Men are not spiritually lazy, as some have suggested. Men want to serve God. The problem is the modern church does not need men’s gifts, or holds them in contempt, equating them with sin. What if Mary had viewed the gifts of the wise men this way?
Wise man: Greetings! We bring you gifts from the East.
Mary: OK, whatcha got?
Wise man: Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Mary: Phew! I’ll take the gold, but you can keep that smelly stuff.
This is how the church treats men. We love men’s gold, but we have no use for their smelly stuff. Competition? Goal orientation? Performance? Power? These things stink up the church! I challenge you to answer this question: how might a man use these kinds of gifts in the local church? Your brain probably hurts just thinking about it.
Because the church does not need men’s gifts, they feel rejected. George Barna interviewed Al Perkins, a nominal churchgoer:
When you reject the things I stand for—excellence, strategic thinking, progress, efficiency, vision, controlled risks, bottom-line performance—you reject me. I used to take it personally, but I’ve minimized the anger by making my church involvement less of a priority.
John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus warns, “Not to be needed is slow death for a man.” You kill a man’s spirit when you reject his gifts. So how can we make men feel needed again?
- Tell them! In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo stumbled many times on his journey to Mordor, but the words of Lady Galadriel kept him going: “This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.” Men need to hear a similar message when they come to church: We need you desperately. God has a sacred role just for you, and if you do not do your part all is lost. Think of the men in your congregation. Do they know how important they are? Has anyone ever told them? Have the women of your church ever hosted a dinner for the men to let them know how needed they are?
- Expand ministry into areas where men have expertise. Does your church offer any “male oriented” ministries? Why not work on cars? One Illinois church has an on-site auto repair facility for single mothers and the working poor. Even a small church can offer free oil changes in the church parking lot once a quarter. Use men’s talents and watch them get fired up.
- Take an inventory of your own gifts, then think of creative ways to deploy them for God’s kingdom. Encourage others to do the same. Refuse to take a job you feel unqualified or uncalled to perform no matter how worthy the cause or urgent the need.