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?”
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.
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