Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Men Hate Going To Church

I just finished reading the book "Why Men Hate Going To Church" by David Murrow.  During a period when I find myself "less than enthusiastic" about attending church, this book has helped me articulate and pinpoint some sources of my frustration.  I won't write a complete synopsis of the book here, but the basic premise is that over time, the Christian church has evolved into a culture which exclusively meets the needs of women and the elderly.  The number of men attending regularly has reduced significantly.  If churches want more men in their pews, changes must be made --- plain and simple.  Murrow has many practical suggestions for revamping church, and frankly, this is a book every pastor from every denomination should read.  I may even buy copies for the clergy in my life.

But for now, here is my TOP 10 LIST for "Why I Hate Going To Church":

10.  Politics preached from the pulpit.  Don't Christians realize that they are the easy target of political strategists such as Karl Rove?  Entire campaigns have been designed around the gullibility of Christians.

9.  I don't want to be stuck in a conversation with Ned Flanders!  (I'm not joking.)

8.  Resistance to change.  I love change.  Churches don't.

7.  "Christian-ese" and "prayer-speak" and "holy hands".  These staples of Christian culture make any visitor uncomfortable.  Have you ever noticed how Christians in evangelical churches talk and act in a way that one only encounters in Christian circles? 

6. How decisions are made:  The right choice is always the soft one.  Keep the existing people happy.  Defense always trumps offense in established, older churches.

5.  No clear call to action.  I don't remember the last time I left church fired up and ready to change the world.  Isn't that a problem?

4. Values and skills such as risk-taking, innovation, planning/goal-setting aren't upheld. I've offered ideas, but haven't seen any action taken. I could push, but question if it is worth the time and effort. See points 8 and 6.

3.  Lack of productivity.  It is time to start pruning ineffective ministries. 

2.  The music sucks.  Trust me, I'll be elaborating on this point later.

1.  Weekly "alter calls" to the same, already converted audience.  I don't think I have ever seen anyone go up front to declare that they are a sinner who plans to turn their life around.  If the system doesn't work, why keep doing it?  If evangelism is the goal, aren't there more effective ways to go about it?

When this much bothers me about church, the logical next question for you to ask is:  "So, why do you bother going?"  In my next post I'll try to answer this and "Why should churches care if men attend and if they are fully engaged?"

So men, here's your chance to vent:  What is it about church that gets under your skin?  Why do you choose not to attend, or if you go, why are you less than enthusiastic?


  1. I think that faith and logic are opposed, which is why surveys routinely find about a 10 percentage point gap between the number of men and women who believe in God, pray, believe in heaven, and so forth. Women are bothered less by illogic (not trying to start a fight, here) than are men.

  2. Hey Earl, good points. A few thoughts. Is this really about the Church caters more to women, or about how boys and girls are raised differently/socialized? Isn't the main reason to go to church to be part of a community - who also happen to worship together? Maybe it's different for us Mennonites than other evangelicals (I don't really consider myself to evangelical in terms of wanting to covert anyone anyways), but Church is about community. The music: not sure what you have at your church - our church doesn't do the worship team thing - we have a grand piano and sing from a hymnal in 4 part harmony (not just traditional hymns) - so I don't think our music sucks (mostly), but I do think the worship team model sucks. We also still have a choir. Kids still learn how to read music in church - something we are losing in most churches. I agree about the "Christian-ese" comment (and am glad to go to a Church that doesn't really have this - mostly).

  3. Great post, Earl. No. 1 and 5 resonate with me the most. I'm not sure if this can be attributed to being a dude, but I am motivated by a 'call to action.' I'm not sure if it's the church's fault or my own, but I do wonder why I spend so much of my time reading and discussing, and so little time doing. I look forward to your next post.


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