Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Is your church male friendly?

A very interesting thing happens across America each Sunday. The coffee maker brews a fresh pot, and the kitchen is bustling with activity. Mothers scurry to comb unruly mobs of hair, find missing shoes and get the kids ready as they head off to church, alone. They leave their bathrobe-clad husbands behind to watch the ball game or sleep in.

Some guys have a regular tee time setup on Sundays with their friends while the rest of the family attends church. Why is that? Are men not as spiritually connected as women? Are there too many distractions on Sundays for men to be pulled away from their recliners and big screens?

I am not sure about the first question, there are times when the playoffs roll around when I will stay home and get the bratwurst ready for kickoff. Then Tony Romo throws three interceptions, and next week I am back at church. However, there is another question to ask; are most of today's churches men friendly?

Something is keeping men away from America's churches. In evangelical circles, women make up 53% of church attendees. Those figures are from Pew Research, but I have seen many churches where the women outnumber the men two or three to one.

The church I attend has a pretty good mix of men and women, young couples, singles, seniors and kids. I think that is why it is growing. Some churches I have visited are attended by mostly elderly women with a few men sprinkled through the pews. I cannot help to think these churches are not going to be around in a generation.

Many churches today have an almost feminine character to them. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, that compassionate, caring, empathizing, relation-based emotion is part and parcel of who Christ wants us to be. However, there is another side of a church's character that cannot be left out. This side is where men can find that connection they seem to be lacking. This side is all about strength, service, action, fellowship, being a better man, husband, father, oh, and a lot of fun. That's right, I said fun.

Having just returned from our men's retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I can attest that church can indeed be fun. If it doesn't kill you that is. Fat guys should not play 9 games of outdoor volleyball, work out with weights, and play relay games for a few hours if you have not laced up your cross trainers in few months. After a dangerous amount of Ibuprofen, I was walking again and able to enjoy the second day.

Your church may not have a specific Men's ministry, or you have tried it in the past and it kind of withered away. Please try again. Men need to feel they have place in their local church where they are free to be men. Keep the grunting and scratching to a minimum, but guys like to do guy stuff. We are planning a day at the River Cats, trap shooting, indoor cart racing and we try to have a men's breakfast with a non-cardiologist approved menu each month.

What ever it takes to get that new guy plugged in. I have made some great friends through church. Friends who are helping me become a better father, husband and person. I continue to be a work in progress, but finding a safe place to connect with other guys who share the common goal of being the best person they can be is priceless.

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