How Men’s Gifts Promote Church Health
By David Murrow
Generally speaking, men’s gifts and abilities do not match the ministry needs of the typical American congregation. Men feel that the church does not need their natural gifts unless they happen to be exceptionally verbal, sensitive, or musical. So it’s no wonder men regard churchgoing like a prostate exam; it’s something that can save their lives, but it’s so unpleasant and invasive, they put it off.
And yet it is clear that the church needs men. After studying religion in America for more than fifty years, George Gallup concludes, “Women may be the backbone of a congregation, but the presence of a significant number of men is often a clear indicator of spiritual health.” Jack Hayford notes that “if the church is to reach its maximum potential, men must find their places in God’s economy.” Women alone cannot constitute the body of Christ.
Rather than viewing men’s natural gifts as sin to be repented of — the smelly stuff like competition, goal-orientation, performance and power — we need to recognize that men’s “go for it” spirit promotes church health in many different ways.
Men’s Expansionist Outlook Promotes Church Health: Men make things happen. Men expand the church and its influence in the world.
Men’s Orientation Toward Risk Promotes Church Health: Men are hard-wired for risk taking. Jesus made it clear that risk taking is necessary to please God. In the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-26), the master praises two servants who invested their assets and produced more, but he curses the servant who played it safe.
Men’s Focus on the Outside World Promotes Church Health: The masculine spirit is naturally directed outward. Men are always building things, creating things, and subduing the earth. Without a masculine spirit the church turns inward, beginning to minister primarily to the family in here instead of the world out there.
Men’s Concern with the Rules Promotes Church Health: Without rules heresy creeps into the church. Jesus made it quite clear that rules have their place: “Don’t suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning” (Matt. 5:17 cev).
Men’s Pragmatism Brings Innovation to the Church: Men are always trying to improve things. They’re tinkerers. They like to open the hood and adjust things to get maximum performance. Men like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels asked, “How can we do church better?” and the results are Saddleback and Willow Creek, two of the most dynamic churches in the world, both with scads of committed men.
Men Bring Strength to the Church: Edwin Louis Cole said, “You can derive spirituality from women in the church, but you get strength from the men.” The presence of spiritually alive men brings strength to the body.
Men Bring Money to the Church: A straight-shooting pastor once told me, “When she comes to church and he doesn’t, you get the tithe off the grocery money. When they come together, you get the tithe off the paycheck.”
Godly Men Attract Women:Without dynamic, life-giving men, a church will eventually lose its women as well, especially the younger ones.
Men Bring Their Families to Church: Here’s an oft-quoted statistic in men’s ministry circles: when a mother comes to faith in Christ, the rest of her family follow 17% of the time. But when a father comes to faith in Christ, the rest of the family follows 93% of the time. When a man encounters Christ, his family follows.
If Christianity is to survive, we need men!
This article “How Men’s Gifts Promote Church Health” by David Murrow is excerpted from Why Men Hate Going to Church.