By Matthew Schultz
A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.
Proverbs 24:5 ESV
In 2019, Lucinda Belle released the song, “Where Have All the Good Men Gone?” While you won’t hear this song on a local Christian radio station, its message is one that resonates with so many church leaders today—where have all the men gone? According to a recent Pew Research Center study, men are not as engaged as women when it comes to their spiritual life. Whether it’s how men value religion in their lives, their frequency of prayer, or their church attendance, women far outpace men in all areas. Pew Research has also found that women make up fifty-nine percent of American congregations, leaving church leaders pondering a lot like Lucinda Belle.
If that’s where your church is at don’t worry. You’re not alone. But if you want to reverse the trend and reach men, it might mean doing things differently and thinking creatively. Here are three ways to get you jump-started (the last one might surprise you).
1. Do Something!
In The Barna Group’s 2021 study of men and the church, they discovered that men are afraid to ask their friends to hang out because they do not want to be needy.
Instead of asking men to gather and share their feelings, schedule an activity. It can be anything—a community service day, an auto repair class, or an obscure sports tournament (like bocce or curling). An activity allows men to connect naturally and creates the space for men to feel comfortable sharing with each other.
2. Adventure is Your Friend!
John Eldredge, the author of Wild at Heart, says men need to reconnect with their “wild side.” This doesn’t mean going back to wild college parties, but that men should get out of their comfort zones.
One of the most powerful men’s ministry moments in my life was when my neighbors and I took our daughters on a sixty-mile canoe trip. I saw my neighbor come alive and really connect with other men. This connection sparked a friendship, and he became involved in the body of Christ, even though he had no interest previously.
What was the secret sauce? The adventure—doing something more than mowing the lawn. How can you take your men on an adventure?
This sounds weird, but it’s true! Look at your church’s interior decoration from a man’s perspective. What message is your wallpaper, paint scheme and décor communicating?
It is important to balance your interior look to appeal to both women and men. We recently redecorated at my church with input from our men. Most of the guys had never considered that a church could have a “guy friendly” look.
Your men could get together, grab some paint, craft some woodwork, and create a special place “just for guys”—think of a room where some of the men’s groups could meet or just hang out after church.
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