Over twenty years ago my husband and I and our three small children were members of a Mennonite Church led by Pastor Ed Miller. In our small church of less than 100 members, Pastor Miller made sure that each family had a mail “slot” where we received church “news” on a regular basis and he insisted that the name on those church mailboxes be the name of the head of the family (ie., the John Campbell family) even if John Campbell never darkened the door of the church.
Sunday after Sunday Mrs. Campbell and her children might be the only family members in church but that name on the mailbox in the lobby reminded us all that the Campbell family had a head and that he was missing.
I don’t have statistical evidence but I am pretty sure that that little church had a higher than average conversion rate for men simply because the congregation was continually reminded to honor them, pray for them and immediately recognize them when they came in the door, “Oh, yes, John Campbell, so good to meet you! I’ve seen your name on your mailbox.”
Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow addresses the problem of the missing men in the Christian church and affirms that Pastor Miller was on the right track with those mailboxes.
Based on extensive research as well as a working knowledge of church history, Mr. Murrow tackles such topics as who are the missing men, twelve things men fear about going to church (this chapter is worth the price of the book), how churches drive boys away from the church, why mega churches are mega and how to minister to men.
After wading through the research about the missing men in the church (and why it matters) I read eagerly, hoping Mr. Murrow would give some solid answers to this very real crisis in the Christian church. I was dismayed to discover that he spent a lot of time on what I consider to be peripheral details; start and end the services on time, don’t use “church speak”, don’t ask men to share their feelings, and other predictable ideas.
When Mr. Murrow finally got down to brass tacks I was heartened to find that he grasped the real problem. Here is one part of his excellent chapter entitled, Getting the Big Picture Right. He writes, “…if we are going to transform men from passive pew-sitters into battle-ready warriors, we must get the big story right. The gospel is the story of a courageous man who is out to save the world against impossible odds…He is calling you to risk everything to come under His command…That’s the message men crave. It’s a message that’s lost in today’s therapeutic church.”
I found the book enlightening although I did find the lengthy introduction by the author (including the reasons for the additions and revisions) a bit much to wade through early on. I advise skipping the intro and coming back to it later.
My other concern about the book is that it is formatted in a way that makes it difficult to use as a reference book for those who need the information and want to refer back to it. If Why Men Hate Going to Church ever needs to be updated or expanded again I hope the author just turns it into a second book.
I was given a free copy of this book to review for Thomas Nelson.
To be entered to win a copy of this book please leave a comment and share what you think about this problem or if you think there is one? I will draw a winner on December 20th.