I rarely agree with our bishop, Sally Dyck, but I do check her blog frequently. A few weeks ago she wrote a post she called “Rise up, O Men of God!” and it intrigued me. I have always been one to wonder why we don’t see more men in church. We often see their wives, but a lot of their husbands just don’t come. And to get them to go to any kind of Bible study is like pulling teeth!
So I was pleased to see our bishop address this topic. Here’s a little excerpt from what she wrote, talking about James Twitchell’s book, Shopping for God:
“Women, he says, want to go to church and take their children. Men don’t want to go and want to be comfortable in cinema-type seats as opposed to pews; they don’t like to sing in public, especially if they can’t read music. He said (please don’t blast me for his words!): “Men have to be coddled in order to go to church.” I thought that was a bit over the top and a grand, sweeping generalization but he did say it!
Most importantly men need groups where they can talk about the Bible with each other, what it means to go through a divorce or what it’s like to be misunderstood at work or how to be a father. Often Bible studies are both genders because we’re trying so desperately just to get some warm bodies there. I wonder how many of our churches have men’s groups. When are they? Are they well-received?
I also know that children are more likely to get the idea that religion is important if their dads are actively involved and if their families (mothers and/or fathers in this case) read the Bible and pray outside of church.”
As you may know, I have taught adult Bible study classes in our church for quite a number of years. But rarely have I seen men in my class. I can think of only three who ever attended with any regularity.
Is there anything we could do to get those absentee husbands to come to church? Is there any chance of forming a successful United Methodist Men’s group at Belgrade again? Would a men’s Bible study class work at Belgrade?
What do you think?