As I travel the country, nothing I say creates more controversy than this: men would benefit from shorter, simpler sermons. In my Go for the Guys Sunday Action Plan, I advocate a one-point sermon, ten minutes in length, built around an object lesson.
A recently released study seems to have blown a hole in one of the central premises of my book: that women are more verbal than men, which makes gals more comfortable in our wordy churches.
Second Chance Church in Peoria, Illinois, a church that publicly and unashamedly targets men, is growing. Pastor Mark Doebler concludes his worship services with something he calls The Men’s Huddle. At the end every service, “Coach Mark” calls the men forward for that week’s game plan. Here’s what Coach Mark has to say about the huddle:
“I must be honest…there are times that you have an idea and you know immediately in your heart that you just have to run with it. The huddle was not one of those ideas! I had a strong suspicion that it might just come off as cheesy, or hokey….I don’t care for either. But, in the spirit of an entrepreneur, I decided to give it a try.
Churches and universities are having trouble attracting men for the same reason: both are in the business of dispensing precious knowledge in a classroom setting. Today, fewer men are in the market for this type of experience, which they find boring and irrelevant to their lives.
Lots of men perceive the church to be a women’s thing. So they avoid it. On the other hand, lots of women perceive the church to be a men’s thing. So they flock to it.
We live among the world’s largest unreached people group — men. Guys have their own needs, expectations and culture. They speak a different language. Yet today’s Christians do almost nothing to make the gospel comprehensible to them. On the contrary, many of the terms we toss about in our churches have turned Christianity into a puzzle for men.
Have you noticed how many church programs are built around a school paradigm? We offer adult classes, seminars, Sunday school, Bible Studies, etc. The centerpiece of our worship is a lecture (sermon) from an educated person with a seminary degree. Christianity has become an educational pursuit. The path to Christ now leads through a classroom.