Author Tells Women-Oriented Churches How to Get Men Back
- 2005 19 Apr
A Christian author says churches need to do a better job when it comes to responding to the needs and gifts of men. In his book, "Why Men Hate Going to Church" (Nelson Books, 2005), David Murrow asserts that churches are designed to appeal to their greatest constituency – women.
Murrow says churches need to challenge men to live out their faith boldly and according to their strengths. But instead, he contends, "Most of our volunteer opportunities in a local church involve traditionally feminine roles -- childcare, teaching, singing, cooking, planning for gatherings – [so typically there is] not a lot for men to do in a local church."
And, the author points out, as a result many men are not coming to church. He cites statistics showing that more than 20 percent of married women attend church without their husbands. And while church leadership is often male, studies show that women make up the backbone of most churches, representing more than 60 percent of membership and an even larger percentage of the volunteer force.
In his book, Murrow addresses the question of why the phenomena of male absence or disengagement from church is happening. He believes a major reason is that many churches have a concept of Christianity that is based on a feminine model. For instance, he notes, "The ideal values of a Christian are often identified as nurturing, verbal expression, tenderness, gentleness. If that's the definition of a Christian, it's going to be a lot harder for a man to achieve that than for a woman to, in most cases."
Still, the Christian writer cites studies indicating that men want an authentic faith experience but find churches boring and irrelevant. In "Why Men Hate Going to Church," he suggests ways to address this problem.
"We have to give men opportunities to use their strengths and their gifts in the service of God instead of trying to squeeze them into roles that they feel are feminine or emasculating," Murrow says. "We need to start valuing masculine traits such as aggression, boldness, and competitiveness and figuring out ways that we can integrate that into every area of church life."
Also, Murrow asserts that churches need to "recover the masculinity of Jesus." The author says Jesus as described in scripture was and is "a very bold, aggressive character, but we [in the modern Church] have turned him into a wimp – and men don't follow wimps. They follow leaders." Through his book, Murrow hopes to encourage churches to recapture the adventure of following Christ.
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