Skip to comments.A good man is hard to find at church
Posted on 08/15/2008 11:50:44 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
DALLAS (ABP)Men are disappearing from the church.
According to the Barna Research Group, there are 11 million to 13 million more American women who are born again than there are born-again men. While nine out of 10 senior pastors are men, a majority of regular church attenders are women.
Not only are women the majority of born-again American Christians, the Barna Group reports, Women are the backbone of the Christian congregations in America.
Perhaps indicative of womens sense of spirituality, 41 percent of women said they have set specific spiritual goals they hope to accomplish in the coming year or two. Only 29 percent of men have identified such spiritual goals.
Women, more often than not, take the lead role in the spiritual life of the family, said George Barna, president of the research group. Women typically emerge as the primaryor onlyspiritual mentor and role model for family members. And that puts a tremendous burden on wives and mothers.
Pam Durso, associate executive director of the Baptist History & Heritage Society, agrees women play a major role in families as spiritual mentors. One aspect of that is that mothers generally are the ones who do the scheduling of events and the planning of activities, including church attendance and church-related programs.
But thats nothing new, Durso argues. Historically, women have dominated the membership of Baptist churches.
Here is something to think about: Is 61 percent for female participation really a change for Baptists? Over the years, many Baptist churches have had a majority of female members, Durso said.
At First Baptist Church of America, in Providence, R.I.the premier Baptist congregation in the New World59 percent of the members from 1730-1777 were women, Durso noted. From 1779-1799, that percentage dropped by only 1 percent to 58 percent.
So, perhaps the question is not where have all the men gone, but is instead where have men been all these years? Durso said.
David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church, believes the way churches market themselves affects the demographics of their memberships. According to Murrows Church for Men website, a typical congregation draws an adult crowd thats 61 percent female and 39 percent male.
Its widely believed, and rarely spoken of, that men feel church is something for women, children and grandparents, Murrow said. If a man becomes involved (in a church), then he is less manly.
Murrow believes this trend began during the Industrial Revolution in the 1840s. Harsh economic conditions drove men to seek jobs in mines, mills and factories. While men worked, families were left behind for longer periods of time. The only people to be found in congregations were women, children and older men. Women began to add socials like teas, quilting circles and potluck dinners.
The able-bodied man all but disappeared from the church, Murrow said.
Murrow mentions on his website, www.churchformen.com, that many who have grown up in the church dont recognize the feminine spirituality. But to the masculine mind, its obvious as the steps in front of the door.
He may feel like Tom Sawyer in Aunt Pollys parlor. He must watch his language, mind his manners and be extra polite. Its hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine religious mold, Murrow writes on the site.
The tendency of targeting women has grown with the increased popularity of contemporary worship, Murrow added.
Hymns used to be tuned into the masculine heart by alluding to God as a mighty fortress, Murrow noted. Songs such as Onward Christian Soldiers spurred men in their faith.
But now worship sounds like a Top-40 love song, Murrow said. They are wonderful and biblical, but its not the sentiment that will rally a bunch of men.
Romantic music is a response to the market of single women, Murrow added. They provide a Jesus image who wants to steal away with them which doesnt appeal to men.
Are we going to allow the market to drive the church, or the Bible to drive the church?
Murrow suggests theres nothing wrong with the gospeljust the way Christians present it. We just need to change the culture container that we are delivering it in and should be willing to follow the example of churches who succeed in reaching men, he said.
A leading example is Christ Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Ariz. The church markets to men through the events promoted, down to the colors and design of the building. The church even changes the range of the worship songs so men can feel comfortable singing.
Everything we do when it comes to marketing is geared toward men in the 25-45 range an underserved demographic in the church market today, said Michael Gray, communications coordinator of Christ Church of the Valley.
The church offers activities like motorcycle and sport groups. One of the groups is called The Edge. There men can rappel down cliffs, jump out of airplanes and bungee jump off bridges. The purpose is to cause men to take a step of faith and stretch their comfort zones. The ministry is a spiritually challenging group, not just physically challenging. While the group focuses on adventurous activities, their ultimate goal is to lead people into an adventure with Jesus Christ.
The Edge helps get men plugged into the church and hanging out with other men, outside a church setting, Gray said. It shows that we are mens men, and we dont just sit in shirt and tie on Sundays with our leather-bound Bible
There is more than one way to present the gospel in a way that contemporary men will respond to, Murrow said. But it begins with the congregation understanding it must make an intentional effort to reach out to men.
People have to realize its a problem. They need to wake up and look (at) how magnetic Jesus was to men. We have a 70-to-80 percent failure to boys. I dont think thats (Gods) will.
If Jesus is divided then his Kingdom is divided and Jesus himself said a kingdom against itself can't stand. So either the Kingdom of God is divided and about to fall or the "church" as we call it is not of God.
I believe there are people in every denomination on earth who God will call out of their denominations to form the Body of Christ and it will operate in the power Christ operated in.
Agreed. If anything, this looks like a case of empire building. Getting more butts in the seats gets you more $$ + bragging rights on how many you’ve “saved” by the latest marketing gimmick.
>>I can talk to God daily while working, why join a bunch of unbelievers at a social gathering.<<
I can give you two good reasons:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherand all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I am beginning to think that the very thing I most abhored about church is actually one of it’s most important purposes: Christian fellowship. Hanging around with other Christians. Rock climbing, motorcycle and bike riding, you name it.
Why not just teach the bible by the Spirit of Christ? Why all the gimmicks. I think “healing the sick, casting out devils and making the blind to see” would draw a much larger crowd than some #1 best selling author and his self help book speaking on Sunday night.
>>Isn’t anyone else appalled by these ideas and easy use of the terms “marketing” and “promotion” when referring to church attendance?<<
Not me. I consider marketing to be like money. It is not a good or bad thing in itself. Depends on how it is being used. I believe all of life is sales. I suppose that all of life is marketing as well. The word has a very broad definition.
It would be quite easy to make the case that Jesus was marketing and promoting. Heck, I promote the idea of grace every chance I get.
I think that's great! I do that too but I am talking about what these churches offer. Don't we want the truth?
>>I think that’s great! I do that too but I am talking about what these churches offer. Don’t we want the truth?<<
Absolutely! And the church is one of the few places where it WILL be absolute!
I see marketing and selling as synonomous with “presenting”. When I tell someone about the amazing gift of God I am, by definition, selling and marketing. That is really all I was trying to point out. If I try to convince a chef that I have this great ceramic knife and I am willing to give it to him free, I still have to sell it. I have to offer a motivation for him to reach out and grab it as well as quell his fears that it may harm him if he makes the attempt. Further, I am marketing by speaking a language he understands.
I know this is a silly example, but I am merely trying to point out that words like “marketing” in no way offend me when discussing the presentation of the gospel or anything else to people. My offense or lack thereof comes from the context or what the person actually means when they say “marketing”.
Attending church will not get you into heaven, but believers will find a church home to associate with. Keep searching, good luck.
There are some great hymn in this tradition, including "Hold the Fort" (inspired by the Battle of Allatoona in 1864), "The Fight is On, Oh Christian Soldier," and "The Conflict of the Ages" which are rarely, if ever heard today.
Wow I have never experienced any of those “worship” styles.
We honor God and His Son, Jesus. But we are also attempting to develop a community of Christians within the larger community and we have found that having social gatherings that appeal to men is effective.
I spent most of my life in feminized denominations and the difference is stark. My church has an active role for men, which is Biblical, but also runs programs that will appeal to them as guys. One can go only so long on potluck dinners, you know.
I agree. However, ‘giving Praise to the Creator’ and singing ditties are worlds apart. The men I see, Sunday after Sunday, do not seem to want to jump and clap and cheer like they are at a rock concert. Cannot they worship Our Lord and keep their dignity and adulthood intact? If you were having an audience with the King, would you want to jump up and down and clap and cheer, like you were at a sports event? Just seems wrong to me.
And married men die younger because they want to.
If the church is going to do lame unscriptural (or non-scriptual things) things to attract men, in the name of marketing.... Well I can think of a lot of really cool things that are not lame that would attract ment, even if they are non scriptural....
Fly a P-51 into the church parking lot.
Have a parchutist drop from the sky and give every guy there a bow and arrow and see if they can hit the parachute.
Have a demolition derby in the church parking lot.
Hand out firecrackers and matches
I mean, come on. If you really want to get men there using marketing tactics.... How non creative can they be?
Quote of the day award.