Why are Christian churches full of women and lacking men? Widows, single moms, married but without their husbands next to them in the pew defines the largest percentage of church attendees. Why is this so? I think the reasons for it are broad and I don’t have enough time to write on it all, so I will only hit on the issue that I believe stands out most.
I want to say first that there are allot of good men who are without faith that do the same things Christian men do. There is a defining difference between us however but first, I ask, what do we have in common with them? Morality, ethics, providers, good fathering, good husbands, family man, community minded, service oriented, leaders in business, education among a few things. You don’t beat your wife good for you! You go to all your kids events, good for you! You hold a job and pay your mortgage, good for you! These are the things all men should be doing; what separates the man of faith from the man of the world? The man of faith leads his family into the realm of faith, he is not in the shadows or AWOL in this matter. So why are men AWOL and living in the shadow lands, shirking their God given responsibility to lead their homes to God? I believe we lack examples and quite frankly I think that many Christian men are cowards and need to be encouraged to be bold and step out in faith to lead.
How many men will come to a church golf outing? How about a hunters dinner? What about a camping weekend for fathers and sons? You can fill a church gym if you have a raffle for guns but nobody shows when it comes to men being men in spiritual matters. Offer a men’s group for prayer and bible study and you will hear every excuse in the book, but there are no excuses to attend a men’s Super Bowl gathering. This is an age old problem, its connected to a curse and must be overcome with courage and examples of bold leadership.
Adam failed to lead and followed his wife into willful sin. God pronounced curses on them which included great pain in childbearing and that, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16) God places an authority and submission context to marriage, the man is to lead his wife. The man is to lead his wife to God, his family to God, his church to God, as well as his community, and his world to the very feet of Jesus.
Why are churches full of women and a few weak kneed men hanging around in their shadows? First, I believe there are few men boldly leading other men into their God given role and duty. I also find very few men interested in following a strong leader into this responsibility. Thankfully we have an example of a strong leader and a fearful mentee to observe in the scriptures. Paul and Timothy help me see the issue more clearly. Timothy was a young, timid and fearful pastor but Paul chose him and mentored him through all the fears that came their way.
Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother and grandmother. These women faithfully led Timothy to God, apparently his father was not involved in these matters. The apostle Paul shows up to his home town and hears of Timothy and that he is well spoken of in his community. Paul was on the move because of persecution and needs to leave town again but desires to take Timothy with him and train him for ministry like a son. What they encounter first must have scared the pants of Timothy when he saw Paul beaten and thrown in jail right from the start.
The Spirit leads them into Macedonia and the city of Philippi where they go to the river on the Sabbath day to find a group of women in a prayer meeting. There were no men, Paul arrives and preaches Jesus to these God fearing women and one name Lydia is saved.. Luke says, “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things of Paul” From there a demon possessed girl is delivered which results in Paul and Silas being thrown in jail. The jailer is saved and the church of Philippi is born, but not without the pain of persecution. (Acts 16) The persecution gets worse as Paul preaches while Timothy looks at the cost of being a disciple of Jesus and a mentee of Paul. Paul was there to encourage him to press on in the good fight of faith despite the difficulty.
Timothy is later given a church to oversee in Ephesus where the hostility towards Christianity is hot. As Paul is in prison he writes his final letter to his son in the faith reminding him of the godly heritage provided him by his mother and grandmother. Timothy was timid, fearful and weak but Paul was bold and courageous, he mentors him and encourages him to follow him as he follows Christ. Paul writes to the people of Corinth concerning pastor Tim, “Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ as I teach everywhere in every church (1 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)
Paul is in prison and will soon lose his head under the blade of Nero, he writes this last letter to his friend. Timothy was in danger of timidly drawing back into the shadows, but Paul, as he nears his beheading stirs up his friend by giving some final instructions. He says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) If men are afraid to lead spiritually we can be assured it doesn’t come from God, on the contrary we have everything we need for life and godliness. Paul says to hold fast the teachings, to be unashamed regardless of the opposition.
Paul continues, “And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) What does a man of faith look like, are they on the golf course? In the woods or the lake? Are they on the job or watching the NFL network? Men of faith lead in the faith and they will suffer for it. The question I have for myself as a man and for other men is this; Am I a coward or am I willing to pay a high price to lead in spiritual matters?
Paul doesn’t sugarcoat the price we must pay, Jesus never did either. He says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) It’s warfare we need to free yourself from the world. We are like olympians who must be disciplined and devoted and committed to the the rules. The man of God must also be patient to the end like a farmer waiting for the harvest. Keeping his gaze on Jesus all the time as he leads in spiritual things. Men are to lead their wives as Christ leads his church. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26)
Consider Joshua who was a man among men but then Moses his mentor in the faith died. God comes to Joshua like Paul approached Timothy with an encouraging word to be courageous. He was a general of the armies of Israel yet God says 3 times to be courageous. God told him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV) Attention Christian men! Do you want God by your side wherever you go in life? Then be strong and unafraid; step out in faith into the battle and lead the way.
You first have to have faith to be a faithful man. If you have faith, are you leading the way for those around you. Will you man up and lead the ladies, and ladies will you allow them to lead in the way God called them to lead? Will both male and female accept the word of God to us that says the following. “Let the woman learn quietly, with all submissiveness. I do not permit women to teach or exercise authority over a man, she is to remain quiet.” Why Paul? “For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (1 Timothy 2:11-14) This is the word of God to us.
Men we are failing our families, stand up and lead them! Find a good godly mentor to learn from and then mentor others like God has called us to do. If there is any doubt as to what you are called to as a Christian man consider that Jesus called 12 disciples to lead the church all of which were men. Those men appointed men to lead in the spiritual matters of the church. All this begins in our own homes men, lead your wives boldly there. Take your family to church seek a mentor and mentor others. There are plenty of cowards in the world, may it never be said of Christian men. What are you, a man or a mouse? Squeak up!