Men, we need you. The church needs you. Society needs you.
I’ll begin by showing you the results of research from pewforum.org
The slow decline of the presence of men in church congregations through the years is not news. Pastors have been wrestling for decades now with how to better engage men in the life of the local church.
Much intentional effort has been exerted trying to attract and keep men. Often those efforts have led us down the path of appealing to stereotypical concepts of masculinity.
We’ve thrown axes, created small groups centered around sports, put “man scents” in the bathroom, traded in greenery and flowers for wood and stone, painted the walls manly colors, told the worship leader to not sing “touchy feely” songs, changed the way we dress, hosted wild game dinners, preached about sex (we thought for sure that would get their attention), and planned Saturdays of shooting guns and eating copious amounts of smoked pork…we’ve done everything short of having beard growing contests.
Nevermind the fact that there are actually grown men, who have legitimate testosterone flowing through their veins, who identify fully and completely as male in every way…who don’t care for guns…actually like things that are colorful…would rather read a book than watch a game…prefer Barnes and Noble to Bass Pro Shop…have no interest in hunting…would choose chicken over beef…actually find being well groomed as enjoyable…and aren’t too insecure to wear skinny jeans.
In case you are wondering about me, I find myself a little in both categories. I’ll wear skinny jeans through the week, and throw on camo Friday morning. But that’s not the point.
Maybe the decrease in male participation in the church is because we have underestimated Jesus and His supreme magnetism.
Is it possible we have been diverted with gimmicks and become gullible with stereotypes, when standing before us is this MAN, who is heroic, and masculine, and gritty, and beautiful, and fierce, and kind, and tough, and vulnerable…
This MAN who was strong and secure enough to understand that what everyone else thought was weakness and defeat, was actually the greatest form of triumph the world had ever seen.
Maybe instead of trying to pacify some paper thin stereotype we should compel men with THE MAN.
I can hear the rebuttals now. Listen, I’m not telling you to transform your church property into a pastel shaded beacon of femininity. I get that we want to avoid turning a lost man away by surrounding him with ribbons and floral carpet. I just think Jesus is still the best way to engage men.
Jesus. Is. Enough.
I believe there are still plenty of men in our churches who are devoted enough to Jesus that you could put them in a room surrounded by animal print upholstered pillows, pink shag carpet, bubbles wafting in the air, plumeria air fresheners, and twelve ladies playing the violin…
But if they start talking about this Jesus who has captivated their masculine heart…
If the call was sounded to lift a praise to the One Who set them free…
If a declaration was made of the victory of the empty grave…
Those men of God would not fold their arms and withhold their heart because the environment was too “feminine”.
They are devoted to a degree that the aesthetics, the tones and tenors, the fragrances, and the fashion preferences have no bearing on the roar of affection deep in their bones.
We need those men.
We need an uprising, a return, of the SECURE men of God.
By all means, build your man cave, do all the manly things you enjoy. Just don’t make the church jump through hoops of pseudo masculinity in order to secure your commitment, your leadership, your covenant, your tenacity, your hunger, your pursuit, your generosity, and your love.
Let’s not bury the lead under a mound of Old Spice and ammo shells.
Jesus is the lead. He is quintessential masculinity. Better yet, He is the embodiment of what it really means to be a man. He represents what we will never find in our favorite team or our preferred mode of transportation.
We need men secure enough, that Jesus is enough for them.
We need those of you who fit that description, to lead your brothers into a better manhood. Someone has to be the forerunners.
Why not you? Why not now?