I write on church quite a bit, but usually it’s on the positive side of church.
There are realities you have to face at sometime, though. If you don’t face these, you will never be able to fix things that can actually be avoided.
So, why don’t men attend church?
Maybe it’s that a lot of things that happen in a Sunday church service have been the same since I started to attend church.
I’m sure if all ushers were women that wore hooters girls uniforms and headsets were handed out that had play-by-play for the big game church attendance might increase, but maybe not.
If we get to the heart of it, I think that church just includes a lot of stuff that men (or maybe women as well) just don’t enjoy or things that are just plain weird if you don’t get what’s going on.
Here are some of those things:
1. Wake Up & Drive
Every man wants to sleep in, especially on the weekends. This gives maximum awareness for avoiding honey-do lists and football viewing.
2. Meet & Greet
This is probably the scariest part to someone who is new. First, it’s the door greeter. There’s that awkward, “do you want a bulletin even though I just gave your wife a bulletin?” thing. Then, there’s that part at the beginning of the service where the pastor asks you to find 49 people who you’ve never met before and ask them over for dinner. I’m probably not the only man who likes to just share personal stuff with his circle of friends, but when a person you just met ten minutes ago is already asking you about your relationship with God and how much time you spent last month weeping with Jehovah Jireh and reading hebrew last month, you might be a little reluctant with being comfortable and honest. I get it. That seems a little “girly” to most men, even though it shouldn’t. Men that aren’t used to church don’t usually like going straight to the heart. They like pork rinds, beer and football. Probably don’t want to open up with, ” Do you like speaking in tongues?”
3. Praise & Worship
Men like cheering and dancing for their favorite team, except for Team Jesus. The idea of doing this for something they can’t touch is scary. We also need entertainment. When you don’t come to church with the expectation of giving something to God and instead ask “What can I get from God?”, if people aren’t keeping you entertained, it’s time to go. That’s where the folded arms come in. Maybe even a sit down and a nap. This says I’m tired, but I’m still a Christian since I came.
4. The Sermon
Give me some sports examples. Don’t give me cake recipes and show me the recipe that finds God, please. Also, men ask for sermons to be no more than 30 minutes long. After that men think that the speaker likes to hear themselves talk, they start to get restless, very hungry and need a tv. Bring a snickers bar and a fat tire to church and you might be able to extend it to 45 minutes.
5. Tithe & Offering
What man wants to give away his hard-earned money without first understanding where everything comes from. I don’t know too many. So, the idea of people looking at them ’til they empty their wallets and the pastor talking about money until you feel forced to give something may not sound like a good way to spend their Sunday.
6. The Altar Call
Going down front or even raising a hand to say “I am guilty” is a bit embarrassing. I can think of 849 other things I would rather do on a Sunday morning. That will be another post.
The thought of telling everyone in the room about your past and then having someone else dunking you under water is a little scary, whether you know what’s going on or not. Then you have to the trouble of changing clothes after having soaked jeans is a big hassle.
This is probably the best thing to someone not used to attending church. It’s sort of an intermission where you get to eat a cracker and drink some wine. The whole idea of eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood doesn’t sound too appealing, but it depends on how hungry you are.
9. The Event Signup
This requires commitment on another level. This actually makes you travel back to the church on a different date. A retreat, movie night, midweek small group, or whatever else it might be cuts into your regular plans. Doesn’t sound fun to me either.
10. The Bathroom
You just don’t speak at the urinal anywhere. That is everywhere else, but church. Somehow at church the guy next to you wants to make eye contact and talk about something. Anything. How big your Bible is. How nice it smells. The weather. Where to eat after service. Yeah, it’s a little weird. But, we’re supposed to be social, right?
So, is there any part of church that makes you uncomfortable?