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March 8, 2008

8

Why do men hate going to church?

by Dave Malnes

The real reason most men don’t go to church in America is that they are already practicing the religion called masculinity. Everything a man does is designed to prove to the world that he is a man. The religion of masculinity demands that a man avoids anything that might call his manhood into question. Men believe deep in their heart that church is something for women and children, not for me.

“Rough-and-tumble” men can be categorized as tough, earthy, risk-takers, visionary, and high achievers. These guys just don’t seem to fit in with the quiet, introspective gentlemen who tend to populate the church today. Many of these men don’t come because they desire to be transformed by Christ, but because they enjoy participating in comforting rituals that have changed little since their childhood. The culture of today’s churches values safety over risk, stability over change, preservation over expansion, and predictability over adventure.  

For instance, what movies do men and women like to watch? Men enjoy adventure films, women like romances. Men fantasize about saving the world against impossible odds and women fantasize about having a relationship with a wonderful man. What does the church today emphasize? Relationships — a personal relationship with Jesus and healthy relationships with others. By focusing on relationships, churches partners with women to fulfill their deepest longings. Very few churches model men’s values which include risk and reward, accomplishment, heroic sacrifice, action, and adventure.

A man finds churches dull for the same reasons why he finds chick-flicks dull.  A man has no desire to fall in love with a wonderful man, even one named Jesus. Is the purpose of the Christian life to find a happy relationship with a wonderful man, or is it to save the world against impossible odds? 

Men want to succeed in everything they do. Competence is very important to us. This is why men don’t stop and ask for directions. When it comes to doing church, men feel incompetent. We don’t possess the natural gifts that make a good churchgoer. We are not expressive, verbal, or sensitive. We are not very good teachers, nor do we like to sing expressions of love and devotion. We are uncomfortable praying aloud or holding hands with strangers.

Women, on the other hand, are great at doing church. They have caring hearts, relationship skills, and emotional sensitivity. They are great at relating, emoting, nurturing and offering verbal expression. Since women are so much better at doing church, men don’t even try to compete. 

Men need to be needed. If only Christianity required risk taking, boldness, aggression, and heroic sacrifice – competitive environments that allow men to reach for greatness — maybe men can start to find our place in church. 

Today’s churches have great difficulty convincing men to drop their remote controls for a couple of hours a week. The good news is that Jesus is alive today. God wants to speak to men, if only the church will let Him.    

[Taken from a very interesting book entitled, “Why Men Hate Going to Church” by David Murrow (pgs. 3-17).  To learn more about David and his ministry, please visit www.churchformen.com.]

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. clarkbunch
    Mar 8 2008

    Have you ever noticed the praise and worship songs that sound like a woman talking to her lover? Jesus invites us into a personal relationship, but I think much of the music and rhetoric in worship make men uncomfortable. Sometimes I wonder what we’re singing about. But here’s the question: do more women attend church because it’s become kind of “girly,” or has the nature of church worship changed because it is mostly women that are there?

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  2. Mar 8 2008

    Accurate and in-depth post.

    I think it’s not only in America where men don’t want (or like going) to church. Most of our churches here in the Philippines, generally speaking, are (in my estimate) composed of 80 percent women and only 20 percent men (almost the exact opposite during the time of the Lord Jesus). There are more women who are holding church positions compared to men. Women are more active and more thorough in the execution of their ministries.

    Some men do not want to go to church because they have to give up more than women do. For example, I shared the Gospel with a man who said to me, “If I follow Jesus, I can’t smoke, I can’t have women, I can’t drink, I can’t gamble, I can’t….so, no thanks.” With (most) women, however, these things are not an issue.

    Men should wake up and fulfill their calling and destiny in Christ. But the church should not reach out only women just because they are easier to win to Christ. In our culture, when a wife is won to Christ she cannot bring her children and husband to church, but the reverse is true when the man of the house gets saved first. We pray for the day when our churches will be full of men who are deeply in love with God and strongly committed to His church. May that day be soon!

    Carpe Diem!

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  3. theWorldidnotChange
    Jun 3 2008

    what makes it even worse is that the off chance you see a couple of guys actively taking part in church, they usually appear like sissies–

    which once again just underscores the point that church is not for real, strong men

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  4. merganzerman
    Jun 3 2008

    To the World did not change:

    Thanks for your comments.

    I understand where you are coming from. There are men who are not afraid to express themselves publicly and share their feelings and emotions — and they do stand out — especially to guys like myself who cringe at sharing feelings and don’t pubicly display emotion. For most men, it seems like signs of weakness, and something they would rather not be a part of.

    I would also agree that today’s church climate seems to foster that opinion.

    When you read the Bible, you certainly read about real, strong men. Mistakes and all, these were men that took huge risks, made great commitments, even willing to lay down their life for Christ. The Biblical definition of real men seems to be lost on today’s society and church culture — I pray the Lord can somehow make that change.

    Thanks again for your contribution.

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  5. kathy
    Sep 9 2008

    After my church split (I was a member for 14years) under very ‘immoral’ accusations. I was off churches for a long time. However, now through prayer and never losing faith in God, I am actually looking for a church. This is book is sooo great, because all the churches I have been visiting are ridiculously overloaded with women, one church I visited had all old women and children! There were TWO men! This is extremely discouraging for me as a single woman. I love man, I was made for man, I want to marry a christian man eventually, how is that going to happen, in a church full of women, the only ones that would be happy are Lesbians! God bless you brother for writing this book. Kathy

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  6. eric
    Dec 19 2009

    The problem is cultural. Men in the middle-east (from where the Gospel originates) are very demonstrative, unafraid to show their emotions, deeply understand loyalty, devotion, community, and relationship. Unfortunately, it’s societies like ours, which derive from Northern European cultures, which elevate self-sufficiency, individualism, stoicism, emotional coldness and hardness of heart as being qualities of high masculinity. But look – men who are afraid of their essential humanity are the ultimate wimps. Go tell Jesus you don’t like singing praises to his name or being part of his church community because it involves sharing, caring, serving, and emotional connection. He just might tell you that he suspects that a neverending life in Heaven may not be the best fit for you.

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    • merganzerman
      Dec 22 2009

      Thanks for your comments, Eric. Culturally speaking, I agree with the first half of your statement. There is the joke of an old German Lutheran who told his buddy in the church narthex, “I love my wife so much that I almost told her.” Getting in touch with our feelings, especially those of us from Northern European roots, is an exercise we would rather do with out. We’d rather be fishing. I would agree that mankind is afraid of their essential humanity, because I believe we go to great lengths to distract ourselves from the basic question of life which is, “What’s the purpose?” Essentially, if I may use that word again, it’s a spiritual question. We could be asking, “So, where do I go when I die?” The Jesus I know, recorded in His Word, is a God who can handle any question and concern. And if us men have a difficult time confronting our essential humanity, He is patient and would never turn us away. Sure, he might let us go our own way, but deep down, with every man and woman ever created, eternal life in heaven can be a perfect fit.

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