August 25, 2006
The future of the church lies in reaching young men. I think it was Mark Driscoll who recently said or wrote something like that. And he is not alone in making such observations. Given the way that God has made us, men do have a leadership role to fulfill in the church, and our not fulfilling it will be to the detriment of the churches.
Having said that, there is always a cottage industry in finding those factors which are the golden key to churches not succeeding. And one that is being trumpeted a lot these days is the absence of men from churches. The implications are sometimes taken to be those of the "falling sky" variety. Fix it, or else!
Michael Horton recently interviewed on the White Horse Inn the author David Murrow. Murrow published a book last year called Why Men Hate Going to Church. The publisher calls it a "groundbreaking new book". In his introduction Murrow said that "no one had ever written a book" (page viii) that addressed this problem. I assumed this was true.
Then I bought a book in a used book store a few days ago. It’s by Cortland Myers. It’s called Why Men Do Not Go to Church. And it was published in 1907.
I write this not to chastise Mr. Murrow, nor to downplay the problem. I, too, am concerned like Mark Driscoll, Michael Horton, Murrow, Myers and others about reaching people with the Gospel–including young men. I am, at the same time, encouraged by having a congregation which is composed of old and young, men and women, but one in which we often hear visitors comment on the number of young men. I am also encouraged by realizing that real problems recognized 100 years ago, while they may not have been solved, have not stopped the work of the Holy Spirit through our imperfect churches. It is the promise of a 100% Man that He would build His church, and that even the gates of Hell itself would not overcome the church. Praise God, neither will gender imbalance.
PS–Thanks, Geoff, for the help on the pictures!