What Men Need
Two weeks ago, I talked to you about investing in men. I cited David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church, who says, ‘‘A lack of male participation is one of the surest predictors of church decline.” He goes on to say, “If you want a healthy church for the long term, attract men. This was Jesus’ strategy. It still works today.”
I believe it would be fair to say that most churches are more successful in their outreach to women. Their attendance records indicate more women attending and getting involved. For whatever reasons, women typically feel more comfortable as part of the church today than men do.
And, yet, an expert on reaching men, David Murrow, says, “If you want a healthy church for the long term, attract men.” Whether you consider the size of a congregation, the level of attendee involvement, or the depth of spiritual understanding and response as the measure of the success and health of a church, you will always find that participation by either an equal number of men and women or a majority of men is an indicator of its health.
Therefore, you need to be as focused on the men in your church families as you are on the women. Your messages and activities need to be relevant to men. So, for example, as you prepare your sermon this week, remember the emotional and spiritual condition of many of the men who’ll be sitting in your congregation.
Some of them will be dealing with a variety of issues, such as unemployment, pornography, unfaithfulness, a loveless marriage, or being a dad to another man’s children. Others will feel uncomfortable in God’s house because they have been pressured to be there. Some will be suffering from the “father wound” they have carried for years. Some will be on the fringe, close to walking away from the church entirely.
In many ways, you will be like a coach this Sunday. Through much prayer and study, you will be preparing your men and their families for life’s next “inning.” Please do not browbeat your men. Love them. Honor them. Work with them. Identify with them.
The Focus on the Family booklet, The Pastor’s Role in Establishing an Effective Men’s Ministry, notes:
Men need a safe place where they can discover that someone understands them and that they are not alone.
Men need a clear, compelling vision of biblical manhood that they can take hold of.
Men need time with other men to effectively process their manhood.
Men need practical how-to’s with which they can taste success. They need ways to implement, in a bite-sized manner, what they hear.
Men need male cheerleaders — other men to admire their efforts and cheer their successes.
Men need a sacred moment where they know they’ve become a man.
Men need a positive relationship with Jesus Christ.
There is great economy in a vital message to men. When you, pastor, make this a priority, you will find a new sense of purpose, exhilaration, and meaning about what you do.
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:3).