• David Young

    ‘Acknowledge Them’, ‘Bless Them’, ‘Pray with Them’, ‘Challenge Them’ etc. What – don’t you do this with women too? This article is so sexist.
    As a male who unashamedly and unapologetically does not fit the gender stereotypes and expectations, I am tired of all the ‘gender stuff’ and sexism in the church. I have not regularly connected with church for a long time and I am unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future, mainly because of all the sexist stereotypes, assumptions and cliches. I am tired of being categorised by my gender. I am over the assumption that I will have something in common with someone simply because we are the same sex. Every time I contact a church to try to connect , the first thing people do is to try to draft me off into men’s groups/activities. Mostly (but not only) because of gendered environment that seems to be so much a part of church culture, I am unlikely to return to church anytime soon – if ever.

  • joseph (kenya)

    hi, do you want to tell me there are churches that give beer to men during there services? what type of songs do they sing after taking the beer.

  • rickld

    If you want more men at church, serve beer in the fellowship hall, show NFL games between services, serve burgers and pizza, build a gun shooting range on campus. There, guaranteed you have more men. Now what has that accomplished? How did Jesus attract men? He did miracles, He healed the sick, He blew Philip and Nathaniel’s minds with words of Knowledge, He challenged them to give up all, give up cars, football games, even families to follow Him. The He gave them an impossible task…win the world for Jesus. Then He said, WAIT till you are clothed with power at Pentecost. So what do you want, more men? Or more disciples?

  • Jason

    Get rid of the emotionalism and the adult contemporary pop found in modern “worship” music, which are basically ballads that you can easily exchange the name of Jesus with that of your wife, husband, etc and it not miss a beat, forbid the women in the church from exercising ungodly control over the men (as the Bible demands) and focus on the inner life of the spirit instead of all the external hoopla. Then we’ll talk.

    • rickld

      Do that and you lose me and a good part of the men in our 6000 member church. Jesus wept publicly. He jumped for joy and fist-pumped. He exulted. He hugged children. He was emotional. Don’t be a control freak, a misogynist and live in fear of women. Partner with women in the ministry as Paul did in Romans 16. I really enjoy the contemporary worship music (are you really that much of an old codger that you would rail against “modern music”?) If you want more men focus on reality, on the power of the Holy Spirit, on real healing, miracles, deliverance, spiritual warfare.

      • Final_Word

        “Do that and you lose me and a good part of the men in our 6000 member church.”
        Why is it so important that you keep them?
        Serious question.

        • rickld

          Did you notice that I said, you would lose me? I am not the pastor. My point was, emotionalism is a loaded term. There is nothing wrong with emotions. Guess is afraid of women exerting influence in the church. He is afraid of emotions. Any church that fears emotions and fears women, I want no part of. This is a grumpy curmudgeon that even rails against “modern music”. Sounds like my father when I was 16. To answer your question, the point of this article was how to increase the number of men and keep them involved. So why would you want to drive them away?

  • Pierre Daris Taylor

    Joshua, your blog is an excellent insight into men, along with how to approach and engage them. Your wisdom comes from listening and observing the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of men. I applaud you.

  • Tyler Clayton

    I’m single, been going to the same church (of a, i don’t know, a few hundred per service in attendance) for several years and I don’t know a single person at church (not one!!), other than the pastors who greet you at the door. Not that I like it that way. Well, I’m pretty introverted, yet very capable. So its hard for me to reach out if someone doesn’t look open/receptive/approachable. I don’t seek the limelight or recognition. I don’t need it. I’m not the type one bit to butt into a group of people having a conversation. I stay out of other people’s business.

    So after church, I kinda stand out in the commons area and just people watch for a few minutes. And I see people scurrying off this way and that way to get their kids, or they’re scurrying out the door for presumably family lunch plans. Or maybe other people are having a conversation with someone they already know. And that’s it, and I go about my way back home.

    I have to agree with others here, that challenging me “to do” isn’t gonna light a fire to reach out and be involved. I just don’t feel any attachment. I know that I don’t lack with Christ, but if there’s one area I struggle with this, there’s no where in the world more than church, am I reminded what I don’t have (being single), than when I see such a concentration of guys with wives/girlfriends/kids. And so when the message is on family, or they are advertising a “men’s” group to presumably talk about being better fathers, or husbands, it just feels disenfranchising. So I go about my way til next Sunday, week after week.

    I’m gonna say something that may be a little controversial on this website. And that is, maybe the pastoral message is where to “get men back”. I believe “purpose drive life” teaching has gone overboard being the central type of message week in and out. Constantly with these messages, am I to feel guilty for not “doing” or being driven in a certain way? At what point do I start tuning “purpose driven” out? I feel my church is selling family community more than Jesus sometimes. But its the same way with most other churches I’ve visited. So I just accept the fact and stick to where I’ve been going.

    Consider the story of the Road to Emmaus in the Bible.

    Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself… 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

    When I understood that, a “light” went of in my head and changed me. Jesus was teaching these two people about himself in the Old Testament. And their hearts were on fire! You know, I’m the same way. When I learned how some of these Old Testament stories are pictures of Jesus in one way or another, I’m extremely intrigued to learn what else is “under the hood” of these stories.

    For example, Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark is Jesus. Passover is about Jesus. Why do Christians not celebrate Passover?? The menorah candle represents Jesus. When God challenged Abraham to sacrifice his son, the real meaning of the story is “this is your son right? your only son? the son whom you love?” You know how much its gonna hurt to sacrifice him? Now you can understand John 3:16 even more, is the feeling I get God is saying there. So even that story is about Jesus!! And its fascinating and exciting to learn about Jesus in those ways. And that is motivating!! But I NEVER EVER hear that in church. Its always “purpose driven” this way or that way we should do or be.

    And so my point is maybe if pastoral messages were focused FULLY on Jesus and who he is, and not ourselves, that more hearts would be on fire, more often, to point of being motivated to be more involved. Trust the Holy Spirit to challenge.

    • Thyrymn

      Don’t worry, I stand around by myself at church too. Bring an iPad.

      After being required to be social through my job, through kids, etc..,I don’t want to spend time talking and making small talk anymore,

      • Tyler Clayton

        you know, there’s something to your situation.

        Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

        As I’m told, there’s only one thing in the bible to struggle for:

        Hebrews 4:11 – Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

        But with “purpose driven life” mantra, after a week of being driven daily sun up/sun down, come and hear a message of being driven more. Its frustrating. Just want to hear more on Jesus.

        • thyrymn

          Thanks.

          This is it exactly.

          “after a week of being driven daily sun up/sun down, come and hear a message of being driven more. Its frustrating”

          The nail on the head. We don’t need more to do, more challenges, more social activities. We sleep in because we are — as my grandma used to say — plumb tuckered out.

    • Kenneth Wentworth

      Tyler, As a fellow introvert, I can sympathize with tour situation. However, in your post you did not mention having an experience with a small group bible study through your church. The small group experience is the best way, and the only real way, to be connected to and build relationships with people. You seem to have a good grasp of scripture. You might consider approaching the appropriate pastor or leader at your church and seek to determine the best way to plug into the small group experience. You might be a good candidate to be a small group leader. Moses and God both admonished Joshua to be strong and courageous as he(Joshua) endeavored to live out the plan God had for his life. I would encourage you to be strong and courageous, to step out of your comfort zone and get involved with people. I stepped out of my comfort zone years ago and now I am a small group leader and adult volunteer leader in a youth group. I and others perform an important ministry supporting the youth pastor to perform his ministry. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

      As a christian, you have at least one spiritual gift. Find out what it(they) are and use it(them) for God’s glory. He will reward your efforts. Exercising your gift(s) will bring you alongside other christians using theirs, and together we will accomplish God’s will. It takes faith, strength and courage to do these things. It also takes action.

      • rickld

        Good advice Kenneth. Find out your gift. It may be speaking in tongues. It may be interpretation of tongues. It may be prophecy. It may be word of knowledge (having supernatural knowledge of secrets of a person’s life) it may be a word of wisdom, it may be healing, it may be an extrordinary gift of faith, it may be the ability to work miracles, it may be discerning of spirits (detecting demons) and casting out demons. That is the whole list of 9 in 1st Corinthians 12. As Paul says preceding this, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Paul’s advice was to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Let us desire earnestly spiritual gifts or as it is translated in some texts, covet earnestly.

    • Final_Word

      “And so my point is maybe if pastoral messages were focused FULLY on Jesus and who he is, and not ourselves, that more hearts would be on fire, just as those two on the road to Emmaus were, more often, to point of being motivated to be more involved. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the one to challenge.”
      You have explained the disease of the typical large seeker-sensitive church. It really isn’t about Jesus. It is about getting people in the door, getting enough money to keep growing, and giving people enough programs and activities to keep them happy and coming back.

  • Craig Clark

    Seriously – you want to challenge me to share their feelings? Do you know what a man is? You make men sound like teenage girls who talk about their date. I was agreeing with the article until I got to the rather feminine challenge part. It is so disappointing. How about challenge them to defend the nation ( politics, engaging the marketplace of ideas to show God’s truth, and yes, MILITARY SERVICE if they are young enough), how about challenge them to protect their communities (or do you teach that God doesn’t want us to serve outside of the church.) challenge them to protect their families (including owning a gun, and protecting modesty, protecting children’s masculinity and femininity. How about challenging the men to become experts in one area. Every church needs a man to can teach and respond to Mormons, JWs, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Hindus, Buddists, etc. It would be nice to see a pastor actually encourage men to devote years to become the churches experts in one area. Instead of just sitting in the pew and trying to be a good little boy. I’ve met so many Christians and good churchmen who run in terror at the slightest challenge from the world. A godly man rises to the challenge.

    • Guest01

      WOW. We should challenge them to carry guns and fight wars? I don’t think Jesus made that challenge, But he did challenge us to love our wives like Christ loved the church. To show love and compassion. To be faithful, To treasure our families. In the Bible, military service was never mentioned in any way to show you are a Christian. That is totally an American Christian definition. As for some of your other challenges, I’m all for that.

      You say at the very end ” A godly man rises to the challenge.” I think that is the whole point of this article. Challenging men to be Godly – So he is giving some ideas.

      • AV8RCop

        I don’t think carrying a gun and fighting wars was Craig’s point. Rising to the challenge definitely is. I served our country for three decades as a Christian Airman. I handed our country a blank check, redeemable up to and including my life if necessary. Sometime THAT is the price one must pay in order to ensure the freedom and safety of one’s family. But even in that role, I stood for Christ and tried to live the kind of life where people would see the great things Jesus has done in my life…and would want “some of that” in their own. Not every man needs to serve in the military, but EVERY man needs to serve in his family, and in his church. As the old hymn goes, “Rise Up, O Men of God!”

    • AV8RCop

      Spot on! Our God is a MIGHTY fortress! A WARRIOR and a LION! Not a candy-ass. The challenges you outline are the RIGHT kind of challenges that can get men engaged in not only taking an active and leading role in our churches, but being the LION in their family! Thanks for you spot on analysis and advice. Rock on my brother!

  • sam paul

    Suppose in a little large church like 1000 or above, how is it possible for the pastor to acknowledge all of the men on a Sunday, even if the church is 200 and above. But your other points are really good workable to certain extent. If you keep doing all by yourself then may drain out too, so it should be balanced I guess. This is how I do, I bring all the men once a week and fellowship and during that time we share problems, requests, testimonies of victory and joy, meditate, discuss and do different things and also go out with motorbikes almost every quarter or so. The men are very strong now and they themselves lead the group without sometimes…

    • Final_Word

      Another reason why I question a “local church” should ever need to be more than a couple hundred in size. There is no way a pastor can truly disciple a church of a 1000.

  • Thyrymn

    I disagree with a lot of points made above. As a man who has been a Christian for 20 years, here is my feedback:

    1). I don’t want to be acknowledged. I want to be left alone. I have to be social and talk 50 hours a week or more already.
    2). I am not longing for more social activities like a BBQ or whatever.
    3). I do not need anymore challenges or to be held accountable. I’ve got a job, a wife, and three kids. I have enough challenges.
    4). Listen to me, see number one. I have enough talking in my life.
    5). I do not need to be prayed with. I pray all the time. We had an entire reformation to get the pastors out from between me and God.

    Here is what I do need:
    I don’t want to sing love songs.
    I don’t want to see boxes of tissues in every row.
    I don’t want to votive candles, doilies, flowery designs on the tables,
    I want solid expository teaching from the pulpit.
    I want an educated pastor who won’t tell me that the way we do church today is normative. I know it isn’t. I also know that there were Christians who went to live in the desert without a community (sometimes a community formed around them) and they were no less Christian for it.

    • Robin

      Sounds like you need to find a ME church. Doesn’t it?

      • Thyrymn

        Hm. Figures. Normal church person answer.

        Look. The point of the article is how to get men into the church. It is addressed to pastors. Each subpoint ends with “them.” I am part of the “them.” I don’t need more stuff to do and deal with on a weekly basis. I have enough challenges in my life.

        Most men I know and am friends with spend 50 hours working, then go home and spend time with kids and wives. It is a satisfying life, we don’t need more. We are happy with the status quo. Even my non Christian friends behave this way. No one needs more things to do and social activities to go to. We might all get together and hang out on a friend night with the wives and kids. Kids play, we have dinner, that’s enough.

        I don’t need someone to listen to me. We don’t. We have joys, pains, hurts, etc…but that makes us who we are. We don’t feel the need to share. Why share? Why spend time on the pain? They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves.

        • Thyrymn

          If I wanted a ME church it would be easy to find. There are lots of them. A dime a dozen. That wasn’t my point,

      • Final_Word

        You really missed the point.

    • Final_Word

      “I want solid expository teaching from the pulpit.”
      Amen. You nailed it. It is very hard to find solid expository teaching from the pulpit in large seeker-sensitive churches these days.

  • Paige

    I’m not sure I see very much in this article that applies to males only. But all good stuff.

    • Joshua Shaw

      Paige, you are absolutely right. I wanted to narrow the scope down mainly because there has been a trend over the last 40+ years of men not actively engaging in the community of believers, even when their spouses or children have. This is not to say that these “actions” don’t apply to women, singles, divorcees, etc., Rather, it is a conscious effort for churches to engage men who have historically been distant from church, and to do so in a loving and consistent way that is without gimmicks.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Bob

    How do you challenge the single men in your church?

    • Joshua Shaw

      Bob, thanks for commenting. I believe these “actions” still apply to any man (or even woman!), single or not. Of course, how they are actually brought out within a church context can vary. But my hope is that these actions speak to God-given desires in every man, no matter their relational status.