Women are 20% to 25% more likely to attend worship weekly in every major Christian denomination according to an article by Cathy Lynn Grossman in USA Today. This probably is not surprising to most Christians. This is the case at many churches here in Louisville and was the case at a number of other churches I have been a part of in the past. It should, however, concern us. Let me give you two reasons:
First, Scripture sets forth the principle that men are to be the spiritual leaders of the home. If fathers are absent from church on Sunday, you can bet they are neglecting their Scriptural duty to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
Secondly, men are to be spiritual leaders in the church–elder/overseers are to be the husband of one wife–meaning elders/overseers are to be men (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6). Paul makes this even more clear in 1 Timothy 2:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve – 1 Timothy 2:12-13
There is clearly an order in creation set forth here by Paul that is to be carried over from the home into the church (c.f. 1 Cor. 11:1-16; Eph. 5:22-33). The Bible clearly teaches that women and men are equal in every way (Gal. 3:28), but it also clearly sets forth that women and men are to have different roles both in the home and in the church. We glorify God most clearly when we honor these roles in our homes and churches. Though one role is no better than the other, they are clearly different.
When the statistics claim that women are 25% more likely to be active in church attendance, it ought to tell us that something is wrong with our churches.
Ross Sawyers believes that if our churches can succeed at reaching men, the rest of the family will follow, he notes that “If the mom comes [to church], there’s a 15% chance the family will. But if the man comes to church, 90% of the time the family will come along behind.”
Sawyers has sought to make up for the discrepancy between men and women in the pew by giving his church something of a macho-makeover. The USA Today article describes his church:
One church, 121 Community Church in Grapevine, Texas, outside Dallas, was even designed with dudes in mind, from the worship center’s stone floor, hunter-green and amber decor and rustic-beam ceilings to woodsy scenes on the church website.
No pastels. No flowers. No sweet music. No sit-with-your-hands-folded mood. Women are welcome, but the tone is intentionally “guy church” for a reason, says Ross Sawyers, founder and pastor of 121.
I appreciate the fact that Pastor Sawyers understands the importance of reaching men. But I want to challenge the men who read this post not to seek to make their churches more masculine but rather to begin today to take responsibility to be the spiritual leaders in their homes and in their churches. Further, I want to challenge church leaders to begin discipling and equipping men to take responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of their children.
While I appreciate the sentiment behind a macho-church makeover, I think faithfulness to Christ begins with obedience to His commands–specifically His command to make disciples and to teach them everything He has commanded us. Discipleship, when rightly conducted begins to transform every part of our lives–especially the family. You may have only a few faithful men in your church, but start there and see how the Lord might bless women, men, and children through a renewed vision for discipleship that extends to the whole family, begging with its head, the husband.