Why Men Hate Going to Church

I was in line at Chickfila the other morning, and the perky cashier asked for my name, and I mumbled “Brandon.” There was an older man standing a few feet away from me waiting for his food, and he took the opportunity to say, “What kind of name is Brandon?”

Well hello, morning whiplash.

“Um…I don’t know. My parents gave it to me?” Give me a break, it was early.

The man proceeded to pull out a business card and explain that he was a genealogist. We made small talk for a bit and then he asked me what I did, so I told him I was a pastor at a church plant.

“Oh,” he said. “I go to _________ church down the road. I’m the organist there. I gotta do something on Sundays, you know?”

To be honest, this took me aback, because I felt like I was looking into the past at a bygone relic. “I gotta do something on Sundays” is a telltale sign of church as hobby. I’m bored, so might as well get dressed up and go to church.

The reason this is surprising is because I don’t know many non-Jesus following men who make it a habit to be involved in a church regularly. There are some to be sure in circles I don’t run in, but I tend to forget that, so for me this was like a dinosaur sighting.

Because most men have figured out that church is a terrible hobby.

Try this–approach any emotionally healthy non-Christian man (or nominal/cultural Christian) and say the following: “How would you like to get up early on Sunday morning, put on clothes that you’d probably wear to work, drive across town to a church service with me where we’ll sing some songs together and listen to a man talk for a bit and you’ll likely be guilted into giving some of your money away and OH depending on what church you go to be sure not to mention that you enjoy a beer now and then, okay?”

Um…no thank you.

Because sleep. And sports. And weekend. And NFL. And hungover a bit. And just no thank you. Why are you going, again?

Boredom in the Church

I just finished watching Lone Survivor, and OHMYGAH was it good–but that’s besides the point. As I watched this incredible, heroic story unfold–I kept thinking about that man from Chickfila and his quickly petrifying church hobby, but more so I thought about the hordes and hordes of men who lined up in droves to see this movie but who wouldn’t be caught dead in a church service on Sunday.

They are legion, and they are growing by the day.

Watching this movie, even for me, awakened so many innate desires. Brotherhood. A difficult mission. A united front against evil. A willingness to fight to the death for those around me. I was ready to pick up a gun and run up a mountain.

But that man from Chickfila–he haunts me. “I gotta do something on Sundays.” I’m just bored enough that this looks like an appealing option.

Fight? No.

Mission? No.

Brotherhood? No.

Meaningless hobby? Yes.

I have a feeling that even as a pastor, if this man tried to convince me to go to church with him, I’d say “Sorry…I’m busy.”

Man Cards & Soldiers

Satan has done a marvelous job of convincing men that church is a meaningless and boring hobby. That it’s a woman’s world and you essentially have to hand over your man card to join the club.

I mean, have you listened to Christian radio?

And for a long time, it seems that the response from many churches was “Let’s make church cooler!” We’ll get the pastor to grow a goatee and we’ll do a manly-feeling men’s event and maybe we’ll get a guy on a dirt bike to jump over the pastor’s head while he’s preaching (that’s a real thing I hate to inform you).

And still, those men? They’re like “Nah.”

I, for one, do not think trying to make church cooler is the answer. To arrive at the answer, I think you have to go back to the question: what is the church?

If church is religious entertainment or a cultural hobby, then I’m out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But the good news is, when I read the New Testament, that’s not at all the picture I see.

I see an army. I see a group of people who have been rescued from certain and self-chosen spiritual death, raised to new life and given a lifelong mission to be a part of the redemption of all things (2 Cor 5:17-21). I see people who are not looking to be entertained, but to give their lives to something that matters for eternity. People that want to be a part of what God is doing to put everything that’s broken on the Earth back together.

And I see men leading the way. Manly, bold, confident, “I’ll fight for you come hell or high water–even if I get locked up” men who are stepping out and telling others to follow their lead. They had seen the resolute and counter-cultural manhood lived out in the life of Jesus, and the very same rose up in them in response.

Brothers they were. Fighters they were. Present in their family they were. Their mission was not overshadowed by lesser pursuits, and their enemy had way more weapons than guns and bombs.

This is the church, and when the church is more than religious entertainment, men are much more attracted to it.

When church services are more like war-time trainings that equip people for mission the rest of the week, men tend to be more willing to get out of bed.

When church does community–not just country club-like socials–but real community where guys are elbow deep in each others’ lives fighting for one another, those same guys’ ears start to perk up.

Of course, the blame for this is certainly not all on wayward churches. No matter how faithfully a church executes the mission of the church, some men won’t care in the least.

But I’d very much so rather them say no to the the real mccoy than snuff their nose at a counterfeit, wouldn’t you?

They can be uninterested. They can say no.

But not because we don’t have a meaningful mission. That we most certainly do.

And not because we don’t have an epic story to tell. Our story out-sweeps any other.

And not because we don’t have an aggressive and counter-cultural brotherhood. Ask any man around who is pot-committed–he’ll tell you that.

The church in her purest form doesn’t produce lazy, detached men–she produces men who engage and speak life. She produces a man who fights for his family, for his community, and for his brothers.

And (here’s the best news)–when he doesn’t, she produces other men who will go to war for him.

Because that’s how soldiers work.

For more thoughts on this subject, see this new post: 5 Things that Make Men Love the Church.

For a related look at the type of community we are inviting men into at our church, check out this post: How to Prevent an Affair from Your Living Room.


Add yours →

  1. Do you know Jared Wise, Brandon?

  2. Well said Brandon. I’m fed up with church, Jesus invites us into so much more. It sounds like you’ve read an Eldredge book or two. Keep up the great work! So many men are asleep.

    • I actually haven’t, but I’ve heard lots about him. Thanks for chiming in Michael!

    • George Buddy Black February 25, 2015 — 10:20 am

      Eldredge IS one of the most profound teachers of this….Wild at Heart or Waking the Dead are awesome tools to gleen and learn from. better yet go to one of his bootcamps. (AWESOME). Brandon I love this article and you are right on so many levels. Our LORD is a warrior, stated many times in scripture. I liken him to William Wallace not the mild mannered Mr. Rogers! Keep on studying this Brandon and keep pushing the envelope over the edge.

  3. Well said. Most men have an inner desire to be part of something where they can make a difference. They want to know they are part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be engaged in brotherhood and challenged to fight for what is right.

  4. Enjoyed reading this. I’m glad that as a church planter you have not fallen into the trap of “entertainment” or even “experience” driven worship. The main reason men don’t go to church is because Jesus is a stumbling block and a barrier. Those who feel “obliged” to go are dwindling, without a doubt. Let’s not forget, however, that Jesus died for the church and chose the church as His way to bring people to salvation and discipleship. When a person enters a church service they should be slapped in the face with the majesty of God, his presence and his word – not entertainment and certainly not boredom.

    • Agreed. I also think men should be introduced to the church (and therefore see the glory of God) through our communities and not just through church services. When I am building with a guy far from Jesus, I will invite him to come hang out with my LifeGroup far before I’ll invite him to a church gathering, because he’s far more likely to come and it helps blow up his stereotypes of what the church is. Thanks for stopping by Charlie.

      • I agree with you on the small group thing of course. Both small and large group gatherings are biblical. I would be careful to assume, however, that all people are more comfortable first attending an intimate small group over a larger gathering. You never know a person’s individual hangups. This is where we need the Spirit’s leading to help guide us. Keep up the good work!

        • True. Was referring more to my context, but I agree there are certainly varying ways to approach that with different people and different contexts and ultimately should be led by the Spirit. Thanks Charlie.

      • I appreciate your thoughts and words. This is hard to boil down in a blog comment but I encourage you to rethink the above strategy and instead of “extracting” (Church planting movement’s George Patterson’s word) you go into these guys’ lost world with the message of Jesus. Think “woman at the well”, Lydia, Cornelius. Think about it….which is more manly/warlike inviting a lone lost guy to join your safe environment (essentially becoming THE missionary) or going with someone (Jesus sent out in pairs) into his uncomfortable setting? A bit like crossing enemy lines. This is how much of the church reproduces in the global east. Think about it.

        • Yes Billy. That’s exactly what we encourage our people to do in our groups–and we try to do it as a community. So if I’m building with a guy, I’ll try to find out what he’s interested in and meet him there, and I’ll bring along a guy from my LifeGroup when I do so. We just want to have a healthy community to invite guys into when they are ready for that, because in our experience that’s where guys see the gospel’s impact on everyday life–through a group of other believers. More info on our strategy for mission through groups can be found here: http://midtowncolumbia.com/blog/grassroots-kingdom-book

          • Like I said its a lot and way too much structural/systemic conversation that would need to happen rather than a blog discussion.

            I understand your strategy. Its different words for connecting with men and inviting them to Sunday School. Just Sunday School looks a bit different than what we know. (not bashing Sunday School). I’m just offering something different than the tweaks of 1) get to know people as you go 2) have them trust you 3) INVITE them into a Sunday School-ish or Big Church-ish type thing. The 180 degrees to that system is 1) connect 2) get invited into their space (think Jesus and Matthew) 3) have them invite their lost world into said space 4) stay there for a bit cultivating a harvest and equipping 5) leave and do it again 6) take someone from this new group with you.

            This way is much harder for the followers of Jesus. Closer to the process seen in the NT, but its not easy. If interested check out some of the global “church planting movement” stuff. This strategy is very normal outside of U.S. Thankfully, its becoming more normal here. Blessings!

  5. Excellent post!

    As a 13 year active member of Northpoint Community Church, (yes, THAT Northpoint,) I can say that without a doubt, I have appreciated the entertainment value of our worship services. My children have all grown to love the church and I can say that they have always asked to go every Sunday. Not a challenge to get them up at all. The comfort and anonymity it gives the people I have invited to attend our services has made it easy to ask many more people than I would have otherwise.

    Having said all that, I absolutely love the quiet of a solemn service. I love preachers like Ravi Zacharias and Tommy Nelson. I enjoy taking notes and reading devotionals. The small group environment at Northpoint keeps me coming back. The fellowship that we experience and the learning that takes place is second to none. I’d go to battle with the guys I’ve met in my small groups. I yearn for Wednesday classes but, alas, that is not the model at Northpoint.

    I see a lot of engaged, fiercely christian men at Northpoint. I see a lot of hurting, searching men too.

    So I ask you this: Is Sunday service the best place to bring men into this amazing fellowship that we have or, is Sunday best devoted to a community of believers brought together to worship and praise our heavenly father? This is not a leading question. I’d like to hear your answer.

    This is what I’ve done to bring men together. Currently on hold as we build out our brewery but… coming back soon. https://www.facebook.com/BibleNBrew

    • I can’t speak for Brandon, but as a Pastor I can certainly give you my opinion regarding your question. A worship service is for people who *drumroll* worship God. This is the main critique that I have with churches who plan the elements of their large group gatherings toward unbelievers. There is no biblical basis for doing this. And the logic is flawed. Those advocates of these “seeker-sensitive” churches will say, “Well, it’s not really a worship service. We don’t look at it that way.” But the instant you open the Word, teach from it and praise God, you’re in a worship service. It’s a bait-and-switch approach. It’s not being true to the Lord and it’s not being true to those you invite into the gathering. At some point it becomes evident that “yes, this is just a church like every other church…just with secular music, etc.” I’m all about removing barriers to make it easier for lost people to come to a gathering. But we forget that largest barrier IS Jesus himself. He is a stumbling blog to those who are perishing. He is the stone that has been rejected that is the cornerstone. He is the rock that we will either be broken upon or will crush us. People’s sin ultimately keeps them attending a church. It’s when the Spirit starts working in their lives (through the witness of friends as designed by Jesus) that they will allow themselves to be broken the Rock.

    • Hey David, thanks for your thoughts. Good to hear about your involvement in community within a local church!

      To answer your first question (Is Sunday the best place to bring men into this amazing fellowship that we have?), I think it honestly depends on the person, the context, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But in my context, I’d say “no” more often than not. For example, my LifeGroup is made up of 22 people. We meet weekly for spiritually intentional time, go to one of our church’s gatherings on Sunday together, and do other more social type things during the week to spend time together. So if we are building with a guy who doesn’t know Jesus, our first course of action is going to be inviting that guy into some kind of normal relational thing we’re doing. It may be the guys going to a bar, having a poker night, or going to play frisbee golf. Honestly, we pray for him, and if we know of something that he’s interested let’s say he really likes baseball–then we’ll go to a baseball game and invite him. We try to make it as easy as possible for him. At that point, we’re just trying to get to know him. To hopefully show him that Jesus-loving men can be normal, transparent dudes. From there if he shows any interest, we’ll keep inviting him to other things. The order we tend to see pretty regularly is 1) social things, 2) (eventually) LifeGroup time, 3) (eventually) Sunday gatherings. It’s a more involved process to be sure, but I think it can be much more effective than a cold invite to a church event.

      And to your second question–the way we approach this is viewing Sundays primarily as encouragement/equipping for the believers in our church family (training them up to live on mission the rest of the week), but also with a view that others who are not familiar will likely come around. Some people are more likely to show up to a church gathering first, either because they grew up around it and are more familiar/comfortable, or because more relational avenues are intimidating at first, etc. So we want to be really welcoming and encouraging to those people–explain things they may not understand, speak to them directly at times, etc. I think you can still primarily direct your efforts towards equipping the saints and with the right amount of awareness, you can actually use that to teach those who are new or unfamiliar. We invite new people to our first-time guest process and into groups every week. Have you ever met someone who was really good at knowing when people may feel excluded, being sure to explain inside jokes to them, etc.? That’s what we want to accomplish with our gatherings.

      Really with both groups and gatherings, our strategy is basically that we are going to be the church and simply invite people to be a part as they wish. We’re going to practice the “one anothers” of Scripture, and newer people are invited to observe for as long as they want, and participate when they want. So we don’t change anything that we do for new people–we simply invite them into it, tell them to take as long as they want, and be sure to explain things to them along the way. It’s kind of like if you were having a family dinner and inviting a new person. You’d still have your family dinner, you’d just be cognizant of the new person and explain necessary things to them. They will learn more about your family through watching you actually be a family and love one another than they would by you changing how you relate to one another b/c they are there. Make sense?

      If you are more interested in our approach, you can download a free ebook that’s essentially our philosophy for mission through groups. It’s called Grassroots Kingdom, and you can get it here. http://midtowncolumbia.com/blog/grassroots-kingdom-book

  6. I go to a church which is well known for it’s ‘entertainment value’ as well as theological depth, yet men STILL can remain in the spiritual doldrums…EXCEPT for when we work side-by-side! If we can’t battle together as men we can, do, and enjoy working together as men! Find a project in your church that makes a difference either in the physical life (needs) of the church OR for others in need within the church. That is when men feel like men–when they are in the act of helping others…together. Then Sunday morning is icing on the cake!

  7. Brandon – Great post. I remember last year being invited to a men’s conference. “Blah Blah Blah” I thought. Another Christian men’s conference where we’ll probably play disc golf and ping-pong and hear three guys speak about what it means to be men after singing a bunch of songs. 90% of the church’s energy spent on trying to entertain men with productions. Unfortunately, Hollywood and the NFL are much more adept at entertainment than we are and so if entertainment is the goal, then we’ve lost and the enemy has won.

    Back to the conference though. I went grudgingly. Since we were encouraged to carpool, I insisted on driving so that if it was a waste of my time and $300, at least I could escape quietly in the evening after dinner. Turns out, it was great. A group of men, acting as iron sharpening one another. I thought to myself “why can’t regular Sunday church go here with one another?” “Why do we spend so much time in production to produce what amounts to something we’ve all seen before?”

    Church, not matter what denomination or -non, is missing the point entirely. Rather than walking through things WITH one another, we’re getting together to sing a song or three and listen to a feel-good message.

    After my experience at the men’s conference in April 2014, church has been very tough for me to attend. I simply cannot have a religious hobby and I believe that neither could Christ or the disciples. I am in another country now as a missionary (although that word has been watered down as well but that’s another discussion) Our mega-church has all but forgotten us even though I photographed the main pastor’s daughter’s wedding. No support both financially or prayerfully. We haven’t so much as received an email or Facebook message from them though we were heavily involved with nearly every single leader in the church.

    Church, quite simply, is a complete waste of time, money, energy and etc. We’ve made it that way.

    p.s my wife is from Columbia, SC.

    • Hey Bill, thanks for chiming in. I agree that we cannot compete with Hollywood and the NFL for entertainment, and I’m glad that we don’t have to because we have a much bigger and compelling purpose. And certainly agree about walking through things with one another, not simply sitting beside one another. That is the beauty of the New Testament church. All the “one another” commands cannot happen during a one hour service. Glad to hear how the Lord is working in your life and I trust that He’ll continue to do so!

  8. Good read. There is a ministry that fulfills what you are describing. This ministry attracts more men from out in the community who participate in this ministry rather than [initially] going to service on Sunday; it’s called Celebrate Recovery. The ministry has been a great front door experience to get them interested in the Sunday morning “battle plan”. Many of our leaders have been born out of that ministry.

    • Hey Don, I can certainly resonate with that. I helped start a Recovery ministry at our church (similar to CR) and have seen Jesus do so much through it also. It’s great to be somewhere where all the masks come off, and you’re right that does tend to draw in men.

  9. There
    are definitely valid points here, but this is only one of the issues
    with what the church has become. In my opinion, it would take a book to
    cover them all. Pretty well all that follows is a generalization and doesn’t speak to every church group, but, most importantly, I think the reason guys aren’t
    into church is because they doubt the need for its existence. It comes
    down to this: fewer believers = fewer members of the church.

    biggest mistake the church has made is making itself the focal point of
    Christianity, like you aren’t saved unless you go to church. Putting it simply, guys don’t go to church because
    they’re made to lead (in one form or another), but they feel like
    followers who must answer to everyone when they join a church (yes, even
    if they’re put into “leadership” positions). Miss a week, or don’t
    make going EVERY Sunday a priority, then every “we missed you last week”
    feels like a guilt trip. Church meetings have become such a source of
    guilt and judgement that being a part of them feels more like a burden
    on a person’s life than something that GIVES life.

    I can’t go into one
    thing without going into another, and I certainly could. But this is what I believe in a nutshell: I believe Christianity is broken
    and in need of an overhaul, and has been for a long time. Not enough
    people know/understand Judeo-Christian history or the purpose of the Church, even
    though they truly believe they do and would die because they believe it.
    To me there are two main issues: 1) The church as a whole is having
    too negative an impact on people, and 2) It’s becoming more and more
    difficult to convince people that they need a relationship with God,
    mainly due to ignorance- both Christian ignorance and non-Christian
    ignorance, and a lack of genuine Christian conviction (which can also be tracked to ignorance).

  10. Politics ruined church for me. My church became a Republican social club. It was a sad day when white conservative Christians got into bed with a political party. Yes, they got a place at the table politically but they also built up very high walls between them and minorities, gays, Muslims, liberals, young people, etc. etc.

  11. I have finally made it to a church that preaches the BIBLE, not self help, not rah rah, just Bible. I am enjoying it thoroughly. It is Presbyterian, and Ive always been a Baptist. But I don’t see myself going back. And no half hour invitations either!! SS is a great time of fellowship with guys I work with. Really enjoy it.

  12. The Jamaica Gleaner ran an excellent article several years ago, about why men don’t go to church. They had several valid points unrelated to “hobbies” and such.

    One point was that men don’t think or talk like “As The Deer As the deer panteth for the water So my soul longeth after Thee” … yet we sing stuff like that all the time. Also there’s not a lot of overt challenge in church, whereas men like to rise to a challenge. And churches do not encourage striving for greatness (note, they didn’t say “glory”), whereas men are programmed to do just that.

    There were other points, but these are the ones I recall, and do serve to illustrate the issues.

  13. An interesting perspective on why men leave the church. I think you’re hitting on some good points here. In many cases, I think men do want some kind of action or excitement, and church can never be compelling when it’s something you just do out of guilt. As with other institutions (like politics), what begins as something pure often devolves over time into a man-made program or system. Religion is the crystalization of the Spirit into a set of codes and rules. By the time it solidifies, you’re just performing rites and rituals that have lost their original meaning. The desire that men have for action is really just an expression of how we want to encounter a real and living God–not just a man out of the pages of a storybook. We desire the unpredictability and excitement of dealing with an active Holy Spirit. I think God himself is what’s missing from these churches that you speak of–I mean God as a person: his presence, his Holy Spirit. When he actually shows up, we’re never bored or watching the clock. I think God wants to be let out of the box, and in fact his deepest desire I believe is to be known as a person. I think he’s waiting for us to release our religious grip over our lives and our services, where we begin to seek an actual relationship with him to partner with us through life.

  14. I once heard leadership people at a successful mega church make fun of a small struggling Lutheran church down the street from their stadium, describing them as “old white men wearing dresses preaching to old ladies”; belittling their “dying” catechisms, confirmations, hymns — repeatedly calling the congregation “dead.” I found that attitude arrogant and offensive.

    The celebrity leader of this mega church is found of retelling how the small church he grew up in was “dying,” practically “dead.” And that lead him to conduct surveys asking “irreligious” people what they want out of church. With savvy marketing, he gave people what they wanted – rock concert shows and no expository preaching; Sunday services are hallmarked by avoidance of Biblical exegesis — because people found it “boring,” “too judgmental,” and it’s a “turn off.”

    Old white people who like organ music, eat at Chick-fil-A and prefer to watch Fox News need the Gospel preached to them as much as people in ripped jeans who are drawn to the
    programming of the “hip, cool and alive” seeker-sensitive mega churches with their rock bands, complete with smoke machines and computer-controlled stage lights. We shouldn’t be labeling others as “dead,” just because we have a different idea of doing church.

    Church attendance can be a form of discipline, an act of submission and obedience, a process of perseverance, a walk of unexciting faithfulness. Yes, sometimes there is martyrdom, but not every week need to be a bloody battle. There is a time for militancy, but also a time for ordinary, quiet faith. Instead of rolling your eyes, I challenge you to find brotherhood with this perky Chick-fil-A cashier. I bet you’ll find that you have far more in common than you think.

    • Carlos, thanks for stopping by. A couple of thoughts: 1) I do not represent what you are saying about this megachurch leader, I assure you. I do not think musical style is a hindrance to men, and I certainly don’t encourage non-biblical, non-exegetical sermons. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression, but that’s not what I was espousing. 2) I have many friends who are older, godly, passionate men who attend more traditional churches like the one you are describing. My intent was not to roll my eyes at this man but to diagnose some boredom I see in men in the church in general. 3) I certainly agree that everything is not exciting and that the Christian life is often obedience, submission and discipline. But I do think there can be a genuine, not-overly-dramatic love for the things of God and a lasting sense of purpose in being involved in the local church–God’s plan to redeem the planet.

      Just wanted to clarify some of that, and I do really appreciate your perspective and I welcome your thoughts.

  15. There is a great book by David Murrow entitled “Why Men Hate Going to Church”…not sure if anyone here has read it.

    Most American Christianity centers on not offending women. Music ministers too often pick songs that 1) most men can’t physically sing the octave and/or 2) appeal to predominantly female emotions of love and adoration. How many real guys want to sing ‘I could sing of your love forever’ or “I’m lost without you…I’m desperate for you”. I don’t blame the Christian men arriving late to church and leaving early. Also, too often, sermons are softened and filtered in order to avoid offending women, or even non-Christians in the assembly. Christian men who read their Bibles can see the hypocrisy. I am a big believer in honest, rubber-meets-the road, men’s ministry and one-on-one discipleship. Until churches change and actively focus on building Godly men, we will continue to see men with stunted growth, marriages that suffer and fail, and children that suffer from having fathers who are poorly trained in Biblical principles and priorities.

    Thank you for working to establish a church where men are ministered to in a powerful way.

  16. If men hate church, then they don’t love Jesus nor have met the power of his resurrection.

    • Or, the hated ‘church’ is different than the ‘church’ that Jesus loved and gave himself up for.

  17. Not a big fan of the military references. Militant christianity isn’t as good of a thing as you portray it. Militant religion is something real militaries have been fighting for a couple decades now, so those stories of heroism fighting people with more ideology than goodwill have a much different lesson to learn than what you advocate. Talk to any combat veteran about how good an idea that is. They might think weekend organist sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday. Beats combat patrol on your third, fourth, or fifth deployment. There are even children present that are neither potential collateral damage nor potential trigger-pullers. Sounds nice, actually. Feeding the hungry rather than creating more hungry? Seriously, militant christianity doesn’t sound good at all.

    The generalized question of what men want is a bit lazy, intellectually. There are many types of men. Some want brotherhood and daring. We have different military jobs for that, extreme sports, that no church should be copying. Have a church practice fire team infantry tactics assaulting a mockup city street? Lots to engage the active man there, but that sounds too much like sovereign citizen “patriot” groups that might tip into domestic terrorist territory.

    Getting tired of militant Christians trying to manly-up christianity. There are no enemies, only people struggling to do the best they can. Some fail, and they need help. What you do for the least of these should be your basis for worship, not satisfying adrenaline junkies.

    • Thanks for stopping by Mike. For the record, I do think having a biblical and engaged mission is different than militant Christianity appealing to adrenaline junkies. I was advocating for the former and not the latter.

      • Your version of Christianity as presented in this article is the definition of militant religion, the enemy of humanity, the type that gets kids killed and destroys nations. Lead off with a picture of harried, tired men facing uncertain death in Vietnam. You see an Army. Men exhorting others to follow them into battle. You see a war on evil. There are bombs and guns to go up against. These are your words. If that is not what you meant, then your writing and your understanding of what you yourself wrote is poor. I’ve been to war, and I’ve taught college and high school. On war, you are so wrong as to be the enemy in christian form. Stop it. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about with war, armies, bombs and guns. Stop it. On writing maybe a C for effort, with an interesting premise but imagery that doesn’t support your desired conclusion as stated in your reply.

        You also didn’t address my other point, which is generalizing an entire gender into one “manly” stereotype. First, understand that there are many types of men, much more than your shallow “biblical” idea (it’s not biblical either, but others use the bible to support such intellectual drenn). Read a bit on human gender and personality types, especially if you also touch on leadership and followership, and marketing church attendance to different demographics.

        So I guess I’m saying you’re a fool about wars and armies, and malicious and evil to tie religion to images of carnage and ripped up bodies and minds. Unless you at least see a military triage center, possibly combat itself, you are a fool. Stop it. Your intellectual point has the beginnings of interesting ideas, but they are poorly thought out, insufficiently researched, and the imagery is breathtakingly innappropriate.

        And stop tieing it to war. I’ve seen war, it’s physical and emotional effects. Stop that drenn RTF now. Before you hurt someone.

        • Mike, I think this is a conversation that would be better suited elsewhere than a comments section. There is a clear Scriptural analogy to struggle/battle (Eph 6:12 & Revelation war passages like Revelation 19) and having a real enemy in Satan & demons. But I think there was a big difference in what I intended for the metaphor and the extents to which you read it. So I am sorry for any insensitivity for veterans and the ugliness of war. I did not intend that.

          Thanks for your perspective.

          • Commenting directly on your recent writing is the best venue. Contradicting you is useful and manly: I think you are wrong, it’s my job to speak up. In this case I know you are wrong. You are playing with dangerous things, and doing so in a demonstrably shallow way, which introduces ignorance and inexperience into the equation. Danger plus ignorance plus inexperience equals potential, even likely, harm to yourself and others.

            For what a man, or a woman, actually is, a decent place to start are modern personality tests that business and military leaders use. The Four Colors is a good intro to the subject. Green: intellectual, loner, fixer. Orange: thrill seeker, jester, rule-breaker, very social, natural leader. Gold: rule follower, thinks in binary terms, likes schedules and colors in the lines. Blue: compassionate, giver, parental, puts others first. Usually a person is a mix of these. For instance, I’m off-the-chart green with strong orange and blue, with little patience for golds. A case for Jesus puts him as a green/blue equal mix, weakest area is gold. Apostle Paul is a dominant gold, with strong green and weaker orange and weakest at blue. Every person is a different mix, and a good leader, businessman, pastor, or marketing rep understands that all four exist in both genders, all four types are required for effective groups, and the mix is of infinite variety. You seem to complain about Blues, mistakingly equating them with women. This is shallow at best, and if you marginalize or shut out Blue personalities, your group will predictably fail along a compassion fault line. This just from a basic intro, the subject itself is much more complex and acting on it in real time with live people is a learned skill. You have much work to do.

            And drop the war references, and I dont care what scriptures you cite there are scriptures that refute them. You going straight to Revelations is another sign of danger to me. Revelations has been the justification of much harm, evil, and suffering for centuries. Down that path is a Christian jihad. I for one will fight anyone going down that path. Both my green and my blue traits demand it. My orange saw its day in a war zone, but it’s still there, and it informs green and blue.

            • Mike, 1) I am not going down the path of a Christian jihadist. The fact that you would draw the potential for that conclusion genuinely baffles me. 2) The ironic thing about your personality assessment is that I’m probably more blue than anything else. 3) My point stands that Scripture uses the imagery of soldiers, therefore it is an acceptable and useful metaphor and not intended to be over-applied in unhelpful ways. Any metaphor breaks down at some point. See 2 Timothy 2:1-4: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

              If you’d like to continue this conversation feel free to email me at brandon@brandonclements.com.

      • If military analogies don’t suit everyone, they still well express the desire of men to work together as men in a spirit of sacrifice. Yes, sports analogies can do that do a point, but only in the context of games, which Christianity is not.

  18. Great stuff, dude.

  19. I think people have the wrong idea of what the church is. Church is not some group of leaders telling you what to do, or doing it for you. If someone is bored with their church, it’s their own fault… get with it. There are people dying and going to hell. Are you such a wuss so as to sit back and complain that other people don’t do anything about it? Somehow I don’t see Paul and his co-workers quite that lazy. Man up and do something about it. There’s no room for wusses in the Kingdom of God. Besides, if you’re really in Christ, you’ll be part of the church, if you aren’t, you won’t. It’s no church’s fault you find life in service to the King boring, why don’t you go watch grown men play with a ball…

    • John, I don’t even know where to start with this, so I won’t. Maybe I’ll just say that I don’t see Paul getting on blogs and calling people “wusses” in the comment sections:)

      • I don’t know…perhaps Paul would have been a somewhat caustic blogger. “Those agitators should castrate themselves” (Gal 5:12) “Those younger widows? They just turn into gossips and busybodies!” (1 Tim 5) “How ’bout them people from Crete…liars, evil and lazy…they need to be silenced!” (Titus 1).

        Just thinkin’.

        Obviously, men are responsible for what they know they should be doing (James 4:17). I think many men haven’t been trained to know what they should be doing. I wouldn’t call them ‘wusses’, but something like ‘candidates for boot camp’. The problem is that too few churches preach Christian responsibilities on a regular basis. The default setting for most preachers is to concentrate on Christian-comfort teachings that emphasize grace, mercy, salvation, peace, and security. Those are all important topics (and highly appealing to most women), but they miss the most challenging parts of the Christian life.

        I teach a co-ed Sunday adult class. When I teach on grace and peace, most of the women gently nod their head in agreement. The guys don’t generally respond. But when I teach on challenges and responsibilities, the women get more strained looks on their faces and the men get engaged and can’t wait to chime in. Try it yourself when you’re in a mixed group.

  20. Why does brotherhood always have to be “elbows deep”? Why is it so damned relentless? Jesus is my King and I crave a battle. And I crave real, genuine friends to fight with me.

    But, my God, can I have a minute to breath without some dude feeling obligated to input. He thinks it’s his spiritual mandate. I think it’s an invitation to punch him.

  21. I go to church for the same reason I stay married: I just love her. I believe in the church like I believe in marriage but I don’t come home to my wife every night because it’s “marriage” but rather because I need her and she needs me, till death do us part. That’s what brings men to church: Being with people they need and who need them

  22. Really, “pastor”, OHMYGAH? What part of “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” didn’t they teach you at seminary?
    I really liked this post, but had a bit of a stumble over that.

    • Hey Mark, God’s name isn’t God. It’s JHWH and no one knows how to pronounce it. Ask a Jewish Hebrew scholar, not your seminary prof. that’s been steeped in Greek thinking.

      • Really? Does it make it any less offensive to JHWH by sissy swearing using “GAH”? Hows about Ecc. 5:1, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few”

  23. Men learn best when they can see it in practice. We know that we get our concept of God by observing our own fathers. We know that our wives and mothers are a type of the church. Eph 5:22-24 Sadly many of our mothers and wives want to be pursued by their spouse, but do not want to pursue them. They want to be wined and dined. As children we pattern our relation to our future Bridegroom by how our mother submits to our father. This is continued in our marriage.

  24. Ryan Thomas Neace March 1, 2015 — 3:28 pm

    Some good ideas to start, but ultimately derailed by all of the military and war metaphors. There are 16, btw.

  25. Great post and Brandon is a pretty awesome name 😉

    I’m not a typical man and don’t enjoy the typical masculine things, so for a different perspective I love Jesus and love a healthy church but get bored and tune out in the ways that the church attempts to, or has attempted to for decades, to reach out and build that brotherhood with men in the church. I go every week but still feel disconnected most of the time because I don’t fit into the mold that most churches have for men. So I think it is a far reaching and multifaceted issue beyond even just men who aren’t coming to church at all.

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