Why Are Men Not Going to Church, and How Do We Get Them Back?
If you’re a church-going man, it seems like you might be in the minority these days. More and more in our society, and in several religious affiliations, there’s been a decline in the number of men attending church. Is there really an explanation for this? Next Sunday morning, take a look to the pews beside, in front, and behind you in your steel church building. Men just aren’t attending worship like they used to.
That’s not to say men aren’t still going. Many men still feel a close connection to their churches or pastor and attend regularly. Others do it to fulfill a family obligation they feel as a son, brother, husband or father. Still, a study by the website, ‘churchformen.com,’ shows that the typical U.S. congregation draws an adult crowd that is 61% female, and only 39% male.
This is a subject matter that can be debated forever. It’s not an issue that can be answered in one short blog post like the one you’re reading. Armstrong Steel spoke with men from across the nation and put together a list of reasons which came up the most as to why men don’t attend worship or go to church.
Could it be as simple as time? With so many distractions in our lives, Sunday at 11 am just isn’t a convenient time for men anymore. Football, family and other activities take the place of getting dressed up and attending worship, weekly. It just isn’t a priority for today’s man. Others that answered us spoke of the awkwardness they feel. They cite antiquated hymns, and mention handholding and hugging random strangers just isn’t their cup of tea.
Others say they feel church is more aimed at women or just doesn’t cater to them. It’s not difficult to see where this train of thought comes from.
“Society raises men to be tough, insensitive and dismissive of feelings,” one man told me. “In some ways, church is the opposite of that, so guys subscribe to that and naturally feel uncomfortable there.”
Pastors and churches have been looking for the solution to this puzzle for quite a few years. Unlike women, men don’t like the classroom model, and the majority told us that’s how church feels to them. They are typically in search of a faith in action, finding something that motivates them like team sports or do-it-yourself projects like erecting our metal building kits!
Raised on ethics and service, men need to be comfortable buying into a setting where they can build a genuine relationship with other men and women, and with God. It’s been suggested that because of societal expectations, raising our sons with more spiritual maturity rather than focusing on a culture of toughness could change the world, and with time, change the way they feel about religion.
Churches have also adjusted their services to attract men. Contemporary services and rock band churches have hit the mainstream in an attempt to appeal to men and women alike to get them through the doors. This is an issue in which many people feel strongly. There’s not a simple fix, but knowing and asking ourselves the question will eventually lead to an answer, and that’s our goal here.
Pastors hope it’s the connection they feel to their religion that brings men back, and keeps them fulfilled, spiritually. One thing is for certain, churches and other places of worship will continue to be available for the masses; to spiritually comfort those in need when they are ready.
Do you attend your steel church building regularly? Tell us how you think we can get men back at worship!Photo courtesy: David Amsler, Roswell_UMC, Matthew Cua