Yesterday, I read a post at Single Roots, written by Jenny LaBahn. She gave a female perspective to the lack of solid Godly men in our churches. She communicates truth well, and points women to find their identity in Christ instead of in their role(s) as a wife and/or mother. While her post seemed directed toward women, it did get me thinking about this a bit more, and while I don’t have anything nailed down, I’d like to share some observations I feel may contribute to this pandemic tragedy.
We Don’t Disciple Well
By this, I mean that we don’t do a good job of teaching guys how to reach out to guys outside of a church or small group setting. We do a great job emphasizing community – so much so that it’s become a buzzword, right along with missional (or reformissional, for the Mark Driscoll fans). We really value small groups and pouring into each other that way, but I haven’t seen any emphasis on “Here’s how you talk to your co-workers and friends you see at the bar.” Now, it shouldn’t be as pragmatic as that, but it should be a culture of the gospel overflowing to daily conversation, and being able to invite another guy to a small group or church as an outworking of those conversations. Let’s face it, sometimes that’s weird. It’s weird for me to invite a girl to church, much more a guy. It shouldn’t be this way though. There aren’t enough single guys because the guys who are in church aren’t building relationships with guys and bringing them into their community.
We Love Our Sin
The reality is that most guys I know stay away from church because they don’t want conviction, even some of the Christian guys I know. Now, this may apply more to “nominal” or “cultural” Christians that true “conversion” Christians, but I think a big part of it is that we don’t want to be convicted of idolatry, lust, or treating women poorly. Especially for the guy who grew up in church but never really felt the love of God, choosing to go out on Saturday night and sleep with a girl or go to church on Sunday is an easy decision. It’s the wrong one, but it’s easily made because their hearts are hardened. If I’m honest, I think this is also partly because the way Christian guys who do go to church act. I think, for the most part, we don’t functionally live out Christ’s sufficiency and supremacy in our lives. Instead, we look at the guy who gets all the girls and part of us wishes we were that “lucky,” while the other part of us smacks ourselves for thinking that. If we want to see this change, we have to preach the gospel and Christ’s sufficiency and supremacy to ourselves over and over so we can better live that out.
It’s been said that part of the reason single men don’t go to church more often is because it caters to women and/or families. While there might be some truth to this, I don’t think it has that much merit. I mean, how does one cater a church to women or families? Is it the message? The aesthetics? The worship music? Last I checked, pretty much everyone is on the Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Hillsong wagon, so I don’t think it’s the worship. If it’s the message, then we simply aren’t preaching the Christ of the Bible, or at least not completely. In any event, it’s a basic marketing principle – you go with the feedback you get. If you have a church primarily of families and women, that’s the input you have to work with, especially if the single men don’t speak up. So, instead of slinking back in the corner and not speaking up, we should respectfully and lovingly engage our pastoral staff to help them know how to better preach the gospel by addressing the needs and issues that single men have. To that end, we should expect them to address those needs and issues with Christ. The answer may very well be to sacrifice our needs for the sake of our sisters, but that will be a contextual issue worked out in each church.
Now, I’m very fortunate to me a member at the church I’m at now. So, most of this is what I’ve seen via blog comments, insights into my own life, and what I hear from friends. So, what do YOU think the problem is? Why does the church as a whole lack Godly single men? What can we do about it?
Pray, yes. What else?