WHY THERE ARE NO MEN IN YOUR CONGREGATION – PART 2
In the religious world today what do you hear constantly? God is love, God is forgiveness, God is comfort. All very much true, but God is also power. He is judge, jury, and executioner. Churches today seem to emphasize the Lord’s softer qualities rather than his harsher ones. We, as humans, don’t like hearing about the suffering we will have to go through as Christians, along with the hardships we will face and the sacrifices we will have to make. We like to hear about the rewards, not the obstacles. It’s human nature……isn’t it?
In fact, it is the men who need to know this. Not only because it is the men who carry on the work of the congregation and need to know the obstacles they will face while doing their work, but it is that we, as men, are wired to need that harshness. We need that football coach that screams to get everything out of his players. We need that drill sergeant to push his soldiers to the limit. We need a call to action.
Another phrase you hear a lot in the religious world today is, “personal relationship with Jesus.” The phrase is never uttered in the scriptures. What does it mean? It is used by evangelical preachers to describe a Christian’s life. Christ never said, “come have a personal relationship with Me,” he said, “Follow Me.” While “personal relationship” sounds appealing because it suggests that anyone can have a relationship with Jesus any way they want it, “follow me” is a mission, a goal, a call to action.
Over the decades the softer traits of the Lord have been emphasized so much and so often that churches today heavily market Christianity as the cure to any suffering, trials, and pain, while Jesus himself promises suffering, trials, and pain. (Acts 9: 15-16, Luke 21: 16-17)
This is that harshness, this is the “tough love” the religious world cannot understand. These are aspects of the gospel that appeal to men. Men do not see this as a hindrance to the gospel, rather a challenge that needs to be overcome.
In the past, most churches would sing hymns. Hymn books were filled with about 500 songs and most Christians knew 250. There was a healthy balance of war-like masculine songs as well as softer feminine songs. In more recent history more churches have embraced “Praise and Worship music.” While Hymns were mainly sung about God, with lyrics full of respect and reverence over his mighty power, praise and worship music is sung to God, with lyrics full of intimacy, safety, and very romantic. While those greatly appeal to women, it turns men away. David himself wrote very intimate and beautiful Psalms about his love for God. However, he also wrote about God’s power and majesty and his respect for the Lord. Some congregations even ban the use of Hymns or songs that have anything to do with violence. We need hymns that appreciate the power and might of the Lord and not treat Him like He’s our boyfriend.
… As the Western Society has become more feminized, so too has the Church. It is true that God is love. It is true your personal relationship with God is important. It is true that your relationship should be close and intimate. But if these things are constantly emphasized while other equally important concepts are ignored, the results can lead to, not only the loss of men, but false teachings. Neither man nor woman can truly be a servant of God by only having a close faithful relationship with him. There has to be work involved. “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”- James 2:20.