Let’s think now about the more personal issues that a man faces. Sure, there will be a façade that most men construct that says, “Hey, I’m doing just great” but behind that there is often a much more raw reality. Many men are really wrestling with issues such as sexual temptation (Channel 4 and 5 after 9pm and the Internet), serious debt, failure at work, family communication breakdown, rage and anger etc., yet too often we never touch on these matters, preferring to handle only safe subjects such as parenting, studying the Bible, or tithing.
If we don’t get real in church we won’t get men.
How about a seminar for men on a regular basis that tackles issues such as: “Overcoming addiction to pornography and masturbation” (you might not want to give that title but let’s hit the issue because a significant percentage of men who are in church will be seriously struggling with it). Or how about: “Dealing with rage”, “Handling your debt” or “When promotion passes you by”? Let’s engage the men with some solid Bible-based teaching and let them see that being a Christian isn’t for wimps but for those who have real guts and courage.
Let’s also briefly think about the culture of church:
- We talk of Jesus being our lover when men want a leader and a captain.
- We talk of surrender and going on retreat which carries connotations of defeat (and is only mentioned in the Bible in those terms!) But, men will bend the knee and submit to a higher authority!
- The language of personal devotion time, the “quiet time” is a passive term not suited to those with testosterone. (Perhaps we can keep the principle but recast the language?)
- Men don’t like to get too close too soon yet we think it really helpful to break into small groups or say “grace” whilst looking into each others eyes.
- Men want leadership whilst the church provides pastoring.
- Men love to declare objective truth about God and yet we sing about our feelings.
- Men want to be challenged yet we wrap the gospel up in fluff.
- Whenever we speak of church we think instinctively of the Sunday meeting not what happens in the rest of the week.
- Most church websites feature activities for children and use religious jargon. A male turn off.
- Most church decoration is childish or female.
- Teaching styles tend to favour the female psyche.
I’m scratching the surface and you may find cause to disagree with some of what I suggest … but hopefully it will get us all thinking!?