Why are there so few men in the church?Though not true of every church, worldwide proportionally more women attend church than do men. Many theories have been proposed to account for this "gender gap."
Some researchers believe men are more reticent to attend church because the Christian faith teaches humility, holiness, introspection, and submissiveness—all antithetical to the stereotypical macho characteristics of manliness.
Others suggest that men are more naturally self-reliant, proud, and not willing to show their feelings than are women. Thus, the theory goes, they are not attracted to institutions that teach the divine call to give up control and trust in God.
Others say that church décor, while often calming and peaceful, is too often overly feminine. Sometimes churches, noting the underrepresented men, change to a darker, more robust décor. Other say that the songs or church events are too sentimental or stereotypically feminine. Some churches attempt to lure men in by offering events such as fishing, shooting, sports trips, team clubs and sports, and such.
Others posit that men, who have historically been the primary breadwinners, have been too busy with work or with enjoying their day off to commit to a local church.
Historically, as less men have attended church, less boys have had the role model of a man who attends church; they are thus more likely to not attend church either. This creates a downward spiraling trend.
Those who study the Bible point out that this isn't a recent phenomenon. Many women supported Jesus and His disciples during their ministry (Luke 8:3). Many women, also, followed Jesus right to His crucifixion (Matthew 27:55). These women included Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. It was a group of women who discovered the tomb empty on the first Easter morning (Luke 24:22).
Becoming a follower of Jesus requires risk, purpose, self-denial, and humility. These are hard transformations that require a certain strength and boldness. When a church teaches a soft gospel, a relationship with Jesus that requires little or nothing, it is stealing the very heart of the good news away and not attracting men and women who need to hear it. Decades ago, preacher Charles Spurgeon warned against such a false gospel: "There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop."
Churches need to preach and teach the strong, bold, adventurous truth of the Bible: God requires everything and offers you more! Follow Jesus and gain eternity! Both women and men need to hear this truth.
Men, especially, should be taught about the strong men of the Bible such as Moses, Elijah, Peter, and others. The Bible is filled with examples of godly men to emulate. God's truth is what will draw men to church.
Faith in Jesus is not a crutch. It is not something only women need. Jesus is the ultimate Man—strong and powerful, gentle and loving, gracious and merciful, ruler of all, mighty King, Suffering Servant, willing Savior, conqueror of sin and death, Lord. Every human being—man or woman—needs Jesus. When the truth of the gospel is presented in a clear manner, men and women alike will respond.
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