Why your man might hate church

bored-man-in-church

Male and female participation are roughly equal in Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

In the Islamic world men are publicly and unashamedly religious—often more so than women.

Of the planet’s great religions, only Christianity has a consistent, worldwide shortage of male practitioners.
     DAVID MURROW, Why Men Hate Going to Church

We’re coming up on one of the three days of male church obligation: Christmas Eve, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

I hope your man doesn’t hate church or feel obligated to go. Let’s get that out of the way.

Why Men Hate Going to ChurchWhy do they hate going?

But just in case he does, here are a few reasons why, according to David Murrow in Why Men Hate Going to Church:

  • I don’t have time.
  • Church doesn’t work for me.
  • It’s boring.
  • It’s irrelevant to my life.
  • I don’t like the pastor.
  • It’s too long.
  • They ask for money too much.
  • It’s for wimps.
  • There are too many hypocrites there. (most popular)

I wasn’t sure this would apply to my church. We appear highly male-oriented to me. Most of our committees are headed by men, filled with men, and executed by men. Almost all our teen and adult classes are taught by men (exceptions are the all-ladies classes). All the major decisions are made solely by men. Only men are allowed to speak up front.

But when I took the Guy Friendly Test, my church ended up ranking much lower than I expected. Why? If I often feel oppressed as a woman, how could we not be guy friendly?

Men don’t like this

Well, we do hold hands across the aisle periodically. We often have a “hug your neighbor” time. We don’t strongly state our mission or use the language of risk or danger or death like Jesus did. We use a “family” metaphor more than a “kingdom” one. Some might say we don’t focus on quality or innovation in our services. We don’t regularly provide “men projects” (compared to opportunities to cook meals for the sick or attend baby showers).  Our services often go long. Our classes are typically geared to the academia-type who delight in exegesis and lectures.

Hmmm.... Have we overly-feminized the church?

Murrow says,

Women are just better at “doing church” than men are, because the rules of church favor women. The natural abilities that help a person become a star in church can be summed up in three words: verbal, studious, and sensitive.

But research proves that churches lacking in strong male leadership are typically not strong churches at all.

Once a church’s adult attendance is 70 percent female, you can write its obituary. …

Men have been less interested in the Christian faith for centuries. Men have had the pulpit; women have had the pews.

What to do

Murrow suggests women do masculine, but men don’t do feminine.

So help your church become more welcoming to men; it will benefit the men and the women. But how, and especially how without hurting the women?

  • Consider men’s needs when planning.
  • Let men gather without women around.
  • Step back and let men lead.
  • Do not belittle men or act spiritually superior.
  • Stop sending signals that church is just for women.
  • Encourage leaders to dream big enough to tap into God’s power.

He also suggests valuing what he labels the “the most important valuable spiritual discipline for today’s men: the discipline of friendship. …  The men who stay faithful to God are those who walk closely with other Christian men.”

What do you think?

I’m not finished processing this yet; I’m not sure what I think.

I’d love to hear from you about your church experiences.
What do the men in your life think about going to church?
Good things, bad things?

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Thanks to Book Sneeze for the review copy of this book.

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