Thoughts Regarding ‘Crisis in the Christian Church: A Lack of Young, Single Men’ Essay by S. Green
I will excerpt this essay from The Christian Post, which was published about a month ago, then offer my thoughts.
I will start out by saying it’s not just a lack of YOUNG men in the church, but a lack of single men of ANY age at churches that is a problem for any Christian single woman who expected to be able to find a marital partner at a church.
I remain single past my 30s and 40s. I had wanted to be married, I was taught by Christian culture and my parents that if I was just a good Christian person, prayed, and trusted in God, that I would be “sent” a Christian spouse, and that I could likely expect to meet this spouse, whoever he was, at a church.
So, over the years, in my 20s and older, I would pop into the occasional church every so often. However, any time I attended, there were never any single men of my age, once I got into my mid or late 20s, my 30s, and my 40s.
It’s not just women in their 20s who’d like to marry, it’s women in their 30s and on up age-wise who’d like to marry. Why oh why do Christians always ignore them? It’s not fair or okay.
Never, ever focus solely on 20-something singles.
With that, here is the article – below the article, I will offer my observations:
By Solomon Green, March 4, 2021
….Churches are increasingly becoming a (Link): very unpopular [PDF document] place to meet a future wife or husband since the 1940s. The truth is, Christian Culture is dying.
…new families cannot be formed when there is a barrier of severe gender imbalance. According to (Link): Lyman Stone’s study, a typical Sunday service has 71 eligible men to 100 eligible women.
This is an enormous problem within the Body of Christ that isn’t getting any better or going to fix itself.
New men aren’t just going to walk into churches. So how do churches fix this? Well, here are three steps to help solve the problem.
Step One: Have more Sunday sermons focused on careers, sex, and marriage. These topics are of great importance, yet are hardly covered from the pulpit …
Step Two: Have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations be on equal footing. On Mother’s Day, pastors tend to preach sermons about the wonderful maternal examples in the Bible…
Mothers are praised and told how wonderful they are and how being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. They are told how crucial they are…
…. But the overall message to men is “Do Better,” while the message to women is “You’re Amazing”. If churches keep telling men they are not enough, churches will keep finding they don’t have enough men.
….Step Three: Have events that interest men, not just events men attend. The truth is that men need other men, and men bond over activities, not conversation.
Many churches get this wrong. Men’s groups may try to just have men get together and talk and open up to each other; while this is important to build men up, this does not draw men.
….Men and boys aren’t just going to sit and talk like how women and girls do.
Men need activities that will cause them to want to be together. Airsofting, golfing, gym outings, hikes, bike rides, fishing, or another activities that get testosterone pumping and create a pecking order is how men come together.
….The vast majority of young Christian ladies desire to get married, and once the men in the church are taken, the remaining women will either stay single, marry Christian men who don’t attend church, or marry non-Christian men.
—- end excerpts —
Well, kudos to this author for at least noticing that there is a gender imbalance in most churches, a point I’ve mentioned at this blog going back several years.
Most Christians, churches, and denominations remain ignorant on this point.
The rare occasions Christians notice this gender imbalance and how it can and does factor into declining Christian marriage rates, they typically only care about 20-something single Christian women who’d like to be married – they don’t care about the many, many single women age 30, 40, 50 and older who’d like to marry.
If not that, then the minority of Christians who do notice this gender imbalance and how it’s negatively impacted single women, sit there and shame and blame single women for still being single. (Instead of, you know, (Link): taking actual steps to help single women get married.)
Regarding this set of remarks by Green:
Have more Sunday sermons focused on careers, sex, and marriage. These topics are of great importance, yet are hardly covered from the pulpit
—- end excerpts —
No. No no no no. What reality is this author living in? Churches already preach on marriage and sex too much already, which is one reason of many single adults feel excluded from church, and why they stop attending.
In all my years of attending church services and listening to sermons online or on TV, I’ve heard, very, very few about celibacy, singleness, or ones that encourage singles in their singleness.
Most all content churches pump out, whether in their blogs, in-person sermons, online content, or in books and podcasts, is always about marriage, married people, and issues particular to married couples.
This is such a well known point that author Julia Duin spends a chapter or two in it in her book ‘Quitting Church.’ Singles are sick and tired of hearing about marriage from the pulpit.
It’s such a well known fact among older Christian singles that churches cover marriage too much that I’ve done several posts about it on this very blog, over the past several years.
Here are just a few examples of blog posts I’ve done about this issue:
-I have other examples on this blog, other posts, but you get the idea.
Churches actually need to SHUT UP about sex and marriage.
I seldom hear churches discuss or support singleness, and the rare occasions singleness is mentioned, it is either in the context, patronizingly, of (Link): how singles should meet the needs of married people, or with the (false) assumption that all singles, even ones who’d like to marry, will marry some day.
Regarding this point:
Step Two: Have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations be on equal footing.
—- end excerpt —
Again, no. I’ve done several posts on my blog about how hurtful, insulting, or excluding Mother’s Day sermons are to so many women, and why churches need to stop spreading the lie that “motherhood is a woman’s greatest calling.”
We don’t need Mother’s Day or Father’s Day sermons in churches. They are secular holidays, and churches already promote marriage, natalism, and The Nuclear Family enough as it is, to the degree that single people, the childless, child-free, or infertile married couples feel excluded or as odd- man- out.
I have many posts on my blog about those subjects, such as (but not limited to):
Jesus himself (Link): never married, never had children, and he (Link): de-emphasized marriage, parenthood, and familial ties in the New Testament; he didn’t build them up and promote them.
In spite of this de-emphasis of marriage and the nuclear family by Jesus in the New Testament (as well as by the apostle Paul), many evangelical, Baptist, and Protestant American churches and denominations continue to “hype” and promote marriage so much, that they either ignore adult singles and singleness in the process, or (Link): some of them altogether insult singles and singleness.
(Honorable mention on that score: (Link): Christian Blogger About Divorce, Pastor Andrew Webb, Thinks All To Most Mid-Life Never – Married or Single – Again Adults Are Mal-Adjusted, Ugly Losers Who Have Too Much Baggage)
Regarding this portion by Green in his essay at The Christian Post:
Step Three: Have events that interest men, not just events men attend. The truth is that men need other men, and men bond over activities, not conversation.
…Men and boys aren’t just going to sit and talk like how women and girls do. Men need activities that will cause them to want to be together. Airsofting, golfing, gym outings, hikes, bike rides, fishing…
—- end excerpts—
I can tell you that a lot of Christian (and Non-Christian) women out there also like activities, including hikes, bike riding, and so forth.
A lot of us women do not neatly fit into gender stereotype boxes – I sure never did.
A lot of Christian women “gag” at, and are turned off by, the gender stereotypes churches have of women, and that churches expect women to live them out; where the churches expect women to read from girly Bible studies with pink and floral covers and not go deeper into Biblical studies.
Then there are a lot of other women who enjoy outdoor activities or sports and have no interest in sitting around in-doors in a circle talking about their feelings or theology.
This all feeds into the sexist complaint by Christian men that “churches have been feminized,” another bogus complaint I’m tired of hearing, and I’ve (Link): blogged on it before in years past, a (Link): few times.
I have theories as to why churches are experiencing both a male and female decline in attendance, and I suspect that lack of sporting events or hiking trips for men does not play a big role, if any, but this is not the post for that.
Regarding the author’s contention that …’while the message to women [from churches] is “You’re Amazing”’… is absolutely false.
Single and married women get the message from most Christian churches, under “complementarian” teachings that we are garbage, not that we are “amazing.”
According to (Link): Christian gender complementarianism, which is taught from many church pulpits, women are illogical, too-emotional, easily deceived idiots who are stumbling blocks for men, we are supposedly all Jezebels, and we should all submit to all men all the time, even submit to men who are abusive or complete stupid idiots.
Single and childless or childfree women receive the message that we have no value, since our only value supposedly only resides in being married and pregnant.
One of the few times any group of women is heaped with praise in such churches is only on Mother’s Day, when all women present get steeped in the false message that a woman’s greatest calling in life is to be a wife and a mother.
To those of us women who never married or never had children, we oppose and bristle at such sermons.
As a single, childless woman, I’ve never heard a message from the pulpit that discussed me (i.e. single, childless woman) or the particular issues I face in life (ie, as a single adult). I’ve never heard a preacher praise single women in their singleness.
There is a lot of shaming and insulting of women in the church. I most certainly never got the message that I am “amazing” from evangelical, Baptist, or Protestant Christianity. Quite the opposite.
Famous Christian speaker Beth Moore sure didn’t feel as though her complementarian Southern Baptist group of churches taught that she and all women are “amazing,” because (Link): she recently resigned from the Southern Baptist series of churches
(much of her politics are vomit inducing, but she is largely correct about the sexism within Southern Baptist churches, though she apparently (Link): ignores or downplays how Democrats are just as bad on this point to mainly focus only on Trump.)
As to the author’s end point:
The vast majority of young Christian ladies desire to get married, and once the men in the church are taken, the remaining women will either stay single, marry Christian men who don’t attend church, or marry non-Christian men.
—- end quotes —
As I’ve said many times before, I gave up on the “equally yoked” teaching at some point in my forties, which is what the author is alluding to at one point in that concluding paragraph.
If you’re a single Christian woman (as for me, I’m not sure what my religious beliefs are currently), and you’d like to marry, you will absolutely have to decide what men to date and marry based on things like their personality and how well it matches yours, how well they treat you, and so forth.
You cannot and should not use only “is the man in question a devout Christian” as your dating or marriage criteria.
You will absolutely have to give up on the fantasy of meeting and marrying “Mr. Christian Right,” or the idea that God will send you a Christian spouse, no matter how many of those “God sent me my spouse” stories you read about.
Those sorts of stories periodically pop up in Christian magazines and blog posts by professional Christian publications, and they are also (Link): unrealistic and give younger singles false hope.
A lot of single adults follow all of the Christian community’s advice and strategy on how to get married, (Link): including prayer, but (Link): in spite of following all the Christian advice, that spouse never, ever arrives.
If you’re a single and want to get married, you will have to take steps to make it happen, whether it’s joining and trying a dating site (not that those are an absolute guarantee to work), or, you may have to ask friends to set you up with eligible single men, or go out more often, to night clubs, bars, or wherever – or try a combination of these strategies.
But sitting around in prayer and hoping God just “leads you to” or “sends you” a spouse won’t happen – certainly not for the majority of singles
(I have several posts on my blog where adult singles detailed how they prayed, three, four, or more decades for a spouse, but are now in middle-age or older and never did get married.)
And like I said, if you’re a Christian single lady who’d like to get married, you have to be willing to date and marry a Non-Christian, as that will raise your chances more.
I did not say, nor do I believe, that all Non-Christian singles are great or perfect – that is not my point.
My point is if you want to increase your chances of getting married, you will have to get rid of the “I will only date and marry another Christian, never a Non-Christian” mindset (i.e., known as the “equally yoked” or “don’t be unequally yoked” rule in most Christian circles).
But I’m not even saying doing so will be a total guarantee of getting married; you may very well date non-Christians for months on end and still remain single; but it’s worth a shot.
Stop expecting to find a plethora of decent, Christian single men around your age at most churches; ain’t gonna happen.
I do commend Green for at least noticing that there is a gender imbalance going on in the church, with the single women out-numbering the men, and how this is very bad for the single women who’d like to marry, but beyond that, I didn’t find a lot I agreed with in his essay.
You may wish to check out my links below, under “Related Posts,” or use the search feature on this blog to look up more posts, because I’ve been running this blog for YEARS now and have been blogging about these topics and ones pertaining to them for a long time now.
(I’ve not been blogging as much the past couple of years, though, or not steadily and consistently. But there’s plenty of content here already for anyone who’s new to this blog.)
This post has been edited several times after publication to add more comments and a few links
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women– via CT, by Gina Dalfonzo