Church for Men is an organization dedicated to helping the local church reach more men and boys. At Church for Men, our focus is not male dominance, but male resurgence.
And we recognize that women are strong allies in this quest.
Why? Because Christian women want men — active, committed men — in church:
- Married women want their husbands to attend church and to connect with Christian men when they do.
- Women with sons want their sons to have male role models in church…and not just pastors, youth leaders, worship leaders, and other men who are on staff at the church.
All women who love their church and want to see it thrive want more men in that church. Why? The presence of enthusiastic men is one of the surest predictors of church health, growth, giving, and expansion. Meanwhile, a man shortage is a sure sign of congregational paralysis and decline.
If you are a woman who is concerned about men and church — or if you simply want to understand the men in your life a little better — then you’ve come to the right place. This page has the information and resources that you seek.
Why Men Hate Going to Church
Why do so few men attend church regularly? Why do so many men who do attend seem passive, bored, or out-of-place?
Look at it from a sociological perspective. What behaviors do men avoid? What venues make men uncomfortable? Men avoid behaviors and venues that might call their manhood into question. For example, men don’t go to baby showers, fabric stores, or “chick flicks.” And many men believe, deep in their hearts, that church is a women’s thing. It just doesn’t resonate with them.
How can men think this? Isn’t church male-dominated? If you’re speaking of professional clergy, then yes, the church is male-dominated. The governing boards of some congregations remain men-only. But almost every other area of church life is dominated by women. Armies of women.
And a church often projects the message that it is a warm, nurturing environment where everyone feels loved and accepted. We gather. We worship. We love each other. We sing. We instruct children. We comfort the hurting.
Why does this turn off many men? As John Eldredge wrote, men are wild at heart. Though men see the goodness of the Christian faith, they are not swept up in it because church life is so soft and sweet. The cautious, sensitive culture of today’s church fails to match the adventurous spirit found in most men.
The signals we send to men
Every Sunday, without even realizing it, we send subtle signals to guys: you are in feminine territory.
The signals start in Sunday school. Think of the pictures of Jesus you saw as a child. Didn’t they suggest a tender, sweet man in a shining white dress? As our boys grow up, whom will they choose as a role model: gentle Jesus, meek and mild, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action hero? The irony here is that the real Jesus is the ultimate hero, bold and courageous as any man alive, but we’ve turned him into a wimp.
There are signals in the sanctuary. Let’s say a common working stiff named Nick visits your church. What’s the first thing Nick sees? Fresh flowers on the altar. Soft, cushiony pews with boxes of Kleenex underneath. Neutral carpet abutting lavender walls, adorned with quilted banners (or worse: Thomas Kinkade paintings). Honestly, how do we expect Nick to connect with God in a space that feels so feminine?
Nick looks around at other men. Some are obviously there against their will, dragged by a wife or mother. Others are softies. Research finds that men who are interested in Christianity are less masculine than average; seminarians also exhibit more feminine characteristics than the typical male. Even the vocabulary of churchgoing men is softer. Christian men use terms such as precious, share, and relationship, words you’d never hear on the lips of a typical man.
The signals keep coming during the service. Nick may be asked to hold hands with his neighbor. He may be asked to sing a love song to Christ, such as, “Lord, You’re Beautiful,” or “Jesus, I am so in love with You.” Someone may weep. Then Nick will have his male attention span put to the test by a monologue sermon. When this torture test is finally over, Nick is invited to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Let’s spend a moment on that last one: a personal relationship with Jesus. That phrase never appears in the Bible. Yet in the past 50 years it’s become the number one way the evangelical church describes the Christian walk. It’s turned the gospel into a puzzle for men, because most guys don’t think in terms of relationships. Let’s say Lenny approaches Nick and says, “Nick, would you like to have a personal relationship with me?” Yuck! Men don’t talk or think like this, yet we’ve wrapped the gospel in this man-repellent package.
The signals keep coming: Nick comes alive outdoors, but 99% of church life takes place indoors. Nick was never much of a student, but taking classes, reading the Bible, and studying books are presented as cornerstones of a living faith. He lacks the verbal skills to pray aloud, or to sit in a circle and share his feelings.
Let’s say Nick makes it through this minefield and decides to volunteer. The typical church needs people to care for infants, to teach children and youth, to sing, to cook meals, to serve on committees, and to usher. Given that list, where do you think Nick will sign up? Somewhere in church history, most of the masculine roles were discarded (or assigned to professional clergy), while roles for laywomen multiplied. Today, Christian service revolves around tasks that women have traditionally performed. Men want to serve God, but many feel ill-prepared or even emasculated by the ministry opportunities we’re offering them.
The feminine atmosphere in our churches causes women to feel loved and nurtured, but men to feel hesitant and restrained. The only men who can function in this feminine milieu are those who happen to be particularly sensitive, verbal, dutiful, or studious. The more masculine the man, the more alienated he feels in the modern congregation.
If you want to see your church change to reach more men, then check out the book Why Men Hate Going to Church. It offers more than 60 pages of practical ideas for bringing a healthy, life-giving masculine spirit to your congregation.
How Women Help Men Find God
Here’s an excerpt from How Women Help Men Find God:
Michelangelo captured the relationship between man and his Maker on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. A holy God, surrounded by angels, stretches down from heaven to touch the finger of Adam. Meanwhile the man reclines, nonchalantly extending a single digit toward his Creator.
Why is it so hard to get men to lift a finger for God?
The problem isn’t atheism. Nine out of ten men in the U.S. believe in God.1 Five out of six men claim to be Christians.2 Even irreligious men have a high regard for Jesus Christ and His teachings. But these days it’s hard to find a man who puts Jesus first—while it seems like Christian women are as common as boots at a rodeo.
You love Jesus. And you love your men. Naturally, you’d like them to meet. You want your men to know the peace, joy, and contentment that come from an abiding relationship with the Lord.
But these precious men don’t seem too interested. Why is it that only preachers, worship leaders, and a few laymen really get it when it comes to following Christ? What can you do to help the men you love find the Man you love?
Plenty. Women can help men find God. It happens all the time. In fact, research shows that women often play a pivotal role in leading wayward men back to their heavenly Father.3
But too often, women’s efforts come up short. Women pray daily for the men they love, but nothing happens. They spend years developing their sons’ spiritual lives, only to see them forget Jesus during their teens. Their witness to male colleagues falls flat. Single women search in vain for godly men.
Then, a glimmer of hope: Bubba finally gets off the couch and slips into a pew. You pray like mad, but from the opening hymn it’s a total disaster. He feels as out of place as a penguin in the Sahara Desert. His visit reinforces the common male notion: church just isn’t for me.
This book is not How to Make Any Man Become a Christian in Three Easy Steps. Think of it as a Rosetta stone, a key to understanding the mysterious, frustrating, and surprising spiritual lives of the other half of the human race.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to fulfill Jesus’ call: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
To get your autographed copy of How Women Help Men Find God, click here.
1. The Gallup Poll, May 2–4, 2004, as cited on www.galluppoll.com. Ninety percent of respondents claimed belief in God. Only four percent claimed not to. This number has remained virtually unchanged over the past seventy years. Women are slightly more likely to answer in the affirmative than men.
2. Barna Research Online, “Women are the Backbone of Christian Congregations in America,” 6 March 2000, www.barna.org. 83 percent of men polled claimed to be Christians.
3. Thom S. Rainer, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 83. Rainer found that “wives were the most influential in reaching the unchurched.”
What Your Husband Isn't Telling You
“What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You” catalogs the many secrets men keep from their wives. For instance, if your husband is typical:
- He wants to be more honest with you, but you often become angry when he tells you how he’s really feeling. Many wives train their husbands to conceal the truth from them.
- He’s happiest when he’s competent and in control of a situation.
- He is at his core a protector and provider. These are the two roles Adam assumed at the fall of man and your husband wants desperately to succeed in these two roles
- He and his friends compare wives. And the man with the best looking wife wins.
- He’s afraid to admit weaknesses or fears, especially to you.
- He keeps a sexual scrapbook filled with images and memories. Most men would love to be rid of this scrapbook.
- At work he’s a genius. At home he’s a dunce.
- If he shares his true feelings with his guy friends he’ll be ridiculed.
- He’s tired of being seen as 100% of the problem in your marriage.
- He experiences God more fully outdoors than he does in a church building.
- The key to his sexual enjoyment is your enjoyment. If you’re having a good time, he’s having a good time.
- He hates having to read your mind. Tell him clearly what you want, and then be happy when you get it.
- He feels unappreciated at home.
- He’s less excited about church than you are. He feels that you are the expert in religious matters, and he’d rather defer to you.
Let’s go back to that first one: many wives train their husbands to conceal the truth from them. When I share this with women they are shocked. Yet it’s true. Here’s how it happens.
Men learn as children to hide their true emotions. Five-year-old Patrick falls off his bicycle and skins his knee. The pain is so intense he starts to cry. His friends gather around him and start taunting. “Crybaby!” they yell. Patrick learns to keep his true feelings inside.
At age 15, Patrick is sitting with friends in the school cafeteria. He says, “Hey guys, I’m struggling with some fears. Can I share my heart with you?” Patrick is quickly laughed out of the room. He learns to keep is true feelings inside.
At age 25, Patrick is married. He says to his wife, “There’s a woman at work who is flirting with me. I want to stay faithful to you honey, but I’ve got to admit I’m struggling.”
How does she respond? Silence. Pouting. Depression. Even threat of divorce. The minimum sentence is a night on the sofa. Patrick learns to keep his true feelings inside.
Does this really happen? Just ask your husband, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Observe the terror in his eyes as he calculates the damage to his marriage if he tells you the truth.
Imagine you’re housebreaking a puppy. Every time he soils the rug he gets a swat. But if he does his business outside you lavish rewards on him. Eventually the puppy does what he’s trained to do—not because he wants to, but because it’s the only way to avoid punishment.
Now, imagine you’re training a husband. Every time he tells you the absolute truth he gets a swat. But when he conceals his true feelings, you lavish rewards on him. Eventually he begins carefully managing what he tells you—not because he wants to, but because it’s the only way to avoid punishment.
When you penalize your man each time he reveals his true feelings, here’s the message you are sending: “If you want your life to be hell, tell me the truth. But if you want things to go smoothly, lie to me. Tell me only those things that won’t upset me.”
Don’t misunderstand: I am not blaming women for every communication glitch in marriage. Husbands do the same things to wives. I know women who can’t tell their husbands the truth because they’re afraid their men will explode. Women suffer too. I get it.
I’m simply asking you to open your eyes to the possibility that you are contributing to your husband’s silence. You may have unwittingly trained him to hide his true heart from you.
So how can you unlock your husband’s true heart? Make him this promise: “I will never punish you for telling me the truth. Even if you say, “I’m having an affair,” I will not retaliate in anger.”
What? How can a woman NOT get mad if her husband says he’s having an affair?
Of course, you have every right to be furious if he admits to infidelity. You even have a right to divorce him (Matt. 5:32).
You’re not giving him a pass to do whatever he wants – you’re promising to hear what he has to say—without shutting him down.
Weeks or months may pass. Then one day he’ll take a chance.
“Sweetheart, can we talk about your weight? It’s bothering me.”
“I’ve been thinking about quitting my job to pursue my dream.”
“Let’s talk about how we discipline the kids.”
“I’d like to spice up our sex life by trying some new things.”
“I’m feeling unsupported at home.”
These are not fighting words – they’re your husband’s true feelings.
At that moment you’ll have a decision to make. You can erupt in anger and shut him out. You can descend into a depression for having failed yet again. You can go into the bedroom and pout.
Or you can calmly listen to what he has to say. Thank him. Hear his concerns and take them to God in prayer. Do what you can to meet his needs.
So there’s your precious key – if you really want to know what your husband is thinking, learn to receive the truth with grace. Hear what he has to say without punishing him.
To order an autographed copy of What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You, click here.
What About My Sons?
Sandra raised three boys. She took them to Sunday school every week. Vacation Bible School was a highlight of their summer. She drove the lads back and forth to youth group. She sacrificed time and money to send them to Christian camps. Sandra even helped finance a mission trip to Mexico.
Today, Sandra’s sons are young adults. Not one of them goes to church. There’s no sign of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
At least seven out of 10 boys who are raised in church abandon it during their teens and twenties. If it weren’t for marriage and wives to drag them back, many of these men would be lost for good.
What’s wrong with boys?
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with our young men. Maybe they’re falling away because of the way we’re raising them in the faith. Could our Sunday schools and youth groups be unintentionally setting up boys for failure?
Think of what takes place in a Sunday school classroom. The successful young Christian must be able to:
- Sit still
- Read aloud
If this is what we expect of young churchgoers, girls will outperform boys almost every time. Boys absolutely hate to lose, but it happens every week in church. By the age of 10 we’ve convinced most boys that they’re not cut out for church. High testosterone, athletic boys feel particularly out-of-place.
Those boys who are still in church at age 13 have the youth group to look forward to. But in the last 20 years, youth group has undergone a subtle transformation. The emphasis has changed from fun, kinetic activities to singing and teaching. The gurus tell us that today’s kids are no longer interested in fun and games, but are seeking a passionate, intimate relationship with Jesus.
In order to foster this passionate, intimate relationship, today’s youth meetings feature long periods of singing: thirty to forty minutes is not uncommon. Youth stand in a darkened room and sing love songs to Jesus, led by a praise band of their peers. Once the singing is done, they listen to a message from God’s Word presented by the youth leader.
Youth groups are becoming more like this because church is becoming more like this. People expect to feel something at church. So we do subtle things to turn up the emotional temperature. We dim the lights. We slow down the music. We repeat verses. We repeat verses. We repeat verses. We offer more time for sharing. We describe Jesus as a man who wants a passionate, intimate relationship with us.
Girls love this. What teenage girl doesn’t want a passionate, intimate relationship with a man who loves her? Females thrive in this emotional hothouse, but most boys melt and evaporate. Before you know it, you’ve got thirteen girls and five guys at youth Bible study. And there’s not a jock among the guys.
By their senior year, girls are 14 percent more likely to have participated in a youth group. And they are 21 percent more likely to have stayed involved in youth group all four years of high school. Congratulations. The stage is set for the female-heavy church of the future.
Christ left us a dangerous and demanding mission. It’s a natural for young men. Yet the majority of our young disciples are women, because our Sunday school and youth groups eliminate most of the masculine boys during their teens.
By focusing so much on feminine values, strengths, and expression in Sunday school and youth group, we’re preselecting the church of the future. The only boys who make it through this spin cycle are the ones whose skills and personalities match the profile (verbal, studious or sensitive). A few others survive thanks to the intentional discipleship efforts of courageous older men. But the most masculine, aggressive, and athletic boys ages eighteen to twenty-five are long gone. Single women wonder, Where have all the good Christian men gone? We weeded them out of church as boys.
It’s not time to panic—it’s time to pray. Remember, God loves boys and men—even the ones who sleep in on Sunday. For more suggestions on how you can help young men find Jesus, read HOW WOMEN HELP MEN FIND GOD. To get an autographed copy, click here.
Where Are All the Single Men?
When I was writing my first book, I spoke to a Christian woman from France. “Once a woman receives Jesus here, she is unmarriagable,” the woman said. “There are almost no men in my country who are following Christ. And French men will not marry a woman whose faith in Jesus is so strong. She is a leper in their eyes.”
Christian colleges are becoming convents. I recently visited a Christian college in the Pacific Northwest, whose student body is 66% female. Camerin Courtney writes, “I often joke with a single male friend of mine that because of his gender, he’s got a buffet of dating/mate choices stretched out before him. I, on the other hand…am starving in the desert.”
Christian writers like Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) have have given men permission ignore the opposite sex — and appear godlier for it. So even the guys who go to church seem afraid to date. They may feel pressure since there are so many women to choose from. One man said that going to a singles meeting feels like “walking into a room full of bees with honey smeared on your face.”
There’s even a joke about the gender imbalance. It goes like this: Men in the church are like parking spaces. All the good ones are either already taken, or they’re handicapped.”
So where are all the single Christian men? How can you meet one?
Research shows that single men are more likely to attend churches that fit the following profile:
Large (thousands of attendees on a weekend)
Headed by a male pastor who’s bold and outspoken
Contemporary worship style
Offers intentional male discipleship
Worship service done in under 90 minutes
I’m not suggesting you switch churches over this issue. You need to grow where God has planted you. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to visit such a church – especially if your church offers nothing for singles.
A columnist for Crosswalk writes, “I have great single female friends who want godly husbands—as do I. We want to build strong Christian marriages and raise good godly children. And we simply have no idea where to find these great men, if they even exist.”
Yes, they exist, but they’re hard to find because demand is outstripping supply.
FAQs: Men and Church
1. Rhonda asks: My husband goes to church but he never seems to change. What’s wrong with him?
A lot of men who go to church are unaffected by what they hear. The gospel bounces off their souls like bullets off Superman’s chest. New research into men and women’s brains may hold the answer.
Women’s brains have more verbal resources than men’s do. As a result, women are more comfortable with words; men are more comfortable with objects. The problem for men is that our modern church services are highly verbal. We offer spoken lessons, written study guides, and lengthy verbal sermons. It’s hard for men to absorb so many words.
Jesus knew this, and taught men through parables: short lessons built around an object at hand. When you’re teaching men or boys, keep your lessons short, and build them around a concrete object. The fewer words, the better.
2. Nancy asks: Why can’t I get my husband to go to church with me?
Nancy, there’s an unspoken feeling among men that church is a women’s thing – and research indicates that these men may be right. Studies show that the typical American worship service draws a crowd that’s 61 percent women. Midweek activities are even more lopsidedly female. Volunteer opportunities revolve around traditionally feminine roles: childcare, teaching, singing and kitchen duties. Men have a hard time finding their place in church, unless they have a passion for changing diapers, attending meetings or passing out bulletins.
Plus church has a reputation as something for “little old ladies of both sexes.” Honestly, a lot of men resist church simply because they feel, deep in their hearts, it’s something for women and children.
The best way to break through this logjam is for a man your husband respects to invite him to church. This tells your husband, “Hey, if HE goes to church maybe it’s OK for me to go.”
3. Bernice asks: My sons received Jesus as little boys, but now that they’re teens they don’t want to go to church. Why?
Church experts estimate that anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of the boys who attend church today will abandon it during their teens and twenties. Many will never return.
Why the high dropout rate? Teenage boys are anxious to be grown up, but they see church as a kids’ thing – something to put behind them. Boys don’t follow Jesus because our Sunday schools tend to downplay his bold, aggressive side. Instead, we draw pictures of Him hanging out with children, sheep and even puppies! After years of seeing Jesus fraternizing with the under-10 set, boys no longer want to follow our child-oriented Savior.
What’s the answer? If you’re a Sunday school teacher, please don’t soften Jesus up. Present him just as he appears in scripture – wild, bold and even a bit scary. Never show boys pictures of Jesus among children, unless you want them to reject Christ as teens.
4. Melissa writes: My church has almost no single guys my age. Where are all the single Christian men?
There’s a joke about this: Men in the church are like parking spaces. The good ones are either already taken, or they’re handicapped.
It’s true: single men under 35 are the group least likely to attend church. But certain kinds of churches are doing better than others drawing single men. In general these churches fit the following profile:
- Headed by a male pastor who’s bold and outspoken
- Contemporary worship style
- Conservative theology
- Risk-taking culture
- Offers intentional male discipleship
- Worship service done in under 90 minutes
I’m not encouraging you to leave your church, but if you’re looking for single men, your odds are better in a church that fits this profile. It might be time for you to visit such a church.
5. Joann writes: My husband loves the Lord, but why won’t he ever pray with me?
Praying aloud is tough on your average guy. It requires a man to be good with words, and most guys aren’t as verbally gifted as women. A guy may feel he has to use a special religious vocabulary. He may feel inadequate if he can’t “pray like a preacher.”
My wife and I used to talk about things, then try to pray about them, but it always fell flat. We took a huge leap forward when we invited God right into our conversation. It’s so simple – we just shoot quick prayers to God while we’re talking – no closing eyes or bowing heads. We speak normally, as if God were sitting right next to us. It feels less religious and more real.
Joann, let your husband know that he can talk to God using normal language, in the course of everyday conversation. See if that doesn’t break the prayer logjam.
6. Sarah from the U.K. asks: As a regular churchgoer, if I see a man having coffee after the service who seems to be a newcomer (and looks as if he’s not used to church) and no one is talking to him, do I:
a) go and shake his hand and say welcome, etc.
b) don’t do anything – leave it to the men.
b) ask a nearby (not too busy) bloke from the church to go say hello.
c) ignore him, he’s probably happier just soaking up the atmosphere.
The fact that he stayed for coffee would seem to indicate that he’s looking for companionship. My advice is to go right up to him and greet him with a firm handshake. Ask him questions: What’s your name? Have you worshipped here before? Oh, it’s your first time…how did you hear about our church?
Blokes usually like to talk about their profession, so ask him what he does for a living. If he says “I’m a pharmacist” you can say, “Great! Do you know Roger Blake? He owns a chemist shop down on Port Street, and he goes to this church. Would you like to meet him?” Now you’ve connected him to a man he has something in common with. They can talk about the latest drugs while you make a graceful exit.
If he doesn’t want to talk about work, you can always ask him if he follows sports or what his hobbies are. If he says he’s a big football fan, it won’t be hard to find a bloke who shares his passion. Make the introduction and melt back into the crowd.
The idea is: get men talking about something they know, so they feel competent. And conversation is always easier between men who have something in common.
7. Kathy from Wyoming writes: My husband attends church with me and was raised in the church. However, he does not have Christ in his heart. I am not sure what his actual thinking is on this matter. “Being born once is enough, I was sprinkled at 12 that’s good enough,” are his platitudes. He is the type of guy who wants and thinks he is right and can be an island. I appreciate any words of wisdom. We’ve been married for 20 years.
Dear Kathy: Unfortunately, many men who grew up religious were inoculatedagainst Christianity as boys. They were injected with a weak version of the Christian faith. This exposure was just enough to keep them from developing the full-blown disease as adults. Ask these men if they are Christians, and they’ll respond, “Yes, I was raised ___________ (fill in denomination).” They may consider themselves religious or spiritual, but there’s no ongoing connection to a local church. And, truth be told, there is little connection to God.
I noticed by your e-mail address you’re a Methodist. I’ve noticed that men raised in liturgical churches are most likely to have been vaccinated as kids. Liturgy can be deeply meaningful, but it dampens spontaneity, making faith seem dead to the young. These men are stuck: they believe in God, but they won’t explore a richer life of faith because they’ve already got their religious box checked.
It’s very hard to infect a vaccinated man. How do you get past his religious defenses to help him see his need for Christ? You should start taking some risks for God.
I have a friend who for years lived the safe, predictable Christian life. Cindy’s church résumé included Sunday school, choir, committee work, and more. Her husband, Carl, a burly electrician, had scant interest in church. Then God’s Spirit got hold of Cindy in a big way. He led her to the African nation of Uganda, where she worked with AIDS orphans and abused women. She also began traveling to remote Alaskan villages, ministering in communities devastated by drugs and alcohol.
Carl was watching. He’d seen a change in Cindy. Her religious life had become a real walk with God. It was no longer duty; it was pure joy. One winter night he asked Cindy to take a walk. As huge snowflakes fell, Carl reached out a husky hand, took Cindy’s in his, and surrendered his life to Christ. He followed faithfully the rest of his days.
Men are drawn to risk, adventure and the conquering of territory. Is your walk with God risky? Adventurous? Are you taking territory from the kingdom of darkness?
8. Mimi writes: My husband was once a true believer. In college he was so pressured to be a “good Christian” that he gave up. He decided that he would not believe in God anymore. He stopped going to church. When we were dating he tried to go to church again but nothing really changed. He says he is agnostic but I just think he figured out that he can live a “good life” with out God. What can I do? We have a 2 year old girl.
Your story is more common than you think. I know lots of women whose husbands were deeply involved in church, but who “burned out” at some point. Even pastors, teachers and worship leaders can be shipwrecked, either through abusive situations or simple overworking.
If your husband truly received Christ into his heart, then the Holy Spirit still dwells there. The Spirit’s influence can be strengthened through prayer. I would encourage you to band together with other women in your church who are in your position and pray intently for your men. The Bible says, “Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, there am I in the midst of them.” The power of your prayers is amplified when you join with other believers.
I discuss this at length in my book How Women Help Men Find God. I’ve devoted an entire chapter to this subject. If you haven’t yet read this book, please pick up a copy today.
9. Carol writes: Our church has a men’s ministry but our focus for spiritual growth is small groups or what we call mini-church. These meet in homes weekly. How can we make our mini-church more guy friendly? What can we do in this environment to help men?
Small groups can be wonderfully transforming for men. They’re less formal than church services. There’s a chance to be real and not religious. There’s food.
But mixed-gender small groups can be tough on men, because women often outperform men without even realizing it. Here’s how it happens:
- Women are often better readers, so they sound “smarter” when they read aloud from the Bible. Men are diagnosed with reading disorders at four times the rate of women. The common practice of asking people to look up Bible verses and read them aloud can be terrifying for men who possess poor reading skills.
- We often pray aloud. Again, women’s highly verbal brains give them an advantage in forming prayers and getting them out of their mouths. Haven’t you noticed that women’s prayers often sound more eloquent than men’s? (preachers being the exception to the rule)
- Women often find Bible passages faster. Women are 29% more likely to read their Bibles regularly, so they find the passages more quickly. And their superior finger dexterity helps them flip through those fine onionskin pages with greater ease.
- Women are often better at socializing and small talk. Gals often feel more comfortable in a social setting because they know just what to say, especially when people are hurting. Guys often don’t.
So my recommendation is to make sure you’re giving men an equal opportunity to shine. No reading around the circle. Draw out your less verbal men and give them a chance to speak up. If you’re going to have group prayer at the end, pass an object around the circle. When the object is in your hand, you have the option to pray or pass. Encourage the guys in the group to meet together once in a while to have fun.
Most importantly, pray that the Lord would give you a discerning heart toward the men in the group, and to show you when the men are feeling inadequate or outshone by the women. You’ll know what to do.