Men+ Church Attendance= Lacking — Many of us have pondered this same equation for decades, probably centuries, and when we’ve tried to combine these two components together, our findings are almost always in the negative. Why is that? Why is it when you walk into a typical church fellowship, excluding any all male facilities (ie. Prison), that the attendance, when it comes to men, seem to pale in comparison to women?
Is it a population thing? Some have argued that there are twice as many woman as there are men on the Earth, but even if that’s your argument, and there is some merit to that, the numbers still don’t seem to add up. Others have argued that the devil has been after the male seed since God’s judgment and pronouncement in Genesis 3 and has therefore been trying to kill, or at best, enslave men ever since. In other words, men don’t attend church because the enemy does whatever he can to sway men from walking in a relationship with God. Or some will tell you there’s a breakdown in the family unit and so absenteeism starts at home and naturally progresses to a lack of community involvement.
Some will argue that men don’t attend church in droves because they find it boring. They’ll argue that men are “Doers” and so to sit down week after week not doing much but listening to someone speak or sing songs actually goes against their natural makeup. Or maybe the church doesn’t offer the right programs. I’m sure we’ve all heard that one, right? After all, men are into sports, or they like to build stuff, so the lack of attendance must be because the local church hasn’t put together the perfect program to keep their attention. I guess, with that thought, most men must then suffer from A.D.D.
The truth is, there could be a myriad of contributing factors that stop, inhibit, or hinder men from attending a local fellowship or assembly. I could easily spend the next 5 or so paragraphs detailing valid notions as to why we don’t see a lot of men in the church, but I’d rather focus on what I consider to be the main problem and then suggest a solution.
Chances are, as you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve been searching your own mind trying to come up with reasons why you think men are absent. You’ve also probably tried to come up with a few solutions of your own. Am I right? Here in lies the problem, and please don’t take this personal, but this is where many of us, myself included, make our mistakes. We see a problem and try to come up with a solution. “Well, maybe we should try this,” or “These guys down the road are doing that and it seems to be working for them, maybe we should implement something similar.” There’s really only one problem with that type of thinking, that is, “We are the ones coming up with our own solutions.” There’s a word that perfectly describes this type of mentality. It’s called, “Pride.”
Now, I realize this may not stroke our egos, and will probably offend some, but the truth is, we don’t know the answer. We don’t know the way. We don’t know the solution. At best, we’re guessing. We’re reasoning out of our own intellect. If I were to use a biblical term, I’d say all to often we’re using the “Arm of the flesh” or “Man’s way of doing things” in an attempt to solve the issue at hand.
You know, it takes humility to admit that we don’t know the way. That we don’t know the answer. That we can’t come up with the perfect solution. It takes humility to turn to the One who does and ask for help, for direction, and for guidance. If you walk away with anything that I’ve stated in this blog, please let it be this next sentence. It takes humility to stop, ask, listen, seek confirmation, and then step out in faith on what we’ve heard! Did you catch that? Please read it again very slowly and concentrate on each word emphasized in bold.
You may disagree, but it’s my opinion that most believers struggle with the above act of humility. Sure, we may have a prayer life, and we may indeed bring things to the Lord in prayer. But if we’re honest, aside from bringing to Him our problems and our needs, we bring our plans to Him. No, I’m not in love with seeing bold font. Yes, I added it once again for emphasis! We tend to bring our plans to the Lord and expect Him to bless what we’ve come up with. Many of us lack the discipline of waiting on the Lord. And when I say “waiting,” I’m not just talking about taking a posture that’s absent of action. I’m talking about waiting in the sense where a waiter or server attends a table and takes an order. He/she “waits” on the patron until they are fully served.
Walk with me for a second. Let’s go on a quick mental trip. Let’s pretend that you and I go to our favourite restaurant. Maybe Milestones. We’re seated by the host who brings us some water to drink while we wait to order but our server never shows up. Or, on second thought, she does show up, is very pleasant and we take a liking to her right away. You order a Grilled Chicken Salad because you’re watching those calories and I order the Certified Angus Beef ® Top Sirloin because I’m trying to not the watch the drool slowly running down my cheek. Now, imagine us having some light, friendly, and knowing me, comical conversation, while we fill up on bread and water for 15 minutes. When our server returns, she hands you a Shanghai Noodle Stirfry dish and me the Inspired House-Made Seasonal Soup!!!!
Do you get my point? Would you say that this server waited on us properly? Hopefully your answer is no. Yet, we do this all the time with the Lord. Some of us rarely show up to serve at his table and when we do, we come back with our own orders.
I said all of that to say this. Why do men lack in attendance when it comes to church? Your guess is as good as mine. My suggestion? Aside from what is an obvious issue, I encourage you, especially those in leadership, not to try and come up with another program or man-made solution. But to seek the One who knows the solution and stay in His presence long enough to receive His instructions. Then, with all the faith you can muster, bring back that which He ordered.
Maybe then we’ll see a turnaround in attendance, among other things.