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