Why Men Hate Going To Church (notes from David Murrow)

My notes from listening to David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going To Church:

Top 7 excuses men give for not going to church:

  1. "It's boring!"
  2. "It's irrelevant to my life."
  3. "They ask for money too much."
  4. "I'm not ready to change."
  5. "I don't like preachers."
  6. "I don't need a church to feel close to God."
  7. "There are too many hypocrites."
These are just excuses, not the real reason.  The real reason is that men feel unwanted and unneeded in most churches.

If more men went to church, it would vastly improve our society.  The quickest way to reform society would be to get men into church.  Men commit crimes at four times the rate of women.  The best fathers are men who are highly involved in evangelical churches.

Why do men hate going to church?  What do we need to change to get men in church or change the church into a man friendly place for him to join?

By and large, we see Jesus effeminately.  We are much more comfortable presenting Jesus in terms of feminine values.  Our churches have a feminine vibe.

  • That average church is 61% female and 39% male (adults).
  • 25% of church-going-married-women attend alone.
  • Women comprise 2/3 to 3/4 or church volunteers.
  • Young, single men are an "endangered species" in the North American church, comprising 2% of the whole.
  • In other religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism; it's about 50/50, men and women.
  • Islam is wildly popular with men,
  • 90% of men in the US believe in God.
  • Five out of six men call themselves christian.
  • But only one in six men attend church regularly.
  • Men believe in God and love God, but don't want to go to church.
  • A sign of a growing church is when there is over 40% men and decline is when there is under 40% men in a congregation.
  • When a church is 70% female (only 30% men), that is a church that is in decline and soon to close.
  • 3,000 churches close in the US close their doors each year and these are mostly 70% or more female.
  1. Most men think that church is for women, weirdos and wimps.
  2. They feel that they don't need church to be a good person.
  3. It is hard for a man to win at church.  Everything is competition for men.  If a man can not win, he does not want to play.  
  4. Our churches are by and large, geared to women.  Women are better readers: 4 times as many men have reading disorders.  Women are better at expressing or sharing out loud.  Women are better at polite conversation and small talk.  Women are better at hugging and holding hands with strangers.
Our newer evangelical worship songs are very effeminate and men can't relate as well as women can:
  • "let your love surround me"
  • "you are beautiful, my sweet sweet song"
  • "hold me close"
  • "let your love surround me'
  • "I'm desperate you you: lost without you"
Men prefer the way the old hymns were worded.  Men want the language of respect, not romance!  The "lovey dovey", "love affair with God", songs that are now popular, are weird and a little bit uncomfortable for normal men.  

Men are by nature and not as naturally or trained to be emotional: the way that is sort of encouraged in church services.  Men don't want to hold hands with strangers or even their buddy that they know!

Men have a much harder time sitting still than women do, because men have 10 times as much testosterone.  It makes us fidgety and makes us want to get up and move!  Which people, which men have the most testosterone?  Teenage boys, which is why they are the hardest ones to find in church.  (We have tried to force boys to be like girls.)

Boys and young men and all men want to move around, build stuff, do show and tell.

Men start to fall asleep at the 15 minute mark of a sermon.  They can't take listening to a monologue for past 15 minutes.

Most all 'volunteer opportunities' at church are feminine:  food, child-care, greeting.  Men's gifts or abilities are not being used and they are being offered "jobs" that are feminine by and large and they are not excited or interested.

Men want to, are motivated to go to church when they have a skill to offer; or when their skills and gifts are needed and valued.  Most men do not want to be "freeloaders" or just consumers, but want to contribute- not money, but a skill or a job: work.  If they are not given something to do, they have a hard time belonging and they don't want to do women's (feminine) traditional jobs usually.

Men prefer conservative Christian churches and it is the same in Judaism.  Liberal churches have higher percentages of women than conservative or orthodox churches - same in Judaism.

One reason men don't get much out of church is that church is too 'wordy'.  Men don't learn as much by long lectures and readings and sharing, as by short, spot-on teachings and object lessons.  (Men are more kinetic learners.  Jesus taught his men with illustrations from the culture around them and by doing.  Teach-do, tell-show-tell.)

Women are fine in male environments or with what males are more comfortable with, but men are not comfortable in feminine environments.  This is why our churches fail for men, when our environments and style is more feminine than masculine.  Men are ok to a degree when things are 50/50 in the culture and atmosphere, but when things are very feminine, they are put off and uncomfortable, and leave.

For example, many women are ok with trying out a traditional male role or job or environment like a construction site, with hard hats, tool belts and work boots.  But you will not find very many men who would be the least bit comfortable in a feminine environment.

A man does not not have any desire to be at a baby shower.  So, if a man visits a church and it is like a baby shower, with all the nice attributes a baby shower has, that man is going say that this is a nice place for his wife, but "no thanks" for him.

Men want adventure, challenge, teamwork and competition.

There's been a call lately to "call men back to church", but we really need to "call the church back to men".

Men don't want to sing romantic songs to God and listen to somebody talk for 30 to 60 minutes, unless the man is an excellent speaker/teacher/preacher.

Much of the love talk in the church has been overtly maternal.  We need father love and mother love.

Men see the world through rules.  Women see the world through the lens of relationship.  When we over emphasize relationship, we forget rules, saying we are emphasizing love, but we obsess on "who" rather than "what"; and we end up rewriting what the Bible says about "who".

Our churches have screened out and pushed out the men and boys who have testosterone and want to conquer the world,

We have over emphasized worship, worship music and praise and worship bands; and this has been detrimental to boys and teens.  (We have kind of made an idol out of this)  The boys who are 'high achievement', and 'high testosterone', who want to do stuff - pray, evangelize, and fellowship; play games, learn together, eat and talk, run and play, see and do:  these boys leave the church, unless they are a gifted musician and like the praise & worship band gig and all that attention 'thing'.

Manly guys end up leaving church after age 18, because they simply don't fit in: guys with ambition and testosterone.

The book- "I kissed dating goodbye"(1996), was very damaging to a whole generation of youth in the evangelical church.  One of the worst books ever written.  It made dating scary and not doable.  We told men that they can't date and can't win in church with women, so they left the church.

Many boys and men have retreated into video games, for the above reasons.

However, many churches are getting better.  Sunday school has become more kinetic, which boys like.

Youth group is still a problem (artistic, feminine).

Many churches, especially many mega churches have become more masculine and man friendly and it is working.

What happens when churches are more masculine and less feminine?  What about the women and children, then?  Answer:  They love it.  The church grows.  The most attractive thing to a Godly woman is a Godly man.  When the men leave, the glory departs with them, and women don't like it either and they leave.

Women sacrifice rules on the altar of relationships.  Men sacrifice relationships on the altar of rules.  When Jesus came, he confronted a male dominated culture that was bound by rules and killed relationships.  Today, we make the mistake of killing all rules in the name of relationships, believing we are being like Christ or Jesus-shaped, when we are really falling into compromise and liberalism excessively, licentiously; creating a anti-man christian culture, supposedly in Jesus name.

We have made Jesus love, to be a feeling and to being nice, instead of obedience.