It is Sunday morning Jane has the children dressed and ready to go. She also is ready to head out for morning worship, but where is John? He decided to take the day and go fishing, why? This is the premise of the most recent book that I have read, “Why Men Hate Going to Church” by David Murrow. I will admit that when I first got this book I was hoping to find something that I could actually tear apart, and write a strong critique of a book that I didn’t really feel was worth reading. Oh boy was I ever wrong! Although I may not agree with all that the author writes about, this book was certainly worth reading.
On this particular book there is a variety of reviews. Some people rate it an average book because the author was able to string two sentences together, mind you if that was all a book had I would give it a 1. Others rise up and praise this book as the newest and best thing to hit men. I’m probably somewhere in the middle. So let me tell you why.
Having been raised in the Church I have noticed that a lot of what David Murrow talks about is true. There are so many ministries in many local bodies of Christ, but who runs those ministries? Quite frankly, it is the women. Now I want it known that I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but I do have to ask, “Where are the men?” This is probably a better understanding of this book then some have given it credit.
As I said, when I first saw this book listed as a book I could review I immediately looked at a group of reviews, and the formulated my opinion of the book off of that. Now here I am a week later, and I was at Church watching some of the behaviors of the men in the congregation. Some have said this book doesn’t present the gospel, which is true, but again that was not the purpose of this book. The purpose of this book was to find out why Christian men aren’t being the fishers of men that God called them to be.
David takes the time to address what he calls a vicious circle that has been impacting the Church since the pre-Victorian era. By and large Churches will start with a decent percentage of men as well as women, and then slowly the men begin to drift away. What happens is a Church begins meeting, and then building a building, but then the work left to do is leading a ministry like Children’s Church, or Sunday school, or Bible Study. As these ministries begin to get established in the Church the women begin to rise up and volunteer to lead this ministry or to lead that ministry. As more and more women rise to the leadership positions the priorities change as women are more emotional based (again not a bad thing) then men are, and so more and more women are attracted to get their spiritual high, and men are left wondering what has happened. This is part of the cycle that Mr. Murrow speaks about in this book.
Now David is not beating up any of these ministries. His focus is instead on how men and women interact differently, and therefore these ministries which have their purpose lose their priority and men are shut off, and begin to leave the ministry work to the women, only exacerbating the situation that had lead to them being shut off. In fact David spends the last eleven chapters speaking about how Churches can reengage their men.
From a personal stand point, this book has made me begin to watch and observe. Right now our Church is the middle of a building campaign, and so there is a lot for the men to be involved with and participants in at this time. In fact just last week the men were asked to help get some of the wall trimming placed around the gym/sanctuary floor. This was a great opportunity for some of us to rise up and help our body of believers. However, will the men stay engaged?
Over the past year at least the men’s ministry of our Church has taken off in a way which I couldn’t believe. As I said earlier, I was raised in Church since the age of 8 and this is the first Men’s ministry that I’ve seen so strong in the Church. In fact I often brag about how our Men’s Ministry is closer knit, than I’ve witnessed through my wife, than the Women’s Ministry of the Church. This book has made me ask, “Will it last?” In this book I think David Murrow does a great job showing how men relate shoulder to shoulder. I think this book is a tool that every Pastor, Elder Board, Servant Leader, and layman would benefit from. I think this book is a book that every wife will benefit from as she sees how dragging her husband to church will not make him the spiritual leader that she needs.
Now that I have offered praise of this book, there is a least one thought that did still bugs me about it; I think some of the comments that David makes are just plain wrong. I am a man who enjoys dressing up for Church on Sunday morning. Very seldom will I attend church in anything less than slacks, a nice dress shirt, and a tie. I find it frustrating that David Murrow seems to imply that the only men truly satisfied with Church are the more feminine. I was an athlete in high school, and in fact I’m still very competitive, almost to a fault. I think this concept that a man cannot be both an athlete and an academic is disrespectful and untrue.
Every person who professes faith in Jesus Christ should engage in regular time of worship both corporately as well as personally. I think every believer should have regular times where they dig into the WORD of God, and learn and grow from the author and finisher of our faith Jesus Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit. I also believe that just because the Church has been feminized is no excuse for a man to not attend. He is called to be the spiritual leader of his family, not the Church, and even if there are problems, a man still needs to be regularly engaged in the Scriptures. All this being said I still give this book 4 out of 5. I believe every believer, male and female, can benefit from this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”