Why do you feel it is important to specifically target men?
A few years ago, Sorted magazine did a street survey, the results showing that in the main, Men think Christianity is for wimps, for women and irrelevant. Men are more comfortable walking into a woman’s underwear shop than what they are a church.
If you look at the last report commissioned by Tearfund, the statistics show that:
– if trends continue, men will have all but left the church by 2030.
– 75% of men in the UK are antagonistic or apathetic towards church.
– On average it takes 5 years and 30 hearings of the gospel before a man gives his life to Christ.
This research also showed that when it comes to winning the family to Christ, this happens:
– 3.5% of the time by following the child;
– 17% of the time following the mother; and
– 93% of the time following the father.
If you can get the dad, you get the whole family. Therefore, we are seeking to be a positive force in reaching men.
Our friend Carl Beech, General Director of Christian Vision for Men says:
‘As a pastor I was often vexed by the lack of young men in church. We had these great young girls who really wanted to find Godly husbands and yet there were no men. That’s a concern for me as a father to two daughters! In fact across the UK the official statistic is 60% women to 40% men. Anecdotally the ratio is often 70:30. Not good. So what do we do? Men aren’t good at small talk. They don’t form trusting relationships as fast and as easily as women. In fact, you might say that when a woman walks into a room she looks for people to talk with and relate to. When a man walks into a room he is plotting his escape strategy and looking for the exit door! So men need a forum and a place to forge good strong friendships which over time will become open enough for conversation about stuff other than what they do for work or the football etc. If this isn’t encouraged most men will go into a default “loner” mode.
Church culture can also be quite feminine and therefore difficult for many men to get to grips with. Think of church décor. Lots of children’s pictures, flowers and banners. Then there is the worship. Songs are often about feelings and subjective. Teaching is often generic and talks about concepts rather than every day practicalities. Volunteer jobs in the church can also tend towards the more feminine aspects of character; loving, sharing, nurture, compassion. Men seek adventure and challenge and whilst love and compassion are important traits for men, the wild and adventurous aspects of their personalities can be completely starved in church. So we need to create an environment that makes the Christian faith accessible to the average UK man and church a place worth hauling themselves out of bed for.’
Evangelism to men therefore needs to be long-term, persistent, based on friendships and made a priority.
The purpose of our events is to do just that. Making easy access points for us to get intentional about inviting – a mate, neighbour, fellow dad, etc into a familiar environment, to help continue building friendship and trust and ultimately introducing them to the man called Jesus.