He was a small man, sitting in the third row, arms folded. He listened attentively as I gave my presentation of “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” When I asked for questions from the audience, his hand was the first one up.
“David, I appreciate what Church for Men is trying to do,” he said, with a slight tremor in his voice. “We definitely need more men and boys in church. But I think you’re going about it all wrong. You’ve spent the last 40 minutes telling us to sing manlier songs and to take the fresh flowers off the altar, but is that really the key to bringing men to Christ?” He paused for just a moment, and before I could answer he continued. “When I was saved I didn’t care about the quilted banners on the walls, I was undone by the love of God. We need prayer. We need biblical preaching. We need the Spirit. All this stuff about stopping the hugs and manning up the music doesn’t really matter.”
On the one hand, I completely agreed with this man. If the Spirit of God is moving in a church, nothing else matters. Truth is, if God is moving in a church, then it wouldn’t matter if a church was decorated with Hello Kitty posters; men would be drawn to Christ.
I also agree that if a church wants to grow, its spiritual climate is much more important than practical concerns. Prayer, discipleship, teaching, service, humility and love are all more important than paint color.
Yet practical things do matter.
In the early 1800s, Two missionaries left England for the jungles of Africa. The first missionary built an English style church, preached in English and imposed an English-style dress code on his African congregation. The second missionary built a church that resembled a local gathering house. He preached in the native language and allowed people to dress as they pleased.
I don’t have to tell you which church succeeded – and which one failed.
Both men were powerful preachers. Both were men of prayer. Both presented the gospel every week. Yet the second missionary reached many more people because he got the practical things right. He did not modify the gospel of Christ; he simply presented it in a way his hearers understood.
Once again, the spiritual is always more important than the practical. But the practical things do matter.
Your congregation’s spiritual climate is your responsibility. Church for Men wants to show you how to get the practical things right, so you can become missionaries to the world’s largest unreached people group: men.