Why do men stay away?

October 20, 2011

Gathered around the coffeepot in a church fellowship hall on a fall Sunday, a gaggle of men are talking with animation and passion, joking and bragging in the way of males. The topic? Football, of course. "How 'bout them Devils! D'ya see that pick six in the third quarter? Amazing! Hey, Joe, sorry about your Dawgs! Maybe you'll get 'em next week, if they don't fire your coach first!" In a few minutes, many will wander into worship, the married ones joining their wives. As the first hymn begins, some of them will stand and keep silent guard, staring mutely into space as the women beside them sing.

What is it with men and church? We men are famously outnumbered, to be sure. According to a recent survey, we make up only 39 percent of the worshipers in a typical congregation. This is not just because we die earlier and leave the pews filled with the sturdier gender. The percentages hold across the board, for every age category.

Even when we do show up for worship, we're often not particularly happy about it. This is not breaking news, of course. Study after study has shown that many men who name themselves as Christian feel bored, alienated and disengaged from church. When we drag ourselves to church, researchers say, it is not for ourselves but to fulfill the obligations of our roles as son, husband, father or pastor.

Why are men and the church often at odds? Sadly, many of the answers are as insulting as they are misguided. Some researchers are persuaded that the antipathy of men to church resides at the hormonal level. They argue that men, loaded as they are with testosterone, have a proclivity to impulsive, risk-taking, occasionally violent action—exactly the behavior disallowed in the soft world of worship. Given this theory, what enticements can the wimpy church possibly offer us men when we compare it to the joys of hiding away in a man cave, stuffing our maws with pizza and beer as we watch Da Bears and heading out after sundown to rip off a few wheel covers and rumble in the Wal-Mart parking lot?

Others propose a more political and historical explanation, namely that centuries of male control of the church have yielded to an ineluctable force of feminization. Pastel worship, passive and sentimental images of the Christian life, handholding around the communion table and hymns that coo about lover-boy Jesus who "walks with me and talks with me" have replaced stronger, more masculine themes. One man reported that the first thing he does when he walks into a church is to look at the curtains. One glance tells him all he needs to know about who's making the decisions.

Really? The feminine erosion of the church? As David Foster Wallace said in a different context, this is an idea "so stupid it practically drools." Even sillier are the proposed masculine remedies. One website suggests "Ten Ways to Man Up Your Church," beginning with obtaining "a manly pastor" who projects "a healthy masculinity." This patently ignores strong women clergy, of course, but it also denigrates the capacity of men to recognize and respond to able leadership regardless of gender or stereotypes. I recently visited a church with a chest-thumping manly pastor. After worship, one man in the congregation confided, "I feel like I'm on the set of a Tarzan movie." As for "manning up" worship, I know that if my church begins handing out NASCAR jackets with the bulletins, I'm going to look for a different church—maybe one with lace curtains.

Still, the numbers don't lie. Men are staying away from church. The reasons are undoubtedly complex, but perhaps a clue can be found in a Christian group that attracts men and women in roughly equal numbers: Eastern Orthodoxy. A cynic might say that men are attracted to Orthodoxy because it is conservative, with an all-male clergy, many of them sporting beards. The finding of religion journalist Frederica Mathewes-Green, however, is closer to the truth. She surveyed male adult converts and discovered that Orthodoxy's main appeal is that it's "challenging." One convert said, "Orthodoxy is serious. It is difficult. It is demanding. It is about mercy, but it is also about overcoming myself." Another said that he was sick of "bourgeois, feel-good American Christianity."

Yes, some churchgoers are satisfied with feel-good Christianity, but I think many Christians—women and men—yearn for a more costly, demanding, life-changing discipleship. Perhaps women are more patient when they don't find it, or more discerning of the deeper cross-bearing opportunities that lie beneath the candied surface. Men take a walk or hang around the church coffeepot talking in jargon about football: another disciplined and costly arena of life in which people sacrifice their bodies and their individual desires for a larger cause that matters to them, at least for the moment. Near transcendence is preferable to no transcendence at all.


Good article, but Christian

Good article, but Christian women that I know are more concerned with their husbands coming to faith.  Church attendance would be great, but some agonize over the fact that their husbands don't appear to have a relationship with Christ.  How do we get them there first?  Why are men resistant to faith?  Or are they?  Maybe it's how faith is practiced, which brings us full circle to the topic of this article.  Are some men in relationship with Christ, but have no value for the organized Church and can we be okay with that?  Are we maybe trying to enforce the less important thing?  I don't have the answers--just thinking and asking aloud.


Pat Pope

Maybe 'relationship' is the problem

It's difficult to engage with this topic without falling into stereotypes, but might part of the issue be with that construction of the notion of 'relationship'? Some of us (and groups of men maybe display this collectively) value relationships in terms of shared tasks or mutual challenges rather than surges of emotion or tender conversation. Personally, I'm alienated by the eroticisation of some church worship in its emotional outpourings to Jesus; increasingly, I've been drawn to ritualised, sacramental worship that accepts the 'relationship' as a fact without harping on about it. I can't speak for other men (and I'm not particualrly proud of this trait in myself) but have grown tired of peple implying I'm not'saved' because I don't treat Jesus as my best buddy or my lover

Men do not stay away!

realize that Christian Century, a name I am not all that happy about on
our global Interfaith landscape including North America, is by and
large an American magazine. Most writers take for granted that they are
writing for their faithful readers in the US!

Well, I have been reading this magazine since age 12 – second year of
immersion in colonial English. To be more accurate, Thomas Long’s
rhetorical query: Why do men stay away (from church)? should be, Why do
American men stay away? Why do Canadian men stay away? Last summer I was
guest minister at the Cathedral of St. Machar’s, Aberdeen, Scotland
where I could have posed : Why do Scottish men stay away? Why do English
men stay away?

On the other hand, I have been part of an older
Christian tradition where, with a few exception, men gladly have always
been involved in the life and work of the local parish. Therefore, I
would not dare to ask: Why do Mar Thoma/ Syrian Orthodox/Church of South
India men stay away. They don’t. Also, it is quite the same for Coptic
and other Orthodox Church men, and in fact for most men elsewhere
outside the western church.

Having been part of the thing
called ‘western or European Christianity’ for over four decades, I have
been asking an unsettling question to most of friends: Why did western
Christianity fail? Yes, it is an untouchable query which 99% of
theologians and church leaders wouldn’t address it with a 10-foot pole!.
The gravity of the church and the design of Christianity have been
stunningly shifting for better in the south and east and, I am afraid,
for the worse in the the north and west.

In my first-century
Mar Thoma Nasarani family men never stayed away. Prof. Long might want
to rephrase his query: Why do most men and youth stay away from the
church in the former Constantinian Christendom? Check out at the local
parishes in Canada and the US, where Malabar (St. Thomas) Christians
meet Sunday after Sunday. The men are very much there.


That means it is an issue Western Christianity has to deal with - afterall, we are part of the global church!

All about men

Prof. Long needs to say it poud and clear. The gravity of the church has shifted back to east and south; therefore it is no big deal whatever happenes in one region.

All about men

Prof. Long needs to say it poud and clear. The gravity of the church has shifted back to east and south; therefore it is no big deal whatever happens in one region - the church of Jesus is much bigger than one denomination or one region!

man and church

Most of the men I know that go to church with their families are there because they are expected to be.  In my experience women are most often the instigators for church attendance and men go because they feel they have to or they will hear things like " this is for our family why can't you go to' when those very men never had a desire to attend to begin with. Guilt does not make a man find faith.

Secondly with a wife that takes children to church and does not 'force' the husband to go to church he finds quiet time in  his own home that he rarely has or he has private time to do other things he enjoy like golf, fishing, etc.

The biggest mistake a woman can make is forcing or guilting a man into attending church because she wants to.  That only leads to a quiet resentment and the men are not getting the holy spirit because they are silently defensive and are not seeking it.


man and church

my response to this would be, what does this man say about being the "head" of his family?  If he takes this role at home, then he should be also taking the responsibility for the spiritual aspect as well, since these are one and the same.  This is what the "head" means according to the Bible.  This is not a role that women are "forcing" men into, but a role that God has ordained for the man, otherwise, he should not be considering himself the "head" of his home either, his wife should be if she is the one having to be forced into the role of spirutal leadership when he is refusing to take it.  If you disagree with me, then read your Bible and see what the parallel is between what the man's role is supposed to be and that of Jesus as the "head" of the church.  He was supposed to care for it, lead it spiritually, and to sacrifice for it.  Too many men think that being the "head" means that he has the "power," that he has the "right" to dictate and control, to force all decisions, to be the last word, to be abusive, to make his woman care for him, rather than him caring for her and putting her first and loving her as he is supposed to as he cares for himself, and that he is supposed to sacrifice himself for her.  Men do not act in accordance with the role that they were given in the Bible.  They most often act in selfish, and self-serving ways, and it is for these reasons that we do not see marriages succeed.  The Bible also tells men to submit to God in the same ways that men want their women to submit to them, but they are not doing it.  The spiritual role should be the one that men carry, as that is THEIR role, not the woman's role!  The woman has had to take that role repeatedly!  Men blaming the women are simply doing the same thing that Adam did to Eve in the Garden of Eden...the very first lie and sin against another human being...blaming her for his sin!  When men get right with God this will all go away, and men will do what his right.  Until then, we will continue to see men blaming women for what they do wrong, as we always have!  

As far as the man having time that he rarely has, women rarely ever have time away for themselves either.  It is what comes with having a family.  That is just the pure selfishness I spoke of earlier regarding men.  They think only of themselves, and never of others.  They need to also give their wives time away too, but they also need to have time with God, which is the most important.  When they put their priorities in order, then everything else will fall into place (Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you).  It's time to quit excusing all the actions that men use to justify their actions, and to hold them accountable.  It does not help them, but it only hinders them in terms of helping them to become right with God, and with their families.  It is time for men to "man up" and do what they need to do!

"Head" of the Home

Well, I got in on this one late. Does sin, irresponsibility and being "unspiritual" come with being born male? Don't the latest sitcoms put down the Dad as the irresponsible, unfaithful, stupid buffoon too? Is it only men whe excuse themselves for their own sin" and fail to "man up". If you try preaching it the way Paul did, and preach to BOTH sexes at the same time, as in Ephesians 5:22-30 and the way Peter did in 1 Peter 3:1-7, I think it will do some good and I would be willing to bet, if I were a betting man, that you would see some women leaving your church too . I hear it all the time "I'm never going to submit to any man". I've even heard preachers defend women for not submitting because hubby wasn't "doing his part". (but see 1 Peter 3:1 again)

Women are to be leaders in the home too. Too much saying "I have a headache" in the bedroom, for instance, is certainly not being the leader God called you to be; it's actually called "defrauding" in the Bible. It's not a one sided thing, preach to both, on mother's day and fathers day. Make the men feel successful too, and you might see a difference.

men in church

Men and women work long days during the week.  Many women find quiet evenings at home rewarding and relaxing.  Men as well enjoy time with their families but do not find time to do the things they enjoy in life without their families.  Saturdays are ball games, gymnastics class, working around the house etc.  Long story short men are jealous of their free time and to most church is not an acceptable use of it.

You nailed it.  I work hard,

You nailed it.  I work hard, in doors, all week long.  The last thing I want to do is be cooped up inside listening to something I'm not into anyway.  Our family likes to get out and do something more active.  We enjoy our time together more that way.  Life goes by fast and kids grow way too quickly.  Make the most of that time together.

Family time

One of the best ways to enjoy your time together as a family is to participate in faith-based community service activities, e.g., fighting hunger, homelessness.  As a valuable by-product, you and your children will learn about the value of God's love, Christ's example, and the joy of giving.


I don’t go to church because the congregation
pledged allegiance to the flag during Holy Communion. I told the pastor, after
the first time we did this, that I would leave and not come back if that ever
happened again. The next time I attended, it did happen. I believe that saying
this pledge during Communion was blasphemy. The pastor is leaving this month. I
might now after several years go back to church. I have attend services but
none in which we celebrated Communion.

I did take offense at other matters. Listening to The
Battle Hymn of the Republic four times in one year annoyed me. A parishioner interrupted
and disrupted an aria by Mozart because he did not want Latin used in a service.
That was a bit much.  And I won’t go into
detail about the small groups. I hate talking about football at church even
though I am a fan of the fame.

I resented as well that not once has my congregation
celebrated the union movement on the Sunday before Labor Day, though after a
very long time, they did finally mention working people.I have endured attacks on unions in our men's prayer group. I no longer take part in that little mess of a minstry.

Going to church or being a disciple?

Jesus said to, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons." Everything Jesus said to do demands a reliance on the Holy Spirit who indwells you. This kind of life isn't boring, but is costly and requires a willingness to sacrifice everything for the Kingdom of God. There are people living this. Men *and* women need to see the real deal.

men and church attendance

I recently finished David Morrow's book "Why Men Hate Going to Church". The title caught my attention because after serving as a pastor for 37 years I noticed a dearth of men in the pews. Although in some ways Murrow is a bit over the top in his suggestions, I did find his suggestions that men need to be challenged to become more involved valid. I appreciated his insight that "women get to know each other face to face", while "men get to know each other side by side" convincing. Women being more program oriented and men more project oriented.

Murrow also raised the observation and pondered why so many more African-American men are attracted to Islam than to Christianity.

If nothing else it's sensitized me to the "trappings" of my local congregation and to look at things happening while asking myself if they have a more feminine or masculine flavor to them.

Murrow also pointed out how the typical number of options for men in christian book stores is miniscule in comparison to the options for women. This is a subject that will continue to be with us for years to come and one worth pondering and exploring.



Consider all the widows in

Consider all the widows in the pews.  Alas, their husbands aren't able to make it to church any longer!  

This whole thing about the

This whole thing about the "femininization" of churches is such a crock!  I have never been in a church that has been run by women, nor have I ever walked into a church that has had these "feminine" touches.  Churches are run by men.  As a church board member, we have one board member who is a woman, and I know this is true of most churches that I have been privvy to. This is just another excuse that men are using to not attend church, and to go and do what they want to do instead of attending church!  Men will use whatever excuse that they can to not be spiritual.  If this was applicable to just churchgoing it would be one thing, but this extends into the home as well.  The responsibility for the spirituality in the home falls to the women, and very rarely to the men.  Someone just posted about the man being the "head" of the home and taking that role on, and how this falls to the woman.  I agree with that, as men are shirking that responsibility, and seem to have always done so in our day and time.  As a therapist, I see this in my practice repeatedly.  Our divorce rate remains high because men are not doing what they need to do in their homes...this is not opinion, it has been researched and is a fact.

I do concur with the other individual who posted; we need to start helping our families take on the spiritual roles that God assigned so that our families can heal and can become what God meant for them to be.  As men, we need to hold each other accountable, and not accept this whole line about "women running the church" - if they are, it's because we haven't done what we're supposed to, and about the "feminization" of churches.  Even God has both male and female qualities (God made them in his image, male and FEMALE he created them).  That means that we should have both men and women represented in our churches, not just men.  Let's own this and work together!  Let's quit being sexist and segretory!  Jesus never was!  If we are supposed be CHRISTians, then let's follow the example of our Master!


attending church doesn't mean you are spiritual.

I don't atttend church anymore not because I'm not spiritual.  I worship sing praises pray and read the bible daily.  I also don't spend my weekends on the couch with a beer watching football.  I would love to attend a church that required sacrifice and was about the work of the father.  But I refuse to attend church where the only goal of its memebers is to justify thier own beliefe that they are better than others and use their "faithfulness" as proof.  

You may have attended a church where only one board memeber was a woman.  But I have worked in three churches in the past 10 years and every board was made up of women with only one or two men present,  I watched events being planned for the church where nearly half of the meeting was spent discussing menue and decorations.  Not that food and surroundings shouldn't be considered for worship and fellowship but priorities are important.

I have a deep relationship with my savior and share my faith at the drop of a hat.  I bring up my children in the way they should go and my wife understands and agrees with my stance on attending church.  I will attend the first church I find in my area that serves the Lord and not themselves.  A church that has the lights on more than once a week.

If I had a nickle for every time I heard a minister male and female read a feel good mushy chain email (that always turned out to be fiction and not rooted in truth) instead of hearing the word of God and scripture in church I'd have enough money to build my own sanctuary.

Maybe instead of denying that there is a problem with the male attendence in the US and claiming that the reason is the Sunday Football schedule and deciding that men are the problem so there is not need to change.  Maybe you should examine your church and its ministry and become more like Christ.   

majority of the congregation is women

Church is most certainly feminized.  Leadership, even if all male, caters to the majority of the congregation (women) and their “need” to be comfortable.  Promise Keepers is a genuine effort to get men together for worship of Christ.  And to accept the challenges that are presented.  Unfortunately – PK is on top of the current schedule that men are already obligated to in their home churches.  This conflicts with the wife’s schedules, takes away some of her time with her husband, and is not appreciated when he relays to her the details of how men “worship”.  Men are wired to focus on one thing at a time and a need to have some alone time.  Women are wired to be always connected.  Too bad Mary was not a Max when contrasted with Martha.  So our churches follow Martha in laboring to make the church comfortable while Max (or an occasional Mary) seeks to gain the focus and strength of the challenge the Master seeks to lay before us.  Ever notice how well many men outside the church do at hanging out with one another?  Ever notice that church men often don’t hang out with the guys as often?  Don’t know which came first, but church discourages risk and challenges OR men who don’t look for risk and challenges are drawn to church.

Go to Eastern Europe

  Orthodoxy  may attract CONVERTS from men and women equally; standing in churches you will find more women than men, of all ages.  Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania: they all have church as something for children and old women.  The only ones who bother with the serious demands of fasting and prostrations are a small minority.  Converts are notoriously more intense than those born and raised in Orthodoxy.  For most Orthodox here in North America, it's an ethnic club and a place their grandparent hope the kids find someone to marry.

The Paradigm is Changing

I've been in Eastern Europe recently, and can say that this characterization may once have been true but is changing quite rapidly, particularly in Ukraine, but also in Russia and Romania.  In these countries, churches once full of young children and old women are now populated by young couples and their children.  Men are seeking something more spiritually nourishing than that offered by the mindless materialism that replaced communism in Eastern Europe.  The change is also reflected in the large number of men entering seminaries and monasteries.  I can't vouch for everywhere, but Ukrainian Greek Catholic seminaries have four applicants for every available space (even after a large increase in the number of seminaries), while in the Podkarpatsko region the Theodore Romzha and Paul Gojdych Seminaries have waiting lists with more than four hundred names--each.

In Romania, I found both the Orthodox and the Greek Catholic Churches taking a leading role in the regeneration of moral and spiritual life in a country crushed both by totalitarian dictatorship and rampant poverty.  I visited many churches across the country, some new, some old and some in the process of restoration.  In most of them I found the congregations to be a representative sample of the general population, but I was most profoundly impressed and affected by the large number of young people I saw--teenage boys and girls, young married couples with their children.  Monastic institutions are large and flourishing.

Now, I will admit that Greece is a very different case, deserving of its own separate study. Only about 5% of Greeks go to Liturgy on a given Sunday, and most of them are, indeed populated entirely by widows.  But I would submit that Greece is really part of Western European culture, and long ago absorbed its secular materialism.  Orthodoxy is considered part of the Greek identity, even by Greek Orthodox churchmen.  To be Greek is to be Orthodox, and it seldom goes beyond that.  But what is true in Greece is not true elsewhere.

Challenging faith

I agree wholeheartedly, that American Christian churches need to embrace the challenges of following Christ!  Making everything easy and comfortable is misrepresenting the life of faith.  The few churches who are growing are the strict evangelicals who preach the narrow path.

Fact Value Split

Some years ago Leslie Newbigin wrote about the fact/value split in our western culture.  If I remember correctly, he posited that men are more fact oriented and women are more value oriented.  The church, in its attempt to manage the morality of culture, comes across more value than fact based.  Newbigin felt this was a major reason why men, at least in the late 20th century, were not active in faith communities.  I have seen some evidence of this in those congregations that are more law (fact) based, men are active in worship and leadership.  I don't support the practice of law over gospel, however it might help us understand the issue and lead us to ideas of how we might preach and teach.

Letter from Bruce Larson

I  agree with Thomas G. Long ( “Why do men stay away?” Nov. 1) that the reasons men stay away from church “are undoubtedly complex.” But the author’s use of a tired stereotype about men undermines his point. Though Long may have been sarcastic in characterizing the desirable male experience as “hiding away in a man cave, stuffing our maws with pizza and beer as we watch Da Bears,” neither I nor any of the men in my life fit such a stereotype. For decades, writers concerned about justice have abandoned using stereotypes about women. We owe men the same consideration. 

Bruce Larson

Columbus, Ohio

Other Stereotypes

Well, hiding in the man-cave is one male stereotype, but it's just one of many.  Others include (just from my own personal observations):

1. Sleep in, eat bagels, read the NY Times and watch Meet the Press (Northeastern Elite Male)

2. Play golf (Professional male)

3. Mow lawn, wash car (Suburban Male)

4. Run or Bike (Fitness Male)

Note that all of these have one thing in common:  they place one activity or another over offering God that which is His due, even for one hour or so per week.  And while I would be the last person to say that worship should be concerned about what we get out of it, it seems clear that a lot of men not only don't get anything out of it, they don't seem to feel that they are giving anything to it.

Catholic author Leon Podles, in his book The Church Impotent:  The Feminization of Christianity (available as PDF here:  http://www.podles.org/church-impotent.htm) is just one of many who has noted the decline in male participation in any activity once female partcipation rises to a certain level (which is why one now has to speak of a "male nurse"), and who has seen evidence of this in the Church.  He traces the problem as far back as St. Bernard of Clairvaux's "New Piety", with its "Bridegroom theology" and use of nuptial imagery.  The result has been, over the centuries, a sentimentalizing of Christianity, even to the point of being maudlin, and, as someone here pointed out, a kind of eroticization of the relationship between Christ and the worshiper which normal men will always find uncomfortable, if not entirely off-putting.

Khouria Frederica Matthewes-Green may have taken note of this in passing, but it deserves more emphasis:  the Eastern Church, in addition to missing out on the Reformation and the Enlightenment, also missed out on the medieval New Piety, and thus managed to maintain more successfully the dynamic tension between the obviously feminine aspects of the Gospel and its more masculine elements--headship, courage, discipline, self-sacrifice, self-denial.  These are virtues to which real men are attracted, and to which most men aspire.  They are looking for a faith that requires them to be real men, rather than chastizing them for being who and what they are.  Western Christianity needs to break the bonds of feminization that have taken it hostage, if it expects to lure men back to church on Sundays. 

Convert after all these years

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!  My entry into Orthodoxy was unexpected; if you would've asked me a year ago if this would ever have happened I would have denied it. Yet, the journey was very long; my mother Church being the Roman Church, being an altar boy witnessing all of the changes of VII, and the feeling from that time that this was not a transfiguration or even a reformation--for me it was a deformation--a complete break with Tradition.  As a young adult, I was introduced to the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church--I never officially changed "Rites" yet it was my "Church" in praxis and daily life.  After five years on Oahu, Hawaii, with the tiny Ukrainian Greek Catholic Mission of St. Sophia's, and the calamities which recently befell it there, I began attending both Coptic and Russian Orthodox Liturgies on the Island.  The Russian Church had and still has a miraculous Myhrr Streaming Icon of the Most Blessed and Holy Mother of God.  In addition to this, a Blessing Cross began streaming before my very eyes on the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamos, during Great Lent.  After some prayer, I realized that the Orthodox Church is where Our Blessed Lord and Blessed Lady wanted me and so I made the commitment and entered the chatecumenate.  Although I still have some struggles with Church structure, in general, which is not uncommon for Catholic's or Protestants entering the Orthodox Church, I am beginning to accept the teachings of the Orthodox Church, which adopted this orphan, in all humility.  I possessed great anger at the length that the Roman Church strayed from its Western teaching--now that I am Orthodox, I do not harbor such ill feeling toward my Mother Church who abandoned me and countless others. All I can say is that, for me, I am finally home and I have never been happier. 

He may be on to something

The good Reverend Long has hit upon something that has clearly sparked a good bit of debate commentary. That Eastern Orthodoxy has welcomed so many men and women could be due to a number of reasons...bearded male clergy? Perhaps. Way cool ikons? Sure. Liturgy that pulls one into the deep mystery of God? Hey now!

To paraphrase David: "I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing." The Western Church long ago abandoned all claims on its members. The expectation of full, active participation in the life of the church has dissipated; so much so that our pleas for increased attendance sound puny and mewling. Who thinks that is inviting?

Rather "manning-up" (ugh, I despise that term) to "de-feminize" the church, or pursuing any other pseudo-contemporary response to waning attendance (male or female), maybe we could offer up apostle clothes? Hand out cards that read, "there is no longer slave or free, male or female?"

I imagine the clothes of an apostle come dearly. It might work.

Why do men stay away.

A very interesting concept since most churches follow patriarchy.or male leadership roles for men. Men in charge over women. Some how men seem to shy away fro this system because it can't be right. Maybe men would rather be equal with women and share and serve wth them the way the apostle Paul taught in Ephesians 5:21-33.  I noticed this strange concept in a Southern Baptist church where  men preach and collect money and do usherg the male things. Women take care of the children and wash dishes and listen to men tell them what to do and serve in womens jobs. mabe if all shared, including women preaching maybe the men would even show upon a regular basis. Besides all the members together make up the church a beautiful woman, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 & 1Corinthians 12:13-14,27 - Matthew 25:1-13. Its all about servant leadership not male domination with men expecting women to serve them. Jesus Christ forbade such a false concept of patriarchy in Matthew 20:25-28, Luke 22:25-28, Mark 10:41-46. Just my egalitarian opinion.

Why we don't attend (SINGLE CHRISTIAN MALE)

i just wanted to know: when did we start to equate a man's relationship with Christ/God with how much he does or does not attend church. I believe that a lot of women put their church service, their church work, and thier pastor's priorities before their Husbands. As one gentlemen said earlier we as men are suppose to be the spiritual leaders of our homes but we never get the chance to do that because we are labled as unspiritual because we don't attend church services. When this life is over i really don't think God/Christ will be concerned with how much we did or didn't attend church. Jesus himself made this evident when he said "Many will say in that day Lord Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works" and in this phrase im pretty sure we could add " have we not went to church enough". The strange part is how Christ answers these people who wear their piety on their sleeves like a polo shirt "And then i will profess unto them, i never knew you depart from me you workers of iniquity. PS. Going to church every sunday does not make you no more a christian than standing in your garage would make you a BMW. WE ARE COMMISSIONED TO MAKE DESCIPLES OF MEN NOT CHURCH GOERS

Why Men Stay Away

My current church is made up of 75% women.  Most are older women (over 55), and most are single.  The Church Women's group is nothing but a gripe, complain, and gossip group.  It is the epitomy of dysfunction.  When they decorate the church for Christmas or Easter, they get together and argue about to decorate.  They control what colors we paint the walls, so our walls and carpeting are all done in feminine color schemes. They are more concerned with "control" than they are with reaching people for Christ.  They constantly run off the younger people by shooting down their new ideas.

Why would any younger people or men want to be a part of a church like mine?  I know I wouldn't.

The feminine church

Hmmm... this is the other side of 'women are more spiritual', isn't it.  Or 'women are more relational and interpersonal'.  What happens when the 'interpersonal' consists of gossip and complaining, like Rev. JREwing says?  Men stay away and who can blame them?

Different senses of duty

Men and women are shaped by a culture that expects different things from them. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that most women who attend church either 1) don't really want to be there or 2) attend for reasons that have nothing to do with worship or the message of the institution. It's about "what you're supposed to do." both men and women are raised to believe that going to church is what they are supposed to do, but only with the way we acculturate women does this rise to a level of perceived duty. Men are conditioned to believe that where "what you're supposed to do" rises to the level of duty is primarily in the arena of work. Women, on the other hand, are conditioned to feel far less of a sense of duty about work and a far greater sense of duty to fulfill perceived social obligations - like attending church. A man who does not want to attend church does not feel like he has failed in carrying out a duty because he does not attend, but many women in the same position do. Women attend church more than men mostly for the same reason that they are more likely to care more than men about the cleanliness of the house before company comes over: cultural conditioning about what their duties are.

'cos most men are too smart

'cos most men are too smart to be taken in, i prefer to stay at home and worship the TV, i like something i can believe in.

Why I Stay Away

I can't speak for all men. I stay away because I feel that church has become focused on women, and in some cases, openly antagonistic toward men. Most men aren't comfortable with hugging, or even greeting the people next to them in the audience. There's no real attempt to deal with how men are supposed to relate to Jesus. I have no idea why I need to feel that I have any value to my church or my community when 2/3 of the congregation is women. It feels like a women's club, and I'm smothered in estrogen. I go a few times a year to make my wife feel that I'm supportive of her, but i don't feel any connection to the message.

Are men actually wanted in the church? Why? What value do we have other than more bodies in the audience? What is the special value of men to the congregation? No one actually addresses that.

Why? I've often asked the question.

At our church, on Mother's Day, the ladies get praised for their value and service as mothers. But on Father's Day, the men are "chastised". When you treat one group with respect and the other with less, it has a tendency to endear the respected ones to you. What do men want anyway? Above all, men, father's especially, want to be treated with respect by their wives most of all. Specifically, the wife should honor her OWN husband above all other men; including the pastor. The Bible says....

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Then I hear often something to the effect of "I'm not going to honor any man until he deserves it". Actually, NONE of us deserve it all the time do we? But what does the Bible say about these undeserving males? It says....

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 1 Peter 3:1 That word "conversation" has to do with how you behave in your daily life, which includes treating that 'not so godly' husband like the king of his house, even if he does not "obey in word". In this way, the wife actually takes the lead in "winning" her husband into becoming the prince she really wants and needs.

But I have sat and listened to pastors who had no problems lambasting the men, but never touch on things the ladies do like refusing their husbands in the bedroom (just for one example...and oh yes...that doctrine is in the Bible too; 1 Corinthians 7:5) Preach on that one consistently for awhile and the ratio of women to men is likely to make a change.

Why some men stay away

It seems that all too often men have to practically emasculate themselves to get the approval of women in church. Also, legalistic "church ladies" are driving the men from church by not letting them be men and forcing their laws and rules down our throats while disregarding biblical law. Men may want to have a beer and watch the game and legalists immediately condemn them to hell for even saying alcohol; Jesus drank wine (not grape juice). So men just slowly start separating themselves from the church as these women (mostly) force their rules upon us. I firmly believe in personal convictions, but don't judge me by them... read your bible. It's almost as if these women are saying leave your bible at home because here is my list of rules that you must follow...