Why Men Don’t Go To Church

Why Men Don’t Go To Church

To a point, I am sympathetic to how and why a dude of the male gender may not want to attend church, nor am I necessarily against studying the issue, or in how to attract men to church.

On the other hand, where the hell are the editorials examining why women are turned off by church? Where are the editorials asking, “How can we attract women?”

Because women are also dropping out of church, it’s not just the males. I left a reply on this guy’s blog, explaining some of the reasons women are turned off by church too.

Minor quibble: the author of this page used the word “people” in his blog title, but he focuses on MEN.

Should not the title read “Why a Typical, Traditional Church Will Fail to Reach MEN” and not “Why a Typical, Traditional Church Will Fail to Reach People?”

(Link): Why a Typical, Traditional Church Will Fail to Reach People

Excerpts

    04/02/12

    Author: David Murrow

    Welcome to “Lakeside” Church, the statistically average U.S. Congregation. This week:

    Lakeside will draw an adult congregation that’s 61 percent female, 39 percent male.
    Almost 25 percent of the married women who attend Lakeside will do so without their husbands.

    Lakeside will attract a healthy number of single women, but few single men.
    The majority of men who actually show up for Sunday worship are there in body only. Their hearts just aren’t in it. Few will do anything during the week to nurture their faith.

    Lakeside is the norm in Christianity – in the U.S., and around the world. Your church profile is probably similar. Count noses this Sunday – you’ll be surprised. A 60/40 gender gap (or larger) probably affects your worship services, midweek meetings, Bible studies, ministry teams, youth group, etc. In today’s church, women are the participators, men, the spectators.

    How did we get here? How did a faith founded by a man and his 12 male disciples become anathema to men? Why do Christian churches around the world experience a chronic shortage of males, when temples and mosques do not? Why are churchgoing men so hesitant to really live their faith, when men of other religions willingly die for theirs?

    As a church leader, the lack of male participation may not be one of your top concerns. After all, if you want a smooth running congregation, women are the key. Women keep the ministry machine going. They sing in the choir, care for children, teach classes, cook for potlucks, and serve on committees. George Barna puts it this way: women are the backbone of Christian congregations. Men are like hood ornaments on cars: nice, but not necessary.

    Over the long term, however, a lack of men will doom a congregation. The gender gap is associated with church decline, according to the latest studies. …

    Why men hate going to church

    … The answer is obvious: in our society, men avoid any behavior (or venue) that might call their manhood into question. For example, men don’t go to baby showers, fabric stores or “chick flicks.” So it is with church: men believe, deep in their hearts, that church is a women’s thing. Men approach Christianity with the same apathy or discomfort they display when forced to watch a Meg Ryan film. It just doesn’t resonate with them.

    .. Like a glove that gradually conforms to the hand of its wearer, Christianity has, over the centuries, subtly conformed to the needs and expectations of its most faithful constituency, women age 40 and older.

    How do we turn things around?

    In my book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, I offer more than 60 pages of practical, proven suggestions for making your church more man-friendly. Here are just a few:

    Stop sending Nick signals that church is for women. From the moment he walks into the sanctuary, Nick must sense that this is something for him, not just something for his grandma, his wife and his kids. Examine everything about your church: the décor, the vocabulary you use, the songs you sing, the behaviors you expect. Men will respond if you meet them halfway.

MY REPLY

The post I left under that page:

    I’ve read over about one half the editorial so far. I would like to point out to the author that a lot of unmarried Christian women also feel out of place in church.

    Churches are NOT, NOT, NOT the estrogen drenched, woman welcoming environs he seems to feel they are.

    I am a woman who has never married or had children, but most Baptist, evangelical, and fundamentalist churches cater only to young married couples who have children.

    Churches do not know what to do with singles who are past age 30. And they don’t care to figure it out.

    Adult Singles feel overlooked, unwanted, and in some churches, we are subjected to false stereotypes (such as we are fornicators, we want to steal married men, we are not as godly and mature as the married couples), etc.

    I have never been kid or baby crazy. I was a “tom boy” when younger and while I am feminine enough, I have never fit into the hyper girly girl, June Cleaver type of womanhood that some Christians teach is “biblical womanhood.”

    A lot of churches assume that all women are June Cleaver: married with a kid, or that they want a kid. (I never cared if I had a kid or not, but I did want marriage).

    Although I grew up Southern Baptist, SB churches (and other conservative Christian churches / denominations) make me feel like a foreigner.

    They hype and emphasize marriage and parenting way, way too much. Sermons about singlehood are rarely given. Most churches neglect mature (as in over age 30) singles.

    Yet other churches have gone overboard in making church more “manly” to attract males, so that some churches now resemble NASCAR race tracks or bar dives. I, as a woman, don’t feel welcome in those sorts of environments, either.

    I am a life long Christian, early 40s, a woman, never married, but I most certainly do not feel “loved or nurtured” in Christians culture these days.

    Christians have a very narrow view of “womanhood,” which is equivalent to ‘be married and have a kid,’ and if you do not fit either role, Christian don’t want you around.

    I am not interested in working in typically girly roles, such as baby sitting in the church nursery or in cooking, but those are the sorts of only positions most churches make available to women such as me, who are more tech- oriented.

    A lot of the same things that you are saying make men feel alienated from churches are some of the same things that make women feel alienated, singles of both genders, and the 20 somethings of both genders.

    Also, I must disagree that churches are catering to women age 40 and older – maybe that was true at one time?, but in the last few decades, churches have become very youth fixated. Churches tend to ignore and marginalize women who are age 40 and older.

    It’s become noticeable enough that some Christian women age 40 and up have started blogging about how older women are being ignored, or younger women have starting speaking on behalf of the 40 somethings, such as,
    (Link): “In which they are overlooked in a sea of hipsters” by Sarah Bessey

    That page has testimonies by age 40ish women who were shoved aside in their churches, and told they were being shoved aside by preachers, in favor of 25 year old women. Some preachers think it looks more relevant, cool, or hip to have a 20 year old woman on stage rather than a 45 year old.

    Christian Pundit , 09/17/13 05:17 PM

9 thoughts on “Why Men Don’t Go To Church”

  1. “How did a faith founded by a man and his 12 male disciples become anathema to men?”

    Faith alone leaves nothing to DO. Faith alone means moral accomplishment is not recognized as a good, but is treated as the worst sin. That’s how this antichrist nonsense called Christianity became anathema to everyone with a brain.

    1. “Why do Christian churches around the world experience a chronic shortage of males, when temples and mosques do not?”

      Maybe because they don’t treat moral achievement as sin…maybe…nay, couldn’t possibly be that. Everyone just loves faith alonism.

      1. Dude, you need to read my other posts to you – one of them is farther down this page.

        I have already sent two posts by you to the Trash, where you were wanting to argue about faith alone.

        I support salvation by faith alone. It’s not up for debate on this blog.

        This is a blog about singleness, not for bickering about theology. I’m also not into debate here, or permitting dissenting views – see the “Policy on Dissent” page and the “About” page, both are linked to at the top of the page.

        I almost trashed these first posts by you but have so far allowed them to stay on the blog. I assume folks can click on your name to go to your blog? If so, you can post on your own blog about how much you dislike Faith Alone. I am a Faith Aloner, yet I’m a virgin at age 40+, so your view point that all Faith Aloners are great big sexual sinners is a lot of hooey and is false.
        ————-

    2. @ james jordan:

      While I reside in a valley somewhere between Christianity and agnosticism these days, I still believe that Jesus taught, and the Bible teaches, salvation is by faith alone.

      So I will have to edit and/or delete some of your posts, or at least remove some comments from within posts, if they’re about denigrating salvation is by faith alone or anything else I don’t agree with. (Or I may allow these comments to stay, at least for awhile, I have not decided.)

      Please see my (Link): Policy on Dissent at This Blog (you might also want to see the blog’s “About” page).

      In a nut shell:
      This blog is a journal for me to think aloud. I allowed this blog to be public thinking it might be of some help or use to women (or men) in the same situation as me – over the age of 30, never married (or divorced/widowed) who are tired of churches ignoring or mistreating singles… that is, I’m not interested in debating other people’s theological views (or whatever) that I don’t agree with.

      I fuss and fight enough as it is with people over other topics on other blogs, I don’t want to have to debate on my own blog where I’m sorting through the faith / singleness/ agnosticism.

      You seem to think believing in “salvation by faith alone” is what leads people (Christians specifically?) into sexual sin. I believe in salvation being by faith alone, and I am still a virgin over the age of 40, so it’s obviously not true that “faith alone-ism” necessarily leads to sexual sin.

      I find your view on this very insulting. It is usually held by Roman Catholics. I don’t know if you’re a Catholic or not (perhaps you are a Protestant who believes in “Conditional Security”), but I’ve had in-laws before who are Catholic who hold this same view as yours.

      One of them believes that faith alone means that Baptists (of which I am one, or was one) live sleazy, sinful lives because we believe Jesus paid for all our sins.

      Meanwhile, this same Roman Catholic woman thinks that because Catholics reject that view, they are more “holy,”or live “godlier lives,” but her own sons (raised in Catholicism and anti faith alone views) were having sex outside of marriage. One used to work in a sex toy store around X-rated material. So don’t tell me that rejecting “faith alone” means “being more godly, pure, and moral,” because it does not.

      Not only do I not believe in a works-based salvation (the book of James is discussing how one’s works can demonstrate to others that one is saved, it is not saying works with faith are necessary for salvation), I do not believe in Conditional Security (that one’s salvation can be lost), either.

      I am OSAS (Once saved, always saved), which is not the same thing as Calvinism’s Perseverence of the Saints (which is basically a works based system, where one has to do good works to prove one is of the elect, or, one has to maintain one’s own salvation via right living/ good works).

      Anyway, I thank you for participating on the blog, and I’m sorry if it angers you or bothers you for me to censor some of your comments.

      You are welcome to keep posting about singleness if you like.

      I guess I’m going to have to put the blog back on “every comment must be approved by moderator” setting.

    3. You said,
      “Faith alone leaves nothing to DO. Faith alone means moral accomplishment is not recognized as a good,”

      I don’t see what that has to do with why men are turned off to church – or why single women are also turned off to church.

      I hope you’re not the sort of poster who wants to use someone else’s blog to get across their favorite topic.

      There’s a lady at another blog I visit who turns each and every single blog comment section into an anti Calvinist referendum, where she makes every post an anti TULIP screed, even if the post topic has nothing to do with Calvinism.

      I hate Calvinism almost as much as her, but I don’t use every thread at the other blog to bash Calvinism.

      You said,
      Faith alone leaves nothing to DO

      Forget that; as a never married woman, churches leave ME with “nothing to do,” and it has nothing to do with “Faith alone” beliefs.

      The reason why older single women like me are left out in church settings and given nothing to do (and one reason why we stop attending church):

      1. Due to bias against the un-married – churches perceive married people as being more godly, mature, trust worthy than singles so singles are never asked to lead anything –

      and

      2. Due to un-biblical, false gender role views (known in many Christian circles as biblical gender complementarianism), churches do not allow women to preach, lead or teach.

      The only roles most churches offer women, especially the single ones, are baby sitting in the church nursery, or they offer to let them act as “church secretary,” typing up memos. I have no interest or skill in either area. Which leaves me nothing to do.

      My skills and talents are not put to use in local churches. And it has nada, nothing to do, with Faith Alone ism

      Even churches that reject Faith Alone will not allow single women to preach, teach, or lead, such as Roman Catholics.

  2. “I know . . . I watch . . . I see . . . I have . . . I hear . . . I want.”

    That article could serve as the manifesto for a child worship society. As it stands now, all the morals of this country have been assigned to 16 year old teenage girls. With their daddies strutting them off to “purity balls” to cash in on their golden jewels. And real men who do not need women to define them will continue to quit church.

    1. You said,
      And real men who do not need women to define them will continue to quit church.

      It’s interesting you should put it that way, because usually the tremendous emphasis on all discussions about gender roles, sexual purity, marriage, etc, always discusses women, which I find sexist.

      Women in most of Christianity are taught that our only roles in life, or our greatest achievements, are bound up in being a wife and mother.

      So, for any of us women who don’t marry or have a kid, that leaves us out.

      There does seem to be a quieter prejudice going on in some Christian groups (especially the far out kooky ones, such as breeder cults, like “Quiverfull” and “Reconstructionists” and a bit in Southern Baptist churches) that perceive males as being worthy of leadership, or whatever, only if they marry and have a kid.

      But the majority of Christian literature and discussion I see about marriage, gender roles, sexual purity, modesty teachings, etc, puts a lot more expectations and rules on girls and women and what their obligations are, what their roles should be, they should dress modestly so as not to cause bros in Christ to stumble, yada yada, than it does on boys and men.

      We Christian ladies are expected to define ourselves by a husband and/or motherhood (secular culture also does this).

      Look at how savagely Child Free women are treated in comments sections on right wing political blogs any time such blogs link to an editorial by a CF woman who explains why she made a deliberate choice to forgo motherhood, the venom comes out. And I happen to be right wing myself, so I am disappointed in other right wingers for bashing women who don’t fit the June Cleaver stereotype.

      Rarely do I see males addressed on any of this stuff, or not nearly as much.

      A blog page about sexuality / marriage might spend ten pages about how a woman ought to act/ dress and why she should marry and pop out a baby, etc, but only two sentences about males, and at that, usually only directed to ladies, “remember ladies, men are visual so don’t wear mini skirts!”

      I think this might get back to Christians vilifying feminism. The majority of conservative Christians have turned feminism into a boogey man, and blame it for everything, including women’s sexual liberation, or what not.

      Maybe that is why they expend ten times more energy trying to convince every one that a woman’s only proper roles are as wife and mommy, and to be a virgin until marriage, rather than explaining what they believe a man’s role or greatest achievement to be?

      Or (regarding sexual purity) maybe it comes down to the simple biological fact that women are the ones who get pregnant and have babies, which is why Christians spend more time braying about female sexuality than they do male.

      One of the outcomes of all the Christian bashing of feminism is that they do not address the biases that do go on against unmarried and/or childless adult males in American Christianity (Baptist churches, fundamentalism, evangelicalism).
      (Hmm, maybe I should make that point into a stand alone post in the future?)

  3. One of the biggest turnoffs for me — crying babies and the smell of Pampers and powder. In my opinion, any mother who sits through a church service disturbing the congregation with a crying baby has as much sense as a one-eyed toad. Then you have the penny marches and on and on. The atmosphere created in churches doesn’t necessarily make men feel welcome, especially unmarried men.

    1. It’s funny you should mention that, because I just stumbled across this page a day ago (maybe I should feature this in its own post on my blog?):

      (Link): Dear Parents With Young Children in Church, by Jamie Bruesehoff

      She basically arrives at the opposite conclusion of you: that the smell of stinky diapers, kids crying, kids chomping on cheese poofs during services, and kids squirming during a church service is just AWESOME!! 🙄

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