The State of Men Today
Today’s society creates confusion in men about their identity and what their role is as a man. “What is my purpose in life?” “What does it mean to be a Christian man?” Men are often asking themselves, “Am I a normal Christian man?”
Many men have become emotionally isolated from their feelings, physically isolated from other men and lacking real friendships. They are like billiard balls that connect briefly with each other and then bounce apart. This superficiality is reflected in the fact that the majority of men have lots of acquaintances but very few strong friendships.
Also, men’s competitive nature and their desire to succeed has not helped! It makes answering the questions about what Christian manhood is all about even harder to answer.
So many of men’s natural talents and abilities seems to be at odds with the expectations of the church.
Men – Missing in Action
Where are the men? In NZ churches men represent 39% and women 61% of the attendance.1 In the Anglican Church, women make up 67.8% of their congregations, in Union/Co-operating parishes it is 66%, and in the Presbyterian Church it is 64.1% with the other leading denominations not far behind.2 In most churches that close their doors, it has been the men who have left first.
1 The 2001 NZ Church Life Survey, NCLS Research, Attender Demographics
2 Dr Peter Lineham, Massey University 2010
Influence of Dads on families’ spiritual journey
• If a child comes to Christ first – 3.5% of families will follow
• If Mum comes to Christ first – 17% of families will follow
• If Dad comes to Christ first – 93% of families will follow
Influence of Dads’ church attendance on children’s faith
• When both Mum and Dad attend church – 72% of children remain faithful to God
• When neither parent attends – 6% remain faithful
• When only Mum attends – 15% remain faithful
• When only Dad attends – 55% remain faithful
Men are very important in the life of our churches because:
• Men are action orientated and their focus on the outside world brings a healthy perspective. They are hard wired for risk taking and rise to a challenge.
• Men are innovators and want things to progress and succeed. They bring their resources into the church, be they technical, financial or natural giftings.
• Men bring strength to a church as they combine to get the job done.
What Are Men Looking For?
Promise Keepers survey results confirm that the greatest desire of men in the church is to grow spiritually. Men want to be involved in mission and ministry. They need an environment where they are supported, equipped and encouraged to do this.
Because men are isolated, they also need to build genuine friendships with other men so they can receive truth and wisdom from people they can trust.
Christian men today are also looking for:
• A powerful and dynamic cause to which they can commit their lives.
• A challenging vision that inspires to achieve a meaningful goal.
• They want to be part of a team under a visionary leader, taking part in an adventure with other men they can trust.
• They want to see results and know that they can make a difference.
• They want answers to issues they face daily, and healing of hurts where necessary.
The Solution – Ministry with Men
The local church is the place where a process should be provided to develop men’s spirituality and grow them into leaders. Churches need to be able to offer men a pathway for growth, from dealing with daily issues that may be holding them back, to training and building them up, to mission and ministry. All this in the context of an engaged,
interactive community of men.
A church’s Ministry with Men should involve every man in the church and encourage them to be an active participant. It will call men out of the isolation that many of them experience in church life and give them a ‘Band of Brothers’. A successful Ministry with Men will connect the men, who will then support and encourage one another as they become “men of the kingdom” and reach out into our society and beyond with a heart for mission.Promise Keepers’ mission is to see men transformed and to help you help the men in your church succeed on their spiritual journey of godly transformation.