Where Are The Men - Part 1
The Spirit Of Pharoah
And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live Exodus 1: 15-16
Just about every Sunday that I come to church, I see men. Some are fathers and others are single. They are young, middle aged, and senior citizens; all races are represented. They are cutting their lawns, washing their cars, fishing and watching television. They are doing everything except going to church.
Statistics demonstrate that this is not just a personal observation of mine. In fact, studies show that less than 40% of adults in most churches are men. Not only that, but between 20-25% of married women that attend church go without their husband.
The men who are in church are over 50 and they are bored stiff. Churches are concerned about the youth and the lost; and we should be. But what about the men?
I’ve found that men, in general, simply don’t like to go to church. And one reason is that the church service isn’t set up for men. The church is a delivery system; we deliver the Word of God. But sooner or later we are going to have to examine how we do what we do. Because when it comes to our results in reaching men, we are a failure.
Many men want to know God, but they want nothing to do with the church. And that’s a problem. It is mainly a "church" problem. Women with husbands that refuse to go to church are a church problem. Men in the church that are bored with the church are a church problem. Pastors that are having a difficult time attracting and retaining men is a church problem. And the church needs to figure out how to straighten it out.
Something is sucking the life right out of our men. I call it "The Spirit of Pharaoh". In biblical times when the nation of Israel were slaves in Egypt, Pharaoh wanted to kill the men and leave the women. He knew that without the men, sooner or later, they would die out; at least from the standpoint of being a people that mattered. This same spirit is moving in our churches today, and it is sapping the life out of our churches.
I know a lot of men. They are a man’s man. They can build motors and houses. They can go out into the woods with a bow and arrow and kill a deer too big to carry. They work hard and drive Tacoma’s (ever seen those Tacoma commercials). They are deep thinkers and creative inventors, and when they start something, they finish it. Whatever they put their hands to do, they do it right. If they involve themselves in something, it’s something they perceive to be worthy.
But if you ask them why they don’t go to church, and they will likely give you some lame excuse. The truth is that for so long the church has programmed women "in" and men "out". As a result, the men have too many other things to do. They have work, hobbies and entertainment to occupy themselves. You see, men don’t sit around and wait on someone to find something of interest for them they do; they will find it for themselves. Unfortunately, many of our men have gotten addicted to the wrong things.
Men feel like church is for women and children, and there is nothing there for them. That’s not true, or at least it shouldn’t be. Jesus had twelve disciples, and they were all men. Many of the biblical heroes were men. Men wrote most of the bible, and 95% of pastors are men. The church is not a men’s club or a women’s club. But there is so much willingness on the part of women to carry on, that men use that as an excuse to not do anything.
The church is having a major problem reaching men. Visit some churches and see for yourself. Single Christian women are having a difficult time finding qualified husbands. When I speak of men, I’m speaking of the tough, hard working, high achieving, risk taking, visionary men. These may not fit the neck-tie wearing model we associate with church.
Many of the men in the church are there, but they are not there to be transformed. They are pressured to attend by their wife, mother or girlfriend. They are just nice, humble, dutiful fellows that won’t cause any trouble. They are not motivated to do anything. If they are needed for a project or to sit on a board, they’ll blend right in. They will march with the beat but never consider changing it.
Think for a moment about men like Moses, Elijah, David, Peter and Paul. They were rough, and they risked it all for God. They fought God’s battles no matter what the odds were against them. They spoke their minds and didn’t mind stepping on the toes of the religious people. They were true leaders, like men are supposed to be.
Who is the gospel reaching today? Women, women ministries, women conferences, women bible studies and women retreats. Peter preached five minutes and 3000 men got saved. But the church today don’t draw men, they repel them.
I’m not sure that men intentionally reject God, although some are just proud and want to do their own thing. But lots of them have gotten distracted by the cares of this world and have just lost interest in church.
Let me point out that women deal with many of the same things that men do. They have dealt with broken homes, single parents and abuse. They are just as susceptible to worldliness as men are.
But they are in church and serving God. And I believe the main reason is that the church draws women while driving away men. Most have seriously tried church, and two out of three find it not even worth two hours one day once a week.
When men need relief, they go fishing, to a game, to work, to a bar or out in the garage. Ninety percent of men in the United States say they believe in God, five out of six say they are Christians, two out of six go to church and those in church are not transformed. This is a worldwide snapshot.
I believe the church has to change because it cannot make it without men. I am happy to see para-churches and other organizations having success in reaching men, but it is clear to me that we need a revival of men. We don’t need men to occupy pew space, but men who genuinely love Jesus and are there to change this world. I’m speaking of a cultural shift that only men can maneuver. Let’s face it; this problem has been this way for too long.
I want to encourage you to join with me in claiming a massive renewal in the hearts and minds of our men, that God, through His anointing, will bring conviction on the hearts of our men worldwide. And let us pray that churches will be able to adapt to the changes it needs to manage the place God has for men in our churches.
By: Edmund Brown