8.25.2008

Men and the Church

Some call it a Gender Gap, some call it the Church on Estrogen, but whatever you call it, the issue still exists. Men of all ages are missing in the church. This is such a big deal for me that I've written about it a few times. Here and Here.

My wife forwarded me this article today and I think you need to read it.

Now.

No seriously, the rest of this won't make sense until you do.

...

and now that we're on the same page, I'm going to share my thoughts on Mr. Murrow's answers.

Question #1 How can preaching be improved to attract men to church?

Murrow: Make it shorter.


No. don't make it shorter, make it deeper. I used to attend Mars Hill in Grandville MI, home of the eloquent Rob Bell. He often preaches for 40-50 minutes and I rarely had a problem paying attention. I often disagreed with points, but he kept me engaged.

This past Sunday, Pastor Russ preached 35 minutes of thick theology and I could give you a detailed outline of what he preached. Not so most weeks, because it usually looses me.

Question #2 Is there anything in the structure and organization of the service that could be improved to appeal to men?


Men like a service that is vertical-focused, focused more on God. If your worship service reflects "God is my buddy," then you're going to attract more women.


Agreed but not for those reasons. Our gatherings shouldn't be vertically focused because It'll attract more men, but because God is worth glorifying in a direct way. Our God is personal, but he's also Majestic and Almighty. Ultimately our gatherings need to be balanced between the two because our God is both.

Question #3 How does church music affect men?


We used to have hymns, which were pretty well-suited to the masculine heart; they talked about battle and blood and victory. Today we have praise and worship choruses, which I call "Jesus is my boyfriend music." We use words that no man would dare say to another, and yet we ask men every week to express their love to God using these very romantic words.


I've been trying to write songs that are simple. Simple words, simple chords, easy to sing. But I just can't do it. Every time I write something simple, I step back and think "This is missing something, the idea is just not complete" or "I can't sing this, it's too weak". So yeah I agree with this one too. I do think those other songs have a place, I just think we need to strive for balance between the two, and we've been over saturated with the one, so eventually the pendulum will swing the other way, we just have to wait for it.

I find myself in a strange situation, I have strong opinions and (I think) some good ideas to help the situation, but I have little power to change anything. There's no real forum at our church for this kind of thing, but I know our worship Pastor reads my blog, so maybe we can start some kind of dialogue. Could be that I'm the only one who thinks along these lines and I'm a crack-pot.

Anyone else?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that "Worship of the Almighty" should be taylored into anything other than what it is- "Worship".
I used to be 180 degrees on this (thanks to Willow Creek), and agreed with whatever strategery was necessary to draw the masses in through the doors. Worship can turn into a show (oh yes it can), lights, camera, action! There is nothing wrong with Drama, Dance, Solo'ists and Video's, but we have to keep God as the focal point.

I agree with the shorter message point, although I'm sure that if God is speaking to me through my Pastor, I'd better listen up.
And, the "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs need to go. Hymnal language to me is sometimes manly, sometimes inspiring, sometimes vague.

If we as Christians have a goal to engage more Males to become disciples, it has to be on a personal one to one level, and Christian men have to own up to dropping the ball on this.

Scott Culver
(future blogger)