New research supports what most everyone who attends church has noticed anecdotally—women outnumber men in the pews.
Christian women are more likely than Christian men to say their faith is very important to them. And it shows.
Among self-identified Christians, women are more likely to believe Christian doctrines like the Bible is the word of God and observe Christian practices like praying every day and attending church weekly.
The devotion gap between Christian women and men is higher in the United States than it is in other Western nations like Canada, the U.K., Germany, and France.
So why is that? Why are American men who claim to be Christian so much less likely to actually live out their faith than women?
If we want to boil it down to one of the symptoms: why aren’t men in church?
The research engendered some passionate responses from men who believe the fault lies with churches.
Congregations, they claim, have become too feminine for men. The theology has been watered down and Christianity has been made too soft.
Let’s ignore the ignorant assumptions this makes about women and what draws them to church and the type of theological teaching they desire.
I want to spend my time addressing what these men are communicating about themselves and men in general.
With these excuses, the fault lies not with the men who skip church each week and instead go golfing or fishing or to a game or simply stay in bed.
No, the fault lies with the churches that fail to give them the presentation of Christianity that best suits them.
But I can think of nothing no less masculine than to blame your own lack of devotion and conviction on someone else being too feminine.
The church didn’t measure up on your manly meter so you decided to go home?
When did Goldilocks become an example of masculinity—searching around for something that’s just right? If it’s not perfectly to our liking, we can’t be bothered. Too far out of our comfort zone.
When we are confronted with our disobedience to Christ commands and we respond by pointing the finger elsewhere, we echo Adam in the garden.
Following Adam’s Sin
After Adam and Eve believe the lie of the serpent and eat the forbidden fruit, God asks Adam a simple yes or no question: Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam, recognizing his sin and guilt, responds by blaming his wife and God, who had given her to him.
The first sin established the pattern of sinful responses for the rest of humanity. Men follow the first man in refusing to accept responsibility for our own mistakes and failing to lead our spouses and families as God has called us to do.
The church-skipping men claim to be even more spiritual and masculine, while shrinking back from their God-given leadership role.
They blame women and insult them for being too weak or not deep enough and pat themselves on the back for trying to help the weaker sex understand the reality.
All the while, women and other men are serving and actually doing the work of the church.
What’s the Solution?
Could the church do more to reach unreached men? Sure. But what does that look like?
Is it gun range trips, hunting expeditions, and wild game dinners? Those may draw in some men, but not all of us.
Is it monster trucks and MMA fights on stage? I certainly hope not.
If you are seeking entertainment geared specifically to you, almost every town has a movie theater. Most homes have a television. Start there.
That’s not the job of the church. And that’s not an excuse for men to avoid being an active part a local congregation.
If you want to truly demonstrate masculinity, stop complaining about how things don’t suit you and stop blaming everyone else for why you aren’t following God’s commands.
Instead, start getting involved in church. Show leadership. Help the church find solutions to reaching unchurched men and women.
Sacrificially love your biological family and your church family, by surrendering your desires for the good of those around you.
That’s Christ-centered masculinity. That’s being a man like Jesus.