Fifty ways to make your church more appealing to men

  • In September 2011 I released a revised version of my first book, Why Men Hate Going to Church. I boiled down some of the book’s main recommendations into a checklist.


    Front door experience:

    • Maintain your buildings and grounds
    • Put men in the parking lot to help park cars
    • One layer of greeters (don’t be too friendly)
    • Lots of signs so men don’t have to ask directions

    Worship service:

    • Keep the focus on God – not the family
    • Minimize dead time between elements
    • Do something unexpected
    • Add humor or an element of fun
    • Good lighting and sound so people can easily see and hear


    • Remove the “old lady” stuff: quilts, felt banners, needlepoint, etc.
    • Remove lace and flowers from communion table.
    • Remove bulletin boards and “kindergarten classroom” collages from interior walls
    • Decide if religious symbols in the sanctuary help or hinder
    • Decorate with guys in mind. Should look more like Cabela’s than Aunt Polly’s parlor.

    Give men space:

    • Do not ask the congregation to hold hands
    • Do not ask everyone to hug everyone else
    • Discourage “prayer mushrooms”


    • Keep pastoral prayers short
    • Avoid showy “prayer-speak” when praying in church
    • Avoid “vain repetitions” in public prayers
    • Instead of taking live prayer requests, offer one-on-one prayer after the service


    • Quality is vital. Don’t attempt more than your musicians can deliver
    • Choose songs that convey respect to God
    • Avoid wimpy “love songs to Jesus”
    • Avoid more than 3 repeats of any chorus
    • Select a key the baritones can sing
    • Help the worship leader “man-up”

    A pastor who relates well to men will:

    • Talk like a regular guy (avoid “preacher-speak”)
    • Do man stuff and talk about it during the message
    • Choose metaphors and stories men can relate to
    • Take firm but gracious stands on theology and moral issues
    • Be judicious about emotive displays


    • Shorter is almost always better. Say it and be done.
    • Share personal stories of your struggles as a man
    • Avoid feminine metaphors (such as “fall in love with Jesus”)
    • Preach one-point sermons
    • Issue a clear call to action at the end of the service (the pastor’s challenge)
    • Build sermon around great illustrations
    • Use video clips to illustrate
    • Bring a physical object into the pulpit and build sermon around it
    • Call men forward for a 3-minute “men’s huddle” at the end of the service

    Honor men’s time:

    • Start and end the service on time
    • If something goes long, cut something else on the fly
    • For services more than 90 minutes, offer an intermission or an opportunity to “get-up-and-go” so men don’t feel trapped

    Sunday school:

    • Bury the name “Sunday school”
    • Abandon the classroom method in favor of a more kinetic one
    • Place boys with male teachers
    • Don’t ask boys to read aloud
    • Use a boy-friendly curriculum with hands-on learning
    • Use professionally produced videos to help teach spiritual truths
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    March 16th, 2011 | David Murrow | 5 Comments |

About The Author

David Murrow

David Murrow is the director of Church for Men, an organization that helps congregations reach more men and boys. In his day job, David works as a television producer and writer. He's the author of four books. He lives in Alaska with his wife, three children, three grandchildren and a dachshund named Pepper.

  • Lynn

    I’m a woman and I love this list. Keep the focus on God. Get to the point.

  • Tammy

    Me too!!! Esp. all the hand holding and hugging!!! Although I think it sould be a balence so not to go so far as to have women feel like they don’t belong either. But almost 100% of the list would make everyone happier!!!

  • Parsifal

    I agree with almost everything on that list. I’d go one step further and get rid of 90% of the ‘worship’ songs out there – most are fluff even if they aren’t ‘fall in love with Jesus’ songs. I also think it’s important to have men and aspiring men (aka Boys) read the scriptures. And also, I’d get rid of all those self-improvement sermons. Joel Olsteen has no place in my house! I’ll take McArthur, J.I. Packer, and John Piper over most of the popular ‘preachers’ out there today.

  • S_hughes

    Finally finished reading your first book. Challenging to say the least. As a southern traditionalist but reaching toward the future of church, it has certainly given much food for thought. Hope to revamp somethings in an effort to reach men for Christ and my sons to remain in the faith.

  • David Murrow

    Thank you. I am working on a revised version of WHY MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH that will be out in September. It’s a whole bunch of new food for thought.