Several years ago, Angus Reid recently released a study on faith in Canada.1 Here is some of what we learned from this study about what men in Canada value most:
- The number one thing that men value most is their family – 56% of all men listed that as their primary priority.
- Close behind that – in second place – is a comfortable life. And honesty is their third highest priority.
- Most men do not make success a huge priority, with the exception of young men between the ages of 18-34, who rank success quite high in their list of priorities.
- Interestingly, there are a number of other priorities that men rank quite lower than the ones that have been mentioned … friends, concern for others, being outside in nature, and intellectual inquiry are ranked as a priority by only about 20% of men.
What does this mean for your ministry efforts? Well, keep in mind, this is focused on all men in Canada – not just Christian men, so the numbers may shift a bit for Christian men.
However, if you want to reach more men and call them to follow Jesus, then you need to consider what these priorities mean to your ministry work.
Here are some thoughts:
If family life is the highest priority, then your ministry activities need to feature ways to help men have a stronger family life while still connecting them back to the Gospel of Jesus. If men are looking for a more comfortable life, how can your ministry help men find jobs – give them financial and time training from a Christian perspective – and encourage them to truly rest.
If family life and a comfortable life are a high priority, then you will increasingly have challenges getting men to give up their time and resources. The good news is that men also value honesty, so you can be honest with them about what Jesus has to say in using our time and resources. Men don’t just want to attend your activities – they want a better family life and a closer relationship with God. Speak to their heart need, and you will help them engage more with your ministry.
Some of the key things the church focuses on are not high priorities for men. Friendships, concern for others, and intellectual inquiry are a high priority for only about 20% of men in Canada. This means that all our efforts in churches to focus on small groups, community, volunteering, and learning the Bible are not a significant priority to 80% of the men in the country. Does this mean we abandon or ignore these biblical concepts? No. But it does mean that we need to start by helping men where they are in order to get them to where they need to be. How can your ministry help men lead their families spiritually – how can you help families pray together, experience God together, and serve God together?
Here is the bigger challenge. Only about 14% of men would say they aren’t happy in life. Ministry often thrives when people feel unsettled. So, if men are generally happy, we can’t talk like everyone is struggling – because they don’t believe they are.
This is why it’s so important to show how we all fall short of God’s design for our lives and not just a feeling of whether I am struggling. As men see their weakness, we can point them to Jesus and how growing in Christ will help us go to the next level as men.
1 “Religion and faith in Canada today: strong belief, ambivalence and rejection define our views.” Angus Reid Institute, 13 April 2017, https://angusreid.org/faith-in-canada/.