Twelve Marks of a Man-Friendly Church
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Have you read Wild at Heart by John Eldrege? This popular author knows that males have an “undomesticated” dimension to their personality that's completely foreign to women.
Let’s be honest. It’s that take-a-ride-on-the-wild-side behavior that makes men attractive, isn’t it? Yesiree! There's a strong chance you married a man who had strength of character and kindness, but who also climbed a few mountains and jumped out of airplanes to win your hand.
Why Iron Man Resists the Gospel
Today, I want to talk about that inner drive in all men—those attractive iron man qualities. Paradoxically, it's his competitive risk-seeking temperament that works against a man when it comes to growing in the Christian faith.
As you know men like action, rules, performance-based recognition, and hunting (for deer, the big sale, or golf balls). Old Testament Judaism, with its system of animal sacrifice and a morality based on the Law was completely male-friendly. Add kinesthetic body movements to ritual prayer and it’s not hard to grasp why the religion of Islam also has a strong appeal to men.
What men really need to know is that God accepts and respects them unconditionally, is calling them on a dangerous mission, and he wants them to follow him wholeheartedly—even to the point of death.
Christianity, on the other hand, is much more female-friendly. We’re taught that God is offering us a secure and lasting relationship of unconditional love and we don’t have to do a thing to earn it. It’s a gift of God’s grace. While that's completely true, this modern salvation message says nothing about the subject Jesus talked about most frequently: The Kingdom of God. It shouldn’t surprise us that this message falls flat for more than a few of our men.
What men really need to know is that God accepts and respects them unconditionally, is calling them on a dangerous mission, and he wants them to follow his leadership wholeheartedly—even to the point of death. According to David Murrow, author of How Women Help Men Find God (2008, Thomas Nelson) that's the way the Gospel message should be presented in order to stir the masculine soul.
Why Many Men Think Church is Only for Women
In his illuminating book, Murrow points out that most modern churches are set up to minister to women. Sitting still for long periods, listening to well-crafted lecture-sermons, praying in circles, emotional praise songs, personal testimonies, hugging strangers, quilts on the walls, doilies on the communion table, and flowers in the chancel do little to attract men—in fact they repel them.
“By the time Harley escapes to the parking lot, Harley’s masculinity bank is punctured and leaking badly. He is so far out of his comfort zone he’d need a GPS to find it again. The early church did away with mandatory circumcision, but today’s church unwittingly emasculates its men.”—David Murrow
Over the last decade, I admit, our current denominational church home has brought far more satisfaction to me than to e-Dad. Although he’s a strong Christian believer, "doing church" my way has been a challenge for him. So we decided it was about time we address his wish list too. To help us achieve our goal, I’ve taken to heart what David Murrow calls the “twelve marks of a man-friendly church.”
• a large church… tends to approach gender balance.
• non-denominational… men are leading the exodus from traditional churches.
• strict adherence to Scripture… churches that attract men have a bottom line: The Bible.
• a multi-racial crowd… racially diverse equals growth.
• a young congregation… church plants do well with men.
• energized men in the pews… engaged men transmit fervor to others.
• a man in the pulpit… men follow men.
• a pastor who is astonishing and authoritative…
like Jesus (Matt 7:28-29).
• informal attire… men don’t like playing dress-up.
• modern technology… men think technology is cool.
• fun & humor… a little humor helps men drop their guard.
• a clear unique mission… helps men to gauge if they’re winning. e.g. “purpose driven” churches are a magnet to men.
Three Chapters on Reaching Unbelieving Husbands
Murrow’s book, How Women Help Men Find God covers so much more—especially for ladies in spiritually unequal marriages. I strongly recommend you get this book (buy it used online like I did) so you can glean from Murrow’s unique insights in the following chapters:
• What You Do. What God Does
• Your Words Whisper: Your Life Shouts
• How to Talk to Men About God
• (Bonus) How to Lead Boys to Faith
Ten Ways Women Can Take Action in the Church
Murrow offers ten ways church women can take action to attract more men through the doors. De-feminizing the church décor; supporting man-only events; letting men police themselves; and supporting the placement of men in high-profile leadership positions are a few of them.
My Personal Recommendation
If you're serious about discovering how to reach your husband, your son, your brother, or your father read these amazon.com reviews. Better yet, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book and commit to applying Murrow’s closing challenges—something I'm currently attempting. Pray for me!
1. David Murrow’s websites: Church for Men &
Speaking of Men
2. “Why Men Hate Going to Church” by Chrysalis
Photos: LukeRobinson, RandySonofRobert & randylane (Flickr)
Do you agree or disagree with this author?