I hope the title today didn’t scare off the women! This post is not in any way about denigrating, demeaning or neglecting women; quite the opposite!
Churches in general, for about the last 40 to 45 years in the US have appealed more to women than to men, and the result has been that women are significantly more likely to attend church regularly than men are. Yes, of course there are exceptions to this, and we are trying to be one of those exceptions.
If you are a man, and I’d like to think I qualify for this, what do you think about the way your church looks, and the things they do there? (The one I am attending is very feminine) How would it appear to a man who had never been there before? Is it decorated in pastels, lots of flowers, and lots of things that appear feminine? How will a typical man there for the first time feel about this? Particularly in a rural farming community?
Is he comfortable right away with his surroundings, or might he feel even more out-of-place? Now throw in a sermon of love, how is he doing now?
Most churches never think about this, and they wonder why families in the church do not include a father in attendance in disproportional percentages… Here’s the problem with this: When a new family comes into a church, if the church appeals to the wife, but turns the husband off, and the wife decides to attend, the husband stays home. The wife brings the kids with her, until they are around 12, and then they stay home with Dad. The wife’s involvement in church means that Dad is watching the kids, and sometimes doing things that the wife usually does, and often this leads to friction between them. Church mustn’t be a source of friction in a marriage!
Now, take the same scenario again, only this time, church appeals to the husband, and he decides he likes it. Every Sunday he brings the whole family. The kids will be in church until they grow up and move out on their own, and maybe they will continue in church. Both husband and wife are involved, and church activity is not a source of friction in the marriage.
Which is better?
Once again, it all comes down to seeing things the way a visitor sees them, for the benefit of all concerned. FCC has some work to do in this area when possible. So do most other churches. It is easy to fix, and will have profound impact going forward, and many churches would be surprised at how many young men will volunteer for ministry if they aren’t pushed away.
This is also something that the leaders need to keep in mind when ideas for new activities come along: Will it advance the vision, and will it push men away or draw them into community?
Next time, let’s talk about culture!