place where we can grow and connect.  It’s much easier for us.  It really doesn’t matter if we’re learning from men or women.  We come into this world more relationally and spiritually oriented.  Men are not.  It’s harder for them.  As women, we need to acknowledge this and help them connect in the way that’s best for them—through the leadership and fellowship of other men.

I want to see a healthy Christian community across all denominations.  I want to see men who are passionate about God and lead their communities and families by Jesus’ example.  What must we do to fan the embers in the hearts of men toward God?  I will do what I can, and I will support those churches who do as well. I love being a part of a “Man Church,” and I know my marriage is a direct result of the leadership and fellowship my husband has found here.

References

Murrow, D. (n.d.). Quick Facts. Retrieved from Church for Men: http://churchformen.com/men-and-church/where-are-the-men/

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus, is available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content like this blog and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!  

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About howhardcoulditbe

While this started as a chronicle of my many (sometimes ill-conceived) "Do It Yourself" projects, it has morphed into a journal of my 9-year journey as a single Christian woman striving to live by God's design.
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7 Responses to The Man Church

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    Church leadership is overwhelmingly male, sermon metaphors draw upon sports, cars, war, tools, and jokes are often at the expense of women. Christianity does not need: Church for Men, Church for Women, Church for College Students, Church for Teenagers, Church for Retired Persons, etc. It must be something that works for everybody, reaches everybody, and excludes no one. We need to stop dividing up the cross.

    • Hi Jamie,
      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve heard sermons that took pot-shots at women. I would hate to hear of a church that made a hostile environment for any gender, race or creed. However, I’m truly grateful that I live in a country where we can find so many churches which preach the Gospel in so many unique ways. I’ve been in many churches I didn’t want to attend on a regular basis, though there was nothing wrong with the people or the theology– it was simply a different teaching approach or style of worship.

      Churches which specifically work to draw men are not excluding anyone. Everyone is welcome, but they do have a target demographic. I see nothing unsavory about a church reaching out to a specific group who is under-represented in the body of Christ.

      If you choose to go to a “one-size-fits-all” church, that’s wonderful. I’m very happy that you’ve found a place where you feel connected. Jesus was all about reaching out to the disenfranchised. I think any church that wants to make a point of reaching out to a specific group with the intention of helping them to connect back to God is a wonderful thing. It only become divisive when we begin to point fingers and criticize others for doing things differently than we do.

      We’re all on the same team here.

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. Bonnie says:

    “No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. ” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭19‬ NIV)

    • “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” (Titus 3:9-11 NASB)
      “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:14)

      “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)
      “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12)

  3. Bonnie says:

    In a time like this of tolerance, false teaching will always cry intolerance; it will always say you’re being divisive, you’re being unloving, you’re being ungracious because it can only survive when it doesn’t get scrutinized. And so it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny, just “let’s embrace each other, let’s love each other, let’s put all that behind us.” False doctrine cries the loudest about unity. And listen carefully when you hear the cry for unity because it may be the cover of false doctrine encroaching. And if ever we should follow 1 Thessalonians 5 and examine everything carefully, it’s when somebody is crying “unity, love, and acceptance.” -John MacArthur

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