Chattering womenThere may be a biological link between gender and talkativeness.

Scientists have identified a protein in the brain that is associated with speech and vocalization. Turns out that females have about 30% more of the protein than men do.

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Thanks to this difference in brain chemistry, women would seem more likely to men to thrive in any highly verbal environment. And the modern church is just such an environment.

Most church experiences are word-driven. Protestants are people of the Word. The centerpiece of Protestant worship is the sermon, a nonstop torrent of words. We place high value on reading, studying and speaking.

If you want to become a big shot in church, you must be a talker. Churches are led by pastors, who are talkative by definition. In small groups, the person who can best articulate his or her ideas gains the most respect.

It’s natural that some men would feel intimidated (or inept) in such a talk-driven environment. Many men simply haven’t got the type of brain that thrives in a wordy domain.

So what’s the alternative? Men need to see the gospel as well as hear it. Guys think (and remember) in pictures.

Jesus often used visuals when he taught – wheat, coins, sheep, etc. Many of today’s most effective Gospel communicators are rediscovering the power of visual communication.

Now, am I saying that men don’t want to talk? Not at all. Ask anyone who ministers to guys: create the right environment and you can’t shut men up. Men enjoy give-and-take, salty debate and humor. They also tend to play follow-the-leader: when one man has the courage to open up in a small group, the others often follow.

On the other hand, men tend to clam up in the presence of strangers or women. It often takes a while for their brains to warm up to talking. That’s why the conversations are sweeter on the last night of the men’s retreat.

That’s enough for now. I’m tired of talking.