Tuesday, December 9, 2008
"The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus' strong leadership, blunt honesty, and bold action mesmerized men."
"But today's churches appeal more to women and folks over 50."
Males in church are perceived, right or wrong, as passive, bookish, soft, nice, well-behaved, neutered wimps.
David Murrow has written an absolute must-read book for all churches interested in bringing men back, restoring a proper balance of the masculine and feminine spirits within the local church, creating an environment in which men will lovingly take charge, thrive, grow and be soldiers again in the Lord's army.
I don't consider myself a type-A personality. I'm pretty laid-back, studious and love going to church. I've love fellowshipping with God's people. I'm not a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that gets distracted after 10 minutes of a sermon. I don't need the constant stimulus of entertainment to hold my interest, but I found myself burning with a `holy anger' reading this book, mostly at myself for how `feminine' I've allowed myself to become over the years. And please, no more `Jesus is my boyfriend' songs !!
Two other men I know have been deeply affected to the positive by this book and are absolutely fired up about restoring the masculine spirit in their lives as well as their local church. One of them told me recently "I'm hanging up my skirt - not going to wear it anymore."
David is not advocating a bombastic, abusive male domination of our churches. Don't panic ladies, but let men be men. We were created to lead and contribute. "Most men will not invest themselves in anything that does not offer a shot at greatness. Boys do not dream of sitting in a cubicle; they dream of slaying the dragon, rescuing the princess, and absconding with the treasure." The church thermostat, to attract men, must be set on Challenge, not Comfort, Ceremony, Control, Conformity or Confrontation.
It's going to take courage to change the way we do church, if we want to reach unchurched men. Some won't for fear of change that will upset the status quo. Others will find that they will have to leave their churches rather than settle for living lives of quiet desperation. "Men need vision, not just relationships, to stay motivated in church."
One of the most stunning but encouraging statistics was that between 1994-2004, men's church attendance was flat, but men's participation in small, spiritual groups doubled. 9 million additional men joined a small group Bible study. Some folks are finding the traditional church model is not cutting it and have opted instead for a more informal but intense, iron sharpening iron, discipleship format.
Biblical references aside, wolves have a noble bearing, look intelligent, focused, and yes, even a bit 'dangerous'. Labrador retrievers, on the other hand, tend to be gentle, passive, friendly and harmless. And then you have the 'foo-foo' dogs that women dress up in pink sweaters and skirts... 'nough said.
I can't recommend this book enough.
Oh yeah, the name of the book: Why Men Hate Going To Church, by David Murrow [Nelson, 2005]