Why Many Men Hate Going To Church
1. Today I am going to give all of you something to talk about around the dinner table for the next few weeks. I am going to challenge some of you to look at Jesus differently than you possibly have and my hope is that you get a better understanding of who He really was and how His kingdom really works.
2. I received an article from the Columbus Dispatch 12/22/06. The title was “Christians flex manly attitude.” It was all about the church realizing that it is not reaching men and what some churches are doing about it. It is an interesting article, about a preacher Brad Stine who when he preaches adds a little color with a swear word every now and then. Here is one of his quotes, “It is the wuss-ification of America that is getting us!” Part of his closing prayer goes like this, “Thank you Lord for our testosterone!”
3. Many churches and pastors are taking a new look at only presenting Jesus as being meek and mild. There seems to be a great concern that the Christian faith has been effeminized. A new kind of men’s movement is sweeping across America right now. It involves weekend paintball wars, wilderness retreats, and X-rated chats about lust. Thousands of Christian men are reaching for more forceful, more rugged expressions of their faith.
4. Several best selling books have come out in the past few years addressing this issue. “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge, and “Why Men Hate Going to Church” by David Murrow, and “No more Mr. Nice Guy” by Paul Coughlin. They are all saying the same thing, Christianity has been effeminized and as a result it is not effectively reaching men.
5. The national average for churches across US is almost 70% women and 30% men. In many churches it is more like 80% women and 20% men. Now some people have made faulty conclusions because of this. They assume that men are not going to church because they are not spiritual and they think that women are “more spiritual.” How ridiculous! If that were true someone would have to tell God, since He was the one that said that the man is to be the spiritual head of his house. If the woman was naturally more spiritual, God would have made her the spiritual head of the family. Men are very spiritual and it can be seen in many of the major world religions like Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and especially Moslems, where men are clearly the majority and unashamed about their spirituality. The problem only seems to be in the Christian church that a fair representation of men are clearly absent.
6. Now I realize that talking about this kind of stuff is not really politically correct. And I realize that if I talk about stuff like this, some ladies are going to leave here convinced that I am starting a “good old boys” club.
We are not starting a “he man women haters club.”
1. Now just relax. I am not trying to start a “good old boys club.” Some people are just so religious and so uptight about life. You need to step back and don’t take yourself so seriously, take a deep breath, have a sense of humor.
2. I am just trying to bring some balance to the church. I have been concerned about the effeminization of the Christian church for 10 years. This is why I have purposely made it a point to do men stuff on Sunday. Some people think that the reason we have Biker Sunday, Hunter Sunday, Hot Rod Sunday is because I just like to be radical. Well there is some truth to that, but the main reason is that I am being intentional about reaching men.
3. We must be doing something right. We surveyed our church for the several months toward the end of last year and on Sunday we are almost at 54% women and 46% men.
4. This year I have been working with Ps. Mark to think outside the box when it comes to men’s ministry. We have men who like to camp and came on our father/son camping trip last year. It was a very spiritual event. We have men who like to fish and came on our fishing trip last year. It was a very spiritual event. We have men who like muscle cars, motorcycles, jazz and rock music, tools, barbequing, sports, exercise, card playing, and so on. We are working on using these interests to help men become stronger spiritual men. Instead of just having “boring men’s meetings” that have no focus we are setting up men’s activities that encourage men to get together and build friendship doing things men like to do. We see this as extremely valuable to furthering the Kingdom of God. This is one of our church goals. Our church’s mission is to “build people.” We do this by helping people “Get in the game” 1st base “finding God,” 2nd base “finding friends,” 3rd base “finding family,” and scoring at home plate by “finding purpose” in serving.” I am passionate about this. I have committed my life to this.
5. I realize that women are also interested in these things as well. But I have made it a point to make sure our church is NOT EFFEMINIZED! I am a man and I find certain things appealing to me, such as hunting, fishing, motorcycles. I like to do them “as a Christian.” I bring my faith wherever I go and I believe that is what Jesus would have us to do.
Starting new men’s ministry next month somewhat controversial
1. Next month we are going to have a “Texas Hold’em” night. Some of you may get a bit upset about this. Some of you don’t even know what “Texas Hold’em is. Let me help you out. It is a card game that is played like poker, except that you “pay to play” at the beginning and everyone gets the same amount of chips and you play until you lose all your chips and one person wins all the chips. The winner takes home a prize. It could be a cash prize or something else.
2. Now you may be asking what are we doing bringing gambling into the church? Let me share my thoughts on this. You are free to disagree with me, but at least hear me out. I don’t feel that this is “gambling” this is more of a “pay to play” type of game, much like other games. You pay to play in a golf tournament. You pay to play in a bowling tournament or darts tournament. You pay to play in bingo. The winner takes home some prize or a cash prize. These are games that men like to play, to compete and see if they can win. Sometimes there are prizes sometimes there are no prizes.
3. Gambling would be more of a “pay AS you play” Meaning you use cash for each game and you keep on using cash to play each hand and there is no limit to what you can lose. This is not what we are doing.
4. We are going to be having a men’s Texas Hold’em card game night several times this year. Why are we doing this? Because we know lots of guys like to get together and hang out with each other and play cards. We want to encourage them to do this in a Christian environment. We believe that the fruit of this will be men building stronger relationships with other men, redemptive relationships. We believe strongly that fellowship is a worthy cause and a very spiritual event.
But why do something that may even appear to be wrong? Jn 2:1-11
1. Now this is a legitimate question, one that is a bit difficult to answer. The best I can do is to point to Jesus’ behavior as my example. Jesus often did things that could easily appear to be wrong.
2. Has it ever bothered you that Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast? His first miracle was not healing some blind man. His first miracle was not healing some deaf man or some cripple or some leper. His first miracle was not feeding the poor. No, His first miracle was to make wine for a wedding reception.
3. In John 2:1-11, Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding reception. When it looked like the host was running out of wine, Jesus turned some water into wine, just to keep the party going. Praise God! What kind of statement was this making? Why would Jesus do this? Doesn’t He know that alcohol is bad, and that people’s lives are ruined by alcohol? Doesn’t He know that He should abstain from any appearances of evil? Why would He something like this?
4. We can speculate all we want about why He did it, but let me just say this, “The fact is He did it!” He turned water into wine, lots of wine and it was good wine and the people drank it all up! We can be sure that what Jesus did here was not wrong. It may appear to be wrong to us, but I can assure you it was not wrong to His Heavenly Father. Jesus was always right!
5. What would you all think if I went to a wedding reception next week and they ran out of wine and I performed a miracle and provided lots and lots of good wine for everyone? Some Christians may feel this behavior of Jesus was inappropriate, and a bit embarrassing. But then Jesus has always been a bit of an embarrassment to the religious people.
6. Whenever we do something for the first time it has great significance. It sort of sets the pace for the rest that follows. The Bible teaches us that the firstfruits can determine whether all that follows is either holy or cursed. That is why tithes are so important in establishing God’s rule in our finances. (Romans 11) I believe that it is not coincidence that Jesus performed His FIRST miracle at a wedding party.
7. Anyone who wants to take this and justify their sinful behavior will have to answer to God. They are not going to be able to justify their drunkenness by blaming Jesus for making wine at a wedding. They are going to have to answer for themselves. The fact is that some people are going to go out and get drunk and try to justify their behavior by saying that Jesus made wine at the wedding feast. We may wish He did not make that wine, but we cannot stray from the truth taught in God’s Word. He made wine at the wedding feast and it was His first miracle and it was not wrong!
8. We need to be sensitive to what we are doing and what we allow in our lives, but we need to be careful that what we determine to be “inappropriate” behavior to us may be more of a cultural issue than it is a spiritual issue.
Jesus danced to a different religious tune Matt 11:16-19
1. Matt 11:16-19 “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and you have not danced, we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking and they say, He has a devil. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’ But wisdom is justified of her children.”
2. Jesus danced to a different tune than the religious people of his day. Can I just say, that has been my problem! I have always danced to a different tune than the “normal” pastor. I have tried to be normal and dance to the tune of “other” churches, but I just can’t. But I am glad to say that I am in good company. Jesus did not dance to the tune of the religious people either.
3. This passage makes it clear that Jesus lived His faith differently. It is interesting to hear what He was accused of. If Jesus was living a “monastic” kind of life do you think He would have been accused of being a “wine drinker and a glutton?” How people can actually believe that Jesus did not drink wine is just an indication of their inability to process through their own prejudices. He definitely drank wine! The truth is, Jesus danced to a different tune than the religious people of his day. He did not give Himself over to sin and unrighteousness, but yet He lived a life that was quite a bit different than most religious people of His day and it caused a lot of grief, and it cost Him dearly. He often did things that appeared to be “unreligious or unspiritual.” I truly believe if Jesus was walking the earth today, many Christians would have a hard time with Him. He just was not very religious yet He was very, very spiritual!
4. Don’t misunderstand me. Do not get the idea that I am trying to justify drunkenness or sinful living. I simply want to drive home the point that our Jesus often leaves us a bit embarrassed by what He does and how He calls us to live. Even John the Baptist had trouble accepting some of the antics of Jesus. But remember that Jesus said; “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matt 11:6
5. Many Pharisees were among those who found Jesus an embar-rassment to their preconceived images of what religion was all about. They were convinced that His free spirited lifestyle was a contradiction to what they considered to be marks of true spirituality. I believe that the Pharisees were sincere people and they were very religious, but “they were wrong.” They were not reaching the people that Jesus came to reach, the broken, the hurt, the downcast, the hopeless, the fatherless and the widow. They were more concerned that they kept to their religious rules.
6. We need to be more like Jesus than like the Pharisees. We need to be open to reaching out to those who are hurting. We need to be careful that we don’t become too religious. We also need to be careful that we don’t sell out and say, “Anything goes.” We need to stay close to what the Bible says, and follow Jesus as our example.
7. Some people may get upset about this, I realize it, and I want to be sensitive to this. If you would like to talk to any of the ministers about this we would welcome the opportunity. I am sorry for offending anyone, but I am passionate about my desire to build a strong church, and that involves reaching and building men.
8. We are becoming more intentional about bringing balance to the church. We want to let men see Jesus not only as kind and loving but also as a strong full bodied man who kicked over tables, hung out with the guys in the streets, and spent 40 days as the first “wilderness/survival man.”