© 2016 Manly Training
Christian Men (pt 2)
Christianity is still growing worldwide, but it is losing ground to two aggressive competitors: secularism and Islam.
Secularism is the de facto religion in much of Europe today. Rationalism, materialism, anarchy and radical environmentalism are a few of its common guises. It’s on the rise in America as well. One study found that the number of adults who subscribe to no religion doubled during the 1990’s. The number of unchurched Americans who don’t attend services except for holidays or weddings nearly doubled between 1991 and 2004.
Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion and it also enormously popular with men. Since 1950 the number of Christians in the world has doubled but the number of Muslims has more than tripled.
Islam is growing worldwide and it has made its strongest inroads in the African American community. More than 90 percent of the converts to Islam in the united states are African-American men, one of whom who grew up in a Baptist church but converted said, “In Islam I found a stronger ideal of brotherhood and moral discipline and of manhood.” Why are secularism and Islam on the rise? I believe it is their ability to capture the hearts of men.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT TREND IN THE CHURCH?
The typical churchgoer is a woman. The U.S. Congregational Life Survey pegged her as a fifty-year-old, married, well educated, employed female. The weekly gender gap is about 13 million. (Adult women = 480,000,000; Adult men = 35,000,000)
There are more women (61%) in the pews than men (39%). Today 20-25% of America’s married churchgoing women regularly attend without their husbands. Younger churches seem somewhat more successful in attracting and retaining men. This suggests that as a church ages, it loses its men and is unable to attract more. What causes this? Think of the need of a young church. Startup congregations need men’s gifts. Risks must be taken. Plans must be made. Building must be built. Men love this stuff. They have a lot to offer a young church. But as a congregation ages, it begins to value feminine gifts such as nurturing, stability, and close-knit community. Not that these are bad but they stifle the masculine gifts. (Now we’re getting somewhere).
There are two types of people in the church: pillars and caterpillars. The pillars uphold the church with their prayers, their work, and their donations. They build the kingdom of God by the sweat of their brows. The caterpillar crawls in on Sunday morning, sing a few songs, listen to a sermon, and crawl out again, not to be seen for a week.
If your church is typical, most of the pillars are female. Women are:
100% more likely to be involved in discipleship
57% more likely to participate in adult Sunday school
54% more likely to participate in a small group
46% more likely to disciple others
39% more likely to have a devotional or quiet time
33% more likely to volunteer for a church
29% more likely to read the Bible
29% more likely to attend church
23% more likely to donate
16%: more likely to pray
Booksellers know that women buy 75% of Christian products so they work hard to create an atmosphere of femininity. They even write more of the books.
The church is short of a diversity of personality types. Churchgoers are more likely to have passive personalities than the population in general. While 62 percent of Americans have passive personalities, about 85 percent of the Christians tested in study have passive personalities.What are the implications of this imbalance? Any institution so heavily tilted toward passivity will itself become passive. It will tend to value tradition and stability over innovation and growth. (The church becomes stagnant.)
A leadership crisis is crippling the church because the passive are the ones who lead. The lack of bold visionary leadership is driving men away from churches. Men are looking for strong risk-taking leaders to show them the way. They are looking for healthy role models for their sons. Men need wise spiritual fathers who will tell it to them straight. They are not finding them in church so they’ll look elsewhere.
What can we do about this? Is your church becoming more feminine and passive? What percentage of your church is male vs female?
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© 2016 MANLY TRAINING
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