Why Men Hate Going to Church

It has always concerned me that there are more women than men in church, which is why I was eager to read Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow.

Murrow says that men like challenge and taking risks, but Christians have made church a place of nurturing and building relationships.

Murrow says that there are three gender gaps in the church: the gap of presence, the gap of participation, and the gap of personality.

The Gap of Presence: He says that in the USA, 61% of the church attendees are women, but only 39% are men. This trend is also found in other nations around the world. Interestingly, nondenominational churches had the smallest gap, while the biggest gap was found in Episcopal Churches.

The Gap of Participation: He says that women are 57% more likely to participate in Sunday School, and 33% more likely to volunteer for a church than men. Christian book sales are 75% to women, and the Christian radio audience is 63% female.

The Gap of Personality: He says that while 62% of the general population has a passive personality, 85% of Christians have passive personalities. There are greater numbers of artistic and homosexual men in church than the general population, but lower numbers of what he calls “risk takers, fun lovers and dangerous men.”

After I read this book a few years ago, I asked readers on a previous blog to tell me why they thought fewer men went to church. I received over 100 comments in one week! Here are the top reasons they gave:

1) Failure to let men lead. This may be controversial, but it was the most-often mentioned reason, both from men and women who commented. Many blamed women who would not let men be leaders in church. Others, especially men, blamed the men for not taking their leadership role.

2) Overemphasis on relationships. Women are social beings who cherish relationships; men not so much. It is interesting that this was the most common answer given by women who shared why their husbands did not come, but it was also mentioned by several men. Telling men they need a “personal relationship” with Jesus and “fall in love with Jesus” does not appeal to men as much as it does to women.

3) Overemphasis on sensitivity. “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” and “sharing what’s on your heart” may make a man feel like he is stripped of his masculinity.

4) Not enough action. Most men want to be active; they don’t want to just sit and listen to a long sermon. They want to do things. David Murrow says, “men learn side by side, women learn face to face.” That’s why he recommends women have a conference to learn together, but men go fishing or hiking or build something together.

5) Men lack spirituality. Several who gave comments, mostly men, seem to blame men for lacking spirituality.

6) Need a challenge. This answer came almost exclusively from men. Several men mentioned that men need to be challenged.

7) Music is too feminine. This was another answer given by men themselves. They feel that too many songs are about “loving Jesus” in ways that are very feminine and the lyrics are words men would never say to another man.

So what do you think? Leave me a comment and join the conversation.

About Bob Rogers

Hospital chaplain in Mississippi. Adjunct history professor (online). Formerly a pastor for 33 years in Mississippi and Georgia. Avid cyclist.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in Books, Family, Outreach and evangelism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Pastor Bob, I had one more man in church Sunday than women. In a small mission it is not hard to notice. I found the reasons why men don’t attend interesting and I can see the reason not being able to lead would not attract some. I will have to be more challenging of some of our men. Maybe instead of a church softball league we should try Rugby.

  2. Pastor Bill, is it normal for you to have such a good male-female ratio? What do you attribute to the good percentage of men in your church? Perhaps you should be writing a blog about it!

  3. Brother Bob, I have shared my testimony at RFBC twice over the years. I won’t go into the great detail of the entire story, but my co-worker who ultimately led me to the Lord was not the “typical” Christian that I had in my mind during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. I see some truth in Murrow’s data and can relate somewhat to the premise that some of the activities, music, etc. might lean more toward women than men. That said, my Sunday School class is made up of a variety of people that dress differently and have different backgrounds, but one common goal which is to grow in their walk and better understand what the Lord would have each of us do. From my point of view I think that a church should recognize that they are ministering to a varied group of people and try to mix it up. Kind of like the way our music is a mix if contemporary Christian and traditional hymns. Just for the record, I also think that you have a gift for capturing the entire audience in your sermons. You use a range of language i.e. visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. The key is getting people in the seat. I think that the church…the body…the people have to have discussions about these issues and get their lost friends and family in the seats. Just my opinion though.

  4. There are less men that are in church because they are made to feel less than because the only time they are valued is when the men are wanted to do work in the church such as heavy lifting or something needs to be move.Since there are more women in church and sometimes they are so controlling until they don’t let a man be a man. These women don’t want a man to lead because they want to be a leader. Men don’t go to church because there aren’t any other men that they can relate to. If there are men they are most like young.

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