Where are all the men?

Last night I went to a VBS clinic at a local church in my area. They have it every year to help prepare churches and the workers at VBS. It’s a great little clinic. I have been to it now for three years and each year I notice something – there are very few men. Now to be fair to men, I understand that many churches have their VBS in the morning which eliminates most men from being able to help.  I would also bet that there is an equal amount of them that have it in the evenings now too. So where are the men? Why are they not helping with things like VBS, Sunday school, and other children’s programs? It’s not just a problem at church either. It’s a problem at home too. The latest research shows that 59% of all children born are now born to fatherless homes. So where have all the men gone? Why aren’t young men present at church? Why aren’t young men investing in their families, or having kids at all? I would suggest a few reasons…

  1. Going to church doesn’t feel like a very manly thing to do. Going to sing songs and discuss what’s going on in your life just doesn’t appeal to most men. However, I can’t even think of a more manly calling than to “lay down your life…die to yourself…take up your cross.” Every man loves the scene from Braveheart when William Wallace cries out, “FREEDOM.” Yet what is confusing to me is that the very thing men love in movies like Braveheart is the very thing they aren’t willing to do. Maybe they just don’t have it in them. Maybe they aren’t “man enough” for church.
  2. Men seem to like the more “important” roles in church. You know…like being the head of a committee or teaching a grown up class or something along those lines. Going to teach a bunch of wild and crazy kids just isn’t something men flock to. However, I would say that there isn’t a more important role than investing in the children of the church. Believe it or not, children need strong male figures in their life. Men, let’s invest more in our kids. That means we often have to make a sacrifice (there’s a manly word) and make it a point to do so.
  3. Mixed up priorities. Hunting, golf, and video games don’t count as priorities (unless you’re taking your children with you…except for the video games). I’m not against hunting, golf, video games, or any other activity, but let’s not make them such a high priority. I see men working 60 plus hours per week, then getting up and going hunting or hitting the golf course for half the day on Saturday…by Sunday they just have nothing left to give. I see young men in their 20’s and 30’s more excited about the new release of a video game than they are anything else. It’s crazy. Since when do men (boys who can shave) get so excited about video games? I agree with what Mark Driscoll said once, “video games aren’t sinful, they’re just stupid.” Men, I encourage you to get your priorities straight and start investing in your families, your church, and your community.
  4. Men want their freedom. Having kids and making commitments outside of work and play-time just isn’t on the radar. My friend Steven Gillum recently mentioned how we want our options. I think this is true. Men want to be able to do this or do that. Investing at home and church just doesn’t quite make the cut for them.

I know many men who work really hard and work a lot of hours because they want to provide a good life for their family. I am thankful for that, but a good, safe life is not a good end to work toward in and of itself. Your employer will quickly forget you once you leave. You are replaceable at work but not at home.

Men, let’s up the ante. That may mean you need to make a change. It may mean you need to get a new job that doesn’t have you working long hours and never at home. It means put the video games down and do something that matters. It means laying down your life and sacrificing what you want for what really matters. I recently read Joe Thorn’s book Note to Self. In his book he calls men to sacrifice for their families. He speaks of how almost all men would certainly take a bullet or step in front of a moving vehicle for their family, yet at the same time they have a hard time relinquishing the remote control. What’s wrong with that picture?

My church is full of Godly older men whom I love and look up to. They are great examples of men that have invested in their families and our church. I wonder how many men like them my kids will have to look up to when they are my age.

Because of Grace,

Jon

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