Does your church have more men or women? Recent church history and data have revealed that it is normal for women to be more serious about faith than men. Part of the reason for various ministries to men over the past three decades has been to address the need for more men to engage in spiritual life. However, a recent study has shown that Gen Z women are less likely to identify with religion than men. What do these generational shifts mean for your church and ministry to men?
The Mission Remains
The statistics are not shifting because more men are becoming disciples of Jesus; they are happening because fewer women are. This change is not a moment for men’s ministry leaders to celebrate the return of men to Jesus; it is a moment for us to double down on how serious we are about the mission Jesus has given us. Is your men’s ministry a club for men or a place where men are making more disciples of Jesus?
Go To Where the Men Are
One of the most profound parts of the story of Jesus often missed by today’s church culture is how Jesus went into the workplace of some men to call them his disciples. Men and women are not coming to church. You will need to create spaces to build bridges and relationships with people who are far from God. Think about what it looks like for your men to go into their workplaces or hockey arenas to connect and call people to follow Jesus.
Stop Being a Silo
If you operate your men’s ministry in isolation from what is happening in the rest of the life of your church, then you need to change. The needs in your community are not to “see more men be men” – they are to see ALL people become disciples of Jesus. The men you are trying to reach have jobs and may even be married or have kids. Their lives are interconnected with other people. Work with your children’s, youth, and women’s ministry to bring the Gospel to your community.
For example, you can have your men’s ministry work with other ministries in the church to plan and organize a big party for your neighbours – invite the whole family to participate. Now you can connect with men and the people those men love. Another idea is to work with the women’s ministry to plan a marriage outreach.
Become more integrated with the rest of the mission of your church.
Consider How to Help Men When Women Are Absent
If the trends of this study carry out in real life, you can expect (and may already be seeing) men seeking to grow in following Jesus while their wife shows no interest. This is a significant change for men’s ministry. For years, the challenge has been for men to step up, but what do you say to a man who is training himself for godliness when his wife won’t?
When this dynamic happens, men quite often feel like failures. They are trying to love their wife and point her to Jesus, but she does not seem to respond. You will need to learn the art of listening well to what these men are experiencing. They will require a safe place to express the reality of life at home while also learning to be a faithful man.
The goal is to help them guard their hearts against bitterness or shame. This reality is a new dimension of learning to love your wife like Jesus loves the church. These men will need to grow with the same patience and grace Jesus shows them daily.
We are living in a season of monumental change in society. We will not realize the full impact of how much change will occur for many more years. But living in seasons of change is not new for the Church of Jesus. We serve a Saviour who transcends time and culture, and our moment is now to be the light of the world.