Saturday, April 14, 2007

Very Interesting...

Funny how randomly you come across things...

I came across this thought provoking blog-entry because its author commented on another friend's blog...gotta love linkage (there's to you, Toto). My friend Lisa is in Indonesia right now, learning the language, and bein' a nanny for some other friends of mine, Andy & Emily Morris. They're in Indonesia learning the language as well, looking to be church-planters there. Anyway, she writes well, takes great pictures, and will encourage you if you read them.

So neither here nor there, here's an excerpt I found quite thought-provoking. I've noticed a problem with some of my guy friends drifting from church, and also bemoaned the lack of godly encouragement between men that I know, even if they do go to the same church. You can access the full article by clicking on the date below. Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I understand your sentiment about the shot clocks and about the "drive through" church. but what if someone were to come here that normally wouldn't come to a "normal" church like you and i attend. whatif they came and were so intrigued that they began to change their life and began to worship God in the way that He wants us to and then joined in fellowship with a "real" church? there could be some validity in this process. just a thought. -brandon

... Amen, that is exactly what is happening at Church for Men. I am one of the organizers. Men are coming who have not been to church in 9 to 11 years. They are not only finding Godly men and encouragement. They are finding home churches. -Mike Ellis, Church for Men Florida [...]

here is their website if you would like to look around.

the website addresses a concern that i myself have had for quite awhile. the content of much of the modern "praise and worship" movement filled with language of a dating relationship that if a non-believer were to walk in, it would be unclear if we were singing about god or our boyfriend/girlfriend. this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

so with the "church for men" i can stand in agreement with this.

i also think it is a valid concern that so many men who call themselves believers do not attend church with their families. again, i can stand with the "church for men" on this.

the website poses these "big questions"

• What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away?
• Jesus was a magnet to men, but our churches repel them. What’s changed?
• Why do rival faiths inspire male allegiance, while ours breeds male indifference?
• What can we do about it? [...]
why is that that our church rolls are three times larger than the actual attendance? why is it that those who call themselves believers or identify themselves as christians don't live like it? what does the church need to teach and do to hold its members accountable?

all of this to say that my concern with "the church for men" is less with the questions that they are asking, but more with the solutions being provided. as stated in the news article, the church for men says that men aren't going to church because they are "bored stiff" [...]

is this a valid excuse?

our first question must be, why go to church?

it is for the worship of god that we go to church. [...] the new testament is clear that it is the teaching of the scriptures that holds prominence, and everything that is done when a church meets is ultimately done for god.

if we have to be coddled and convinced and accommodated before we go even once a month, are we even going for the right reasons?

men are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of their family. what kind of leadership is it that goes to church by itself once a month to a church that does things his way? [...]

the church, we often forget, is (biblically) made up of believers. the gathering of the saints is for worship by believers. however, in our pragmatic society, we have gotten things backwards. our church services have gone from the biblical model of the gathering of believers to worship and hear the word of god in order that they be taught, reproved, corrected, and trained in righteousness (just read paul's instructions to timothy and titus), to focusing on getting the lost into our churches and doing whatever it takes to keep them there with the hope that they will be converted.

this is a concern that does need to be addressed. of course a church should welcome all who want to come, but the church is made up of believers! the church is to train the believers who come in all matters of the faith, including evangelism, so that as these members go out to work, school, and the community, they are witnessing and sharing the gospel.

the church in the new testament was not an evangelistic gathering. it was a gathering of believers. [...]what i am saying is, a church that focuses, develops, and directs its corporate worship to a gathering of non-believers is neglecting the people the church exists to benefit.

i am all for organizations making an effort to evangelize and spread the gospel to non-believers. there are many groups that do this. [...] but they are not churches....

the unifying purpose of the church is the glory of god, and that is something all christians have in common. there is something to be said for "dying to self", even in the context of how we order our worship services."


Ryan said...

I posted a reply at his blog, but a quick read of the Church for Men website doesn't seem to show any official relation between that site and the church in Daytona Beach. Obviously the church in DB is disturbing, but the mission of Church for Men seems to be more about unity in the church and biblical masculinity. They may make some wrong conclusions or have some near misses on reasons for starting such a ministry, but I hope their efforts do result in more churches calling men to task!

Jacquita Banana said...

Until I read this series of posts, I wasn't aware that my Protestant brethren were having this problem. I think that a mistake that a lot of Christian churches make is that they try to cater too much to specific groups of people. Church is supposed to be about God, not human beings. When we start having services/Mass for men only, women only, teens only, etc., we are dividing the Body of Christ.

So how does a church draw in new members, satisfy the current ones, and serve God all at once? It's not an easy question to answer, for sure. However, I think that if church services/Masses are geared toward helping true, committed believers receive the Word of God, then those who are on the fence will be drawn in by the church's faith.

That's easier said than done, which is why there is more to a church than Sunday services/Mass. Official and unofficial groups within the Church help keep members accountable and make them feel more at home. Groups for men, women, teens, etc. allow congregants to find their identity within the community so that ultimately everyone can worship in solidarity.

I think that what the greater Christian Church needs is something like the Knights of Columbus ( ). It is a wonderful group for Catholic men that encourages them to step up as leaders in the home, church, and community. In part because of the K of C and related groups, Catholic churches generally don't have the problem of failing to attract men.

If you want more men to come to church, don't build a church just for them. Build a church for all believers, and show those men their (valued) place within it. A church that is so focused on evangelism/targeting specific demographic groups that it doesn't nurture its dedicated believers as a whole is one that will not insire men to lead.