I just got a reality check by reading David Murrow’s, “Why Men Hate Going To Church.” I originally thought that the book would provide a superficial look at how to attract more men to church. What I did not expect was for Murrow to pain such a graphic picture of not only why men hate going to church, but also the importance of men in church. The book gave me a lot to think about and has definitely caused me to rethink how I do church.
He describes men as the “Miracle Grow,” of the church and backs it all up with hardcore data. He writes, “Put men in a church and it will grow!” You look at church history and you will find that there is no significant move of God without men. However, whenever a church has a higher proportion of women, it is associated with decline rather than growth. On the flip side, churches that draw a majority of men are three times more likely to be growing than those that are majority female. In fact, once a church’s adult attendance is 70 percent female, you can almost write the church’s obituary.
David Murrow really shows how the today’s church system is engineered to reach women. He writes, “Men are the church’s largest unreached people group. Men have a unique culture, language and way of life. They respond differently than women.”
David Murrow describes that there are really two Jesuses afoot in the world today. They are both based on a partial understanding of Christ. He calls one, “The Lamb of God,” and the other, “The Lion of Judah.”
The Lamb of God is extremely popular in the church today. People who never rad the Bible (but think they know a lot about God) endorse this Jesus.
The Lion of Judah (a.k.a. the King of kings) is the one you don’t hear much about. He’s the one who seemed to revel in conflict. He’s the Christ who declared, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” This Jesus even used physical violence to advance His kingdom. The sad truth is that most churches have locked the Lion of Judah out of the church and in the process have feminized Jesus. It’s no wonder there’s a gender gap in church!
Some thinking points that grabbed my attention were:
- Decision-making in the present day church is frustrating for a man because the current model of decision-making is so geared toward women preventing a man leading like a man. Instead he must be careful, sentimental, and thrifty; make ever decision by consensus; talk everything to death. Decisions take months or years to make, and if someone’s feelings might be hurt, we don’t move forward.
- Men are hard-wired for risk taking and congregation that do not take risks atrophy.
- Perhaps one of the reason why so many effeminate and gay men attend church is that the church is one of the few institutions in society where there’s no pressure to act like a man.
- A lot of men feel that church is for women, weirdoes, and wimps. They think to themselves, Christianity is for little old ladies of both sexes.
- According to many studies, a long, uninterrupted monologue is the least effective way to teach people anything… especially men!
- Removing masculine pronouns from hymns, liturgy, and even Scripture, in an effort to make women feel more comfortable may be working, but it’s working at the expense of driving the men away.
- Many churches (especially the established ones) are decorated more like an old-fashioned ladies’ beauty parlor. Quilted banners and silk flower arrangements adorn church lobbies. More quilts, banners, and ribbons cover the sanctuary walls, complemented with fresh flowers on the altar, a lace doily on the Communion table, and boxes of Kleenex under every pew. And don’t forget the framed Thomas Kinkade prints, pastel carpets, and paisley furniture. This femme décor sends a powerful subconscious message to men: you are out of place. (p.101)
- Men are visual creatures. Unfortunately, the Jesus they see in church is warping their impression of God. Traditional holy pictures portray Jesus as thin, pale, and soft with long, flowing tresses caressing an androgynous face. This Jesus bears little resemblance to the rugged Judean carpenter who possessed the strength to drive out the moneychangers with a whip.
The book is divided up into three parts. Part one deals with the question, “Where are the Men?” Part two deals with, “Church Culture vs. Man Culture.” While part three deals with, “Calling the Church Back To Men.” I really like the fact that there is a chapter-by-chapter discussion guide as well as other free resources at the website: www.churchformen.com
The last section, “Calling the Church Back to Men,” offers up clear and simple suggestions that any church can do to call back men and make them feel more a part of church. I feel really challenged and encouraged to make an effort to reach more men for the Gospel.
People might criticize the book and call it sexist, but if telling the truth about men and women is sexist… I’m sexist as well; but much more significant… Jesus was sexist. He did not recruit a diverse group of men, women, and children… instead he went after the men and then narrowed it down to twelve guys. The facts are that men are not likely to follow the women into church, but women will and do follow men into church!
This is a MUST READ for anyone interested in helping the church grow and thrive and I unreservedly give it 5 STARS.
*** I received this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a non-biased and honest review.