Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where Have All The Men Gone?

This week we begin a message series that focuses on men…and we’ve strategically placed our Men’s Retreat in the middle of this series. I know this may seem a little unfair for our women. But I hope you’ll agree that one of the greatest gifts we can give the women of our church is to help the men in their lives become the men God is calling them to be. If you look around, you have to admit, the church has not been very helpful in this process.

As part of my prep for the series I’m reading a book titled: “Why Men Hate Going To Church.” For a supposedly male-dominated institution, the statistics are staggering.

  • The typical U.S. congregation draws an adult crowd that’s 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories.
  • On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America’s churches.
  • This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.
  • Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.
  • The majority of church employees are women (except for ordained clergy, who are overwhelmingly male).
  • Over 70 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it during their teens and twenties. Many of these boys will never return.
  • More than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church.
  • Churches overseas report gender gaps of up to 9 women for every adult man in attendance.
  • Christian universities are becoming convents. The typical Christian college in the U.S. enrolls 2 women for every 1 man.
  • Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry.

The author concludes that today's church has feminized Jesus and expects attenders to participate in intimate, nurturing behavior including things like singing “love songs” to Jesus, hand-holding, sharing feelings, while inviting everyone to have a “personal relationship” with the Savior. Many men feel uncomfortable in such an environment and choose not to go. In fact, nearly every man in America has experienced church at some point in his life, yet two-thirds of them do not currently feel it worthy of two hours of their time on a Sunday morning. Something is tragically wrong.

You can draw two different conclusions to this data.

· You could conclude that men are inherently unspiritual. It’s easy to blame the men. Yet, almost every other religion (Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim) reverse the men/women percentages mentioned above.

· You could conclude that most of our churches have become environments that are not very inviting to men. Therefore, they are choosing to express their spirituality in other ways and in other places.

Why does this matter? At a recent seminar our leaders attended together, the speaker shared these statistics: If a child attends church first, 17% of the time the parents will follow; if a woman attends church first, 33% of the time the family will follow; if a man attends church first, 93% of the time the family will follow.

We must be intentional about “making room” for men in our churches and be intentional about inviting them to be the “real men” that God is calling them to be.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't someone tell me about that two-girls-to-one-guy ratio at Christian colleges thing a long time ago. I probably would have transferred out of Michigan.

-Tom Brady

Margo said...

The research in this book are so true, and it is so, critical!...that we make church an environment where men who are searching for something more in this life can find it. Thanks, CCC, for seeing this and choosing to do something about it!