Spring 2006

The Feminization of the Church

Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away

By Holly Pivec

The leaders of a new, Christian movement think they’ve solved a centuries-old mystery: why men are absent from church. But their answer isn’t politically correct.

They believe Christianity has become feminized.

There are generally more women than men in every type of church, in every part of the world, according to church growth experts like Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World.

A traditional explanation is that women are more spiritual than men. But the leaders of this new movement suggest that the church’s music, messages and ministries cater to women. One of the leaders is David Murrow, author of a provocative book Why Men Hate Going to Church (Nelson Books), who spoke with Biola Connections.

The result of this feminization is that many men, even Christian men, view churches as “ladies clubs” and don’t go — or they often go to please their wives. Murrow’s solution is to restore a masculine ethos. Many men’s ministers, including some Biolans, agree.

But isn’t the reverse true — that the church is controlled by men?

True, 93 percent of senior pastors in America are men, according to evangelical pollster George Barna. But, the majority of attendees in a typical church are women. Barna goes so far as to refer to women as “the backbone of the Christian congregations in America.”

“[I]t’s not too hard to discern the target audience of the modern church: a middle-aged to elderly woman,” Murrow said in an interview with Faithreader.com.

The same claim was made by an earlier, more academic book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity (Spence Publishing Company), by Leon J. Podles, a senior editor of Touchstone Magazine. But Murrow’s book has had a bigger impact among evangelicals and has been featured by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The book has resonated with many men — like Max West, from Payson, Ariz., who wrote in a review on Amazon.com: “[It] opened my eyes as to why I have had such a miserable church experience for the last 30 years.”

Robert York, from Tigard, Ore., wrote: “It has … helped me identify why I've been so frustrated with church so many times.”

But Murrow said he addressed his book mainly to women, including married women who have been disappointed over their husbands’ lack of involvement and to single women who have bemoaned the lack of single, churchgoing men. He said women — who have felt powerless getting men to attend church — actually have the most influence in the churches and, thus, the most power to reverse the feminization.

Even Murrow’s critics — who accuse him of promoting a “hypermasculinity” — agree that Murrow has drawn attention to an alarming gender gap.

Mind the Gap
The gender gap began as early as the 13th century, according to some church historians. Others say it began during the Industrial Revolution. Nancy Pearcey, a visiting scholar at Biola, outlines this theory in her book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity (Crossway Books).

Pearcey said industrialization forced men to seek work away from home, in factories and offices, which created a split between the public and private spheres of life. The public sphere became secularized through the new values of competition and self-interest, and the private sphere came to represent the old values of nurturing and religion, Pearcey said. Thus, religion came to be seen as for women and children and not as relevant to the “real” world of business, politics and academia, she said.

Soon, in churches, women began to outnumber men, Pearcey said. So, male pastors began to adapt churches to their female demographic, she said.

But, interestingly, the gender gap is distinct to Christianity, according to Murrow and Podles. Other religions seem to have a gender balance or even more men than women — including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam, they said.

Men’s absence is especially noteworthy, they said, given that men were a strong force in the early church.

An exception to the gender gap may be found in some Muslim countries, like Morocco, where churches of Muslim converts are sometimes almost entirely men, according to Johnstone. But he estimates that, worldwide, the church is 66 percent women.

In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book American Evangelicalism (University of Chicago Press).

The imbalance is greatest in rural churches, small churches, older churches, traditionally black denominations, and in liberal churches, Murrow said, citing research from the 1998 National Congregations Study. It’s smallest in non-denominational and Baptist churches, he said.

About 23 percent of married women attend without their husbands, according to Murrow.

The men who do attend show less commitment, including less participation in Sunday School, small groups and service activities, according to Barna. Men also report less practice of spiritual disciplines like tithing, Bible reading, evangelism and prayer.

Ladies Clubs
Gender differences explain why more women are drawn to church than men, according to Murrow and Podles. They believe these differences are revealed by the Bible, biology, anthropology, psychology and human experience.

Stereotypical gender differences have become so accepted that they are assumed in standardized psychological tests. The MMPI, for example, seeks to measure whether a person is more masculine or more feminine based on the person’s interest in activities that are typically preferred by men or women.

To describe many women, Murrow lists traits like “relational,” “nurturing” and “peace-making.” He describes many men as “goal-driven,” “competitive” and “adventurous.” These differences show up in the types of movies many women and many men like: romantic vs. adventure films, Murrow said. In sum, women thrive when secure, and men thrive when challenged, he said.

But Dr. Gary Strauss, a professor in Biola’s Rosemead School of Psychology, warns that Murrow may be promoting a “hypermasculinity” — the idea that all men should fit the stereotypical norm of a “man’s man,” like the Marlboro Man — tough, outdoorsy and self-reliant.

“He seems to place such a strong emphasis on the hypermasculine image that he doesn’t adequately affirm men of a different type,” Strauss said. “To me, from the hyperfeminine woman, on the one end of the human spectrum, to the hymermasculine man, on the other, and every person in between (assuming psychological health), reflects the breadth and image of God,” he said.

Strauss added that a study by Sandra Bem, of Cornell University, indicates that men (or women) with a blend of both masculine and feminine traits may be more psychologically prepared to handle the range of challenges life presents than “hypermasculine” men (or “hyperfeminine” women).

Yet, because churches have more women, Murrow believes their stereotypical strengths are more valued — and are even seen as more godly. Masculine strengths are often seen as unneeded or as threats to the peaceful status quo, he said.

Johnstone believes the feminization of the church reflects a feminization of the larger culture.

“Our whole society has tended to deprive men of their biblical and creational strengths and empower women,” Johnstone said.

As a result, many people think of church only as a nurturing place that addresses personal needs, Pearcey said. Think: sitting in circles, sharing feelings, holding hands, singing softly, comforting members.

Love Songs and Feminine Spirituality
An example of the feminization of the church is its music. Typical praise songs refer to Jesus as a Christian’s lover and praise his beauty and tenderness. Rarely do they praise his justice or strength, or refer to him as the head of an army leading his church into spiritual battle, like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

“There’s definitely a trend toward a more intimate music style, like the music from the Vineyard,” said Dr. Barry Liesch, a professor of music at Biola and author of The New Worship (Baker Books).

Feminized music concerns Steve Craig (’05), a graduate of Biola’s degree completion program and the director of a men’s ministry of over 400 men at Yorba Linda Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif.

“In our men’s ministry, we’re beginning to take out the flowery songs and replace them with the warrior-type lyrics and more masculine things that men identify with,” Craig said.

Mike Erre (M.A. ’04) the director of a men’s ministry of over 400 men at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif. — said feminine expressions of spirituality are more validated than masculine expressions.

“The classic example is the worship pose of the eyes shut and the arms raised in this tender embrace, singing a song that says, ‘I’m desperate for you. You’re the air I breathe.’ Guys don’t talk to guys like that,” Erre said.

A feminized spirituality began in the 13th century, Podles said in his book The Church Impotent. One cause, he said, was women mystics who popularized “bridal imagery,” the metaphor of an individual Christian as the bride of Christ. (The biblical metaphor is of the corporate church as the bride of Christ, not the individual person.) They also used erotic imagery to describe their soul’s relationship with Christ. This feminization explains the abrupt departure of men from the church beginning in the 13th century, according to Podles.

Today the bridal imagery continues. Many books, for example, have titles like Falling in Love With Jesus: Abandoning Yourself to the Greatest Romance of Your Life (Nelson Impact), released, ironically, by the publisher of Murrow’s book. This may be because Christian publishers know women are the main consumers of Christian books. Seventy percent of customers in Christian retail stories are women, according to Bill Anderson, the president and CEO of the Christian Booksellers Association and a member of Biola’s School of Business Advisory Board.

Even some men’s ministries have encouraged feminine expressions of spirituality, like Promise Keepers, whose advertisements in the 1990s showed men singing, holding hands, hugging and crying, Murrow said. But Promise Keepers is now using more masculine tactics. The advertisements for their 2006 conference, titled “Unleashed,” depict flashes of lightening and say: “It is not about learning how to be a nicer guy. It's about becoming the powerful man God designed you to be.” Whether their new approach works remains to be seen.

Men’s Ministry — A Church’s Lowest Priority
Another example of feminization is a lack of ministries for men. Women have Bible studies, prayer groups, support groups, teas, and retreats and, of course, children have a plethora of programs. But some churches offer only an annual retreat for men. Yet, this is the opposite of the way Jesus did ministry, according to Murrow. He said Jesus focused on men, knowing that women and children would follow.

According to an oft-quoted statistic from Promise Keepers, when a mother comes to faith in Christ, her family follows 34 percent of the time, but when a father comes to faith his family follows 93 percent of the time.

“It’s very seldom you have a man in church whose wife is staying home,” said Dr. Erik Thoennes, a theology professor at Biola and the teaching elder at Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, Calif.

So, what will it take to get men into church?

They need to see the greater purpose — their role in the advancing the kingdom of God, according to Erre.

“The gospel that Jesus and Paul preached is revolutionary, and it’s worth giving your life to,” Erre said. “But part of the reason guys aren’t involved is that we’ve sold them a milquetoast gospel. We don’t paint it as big enough — or God as awesome enough — to be compelling,” he said.

Instead, the church often leaves the impression that, once people get saved, their role is to bide time until they go to heaven, Erre said.

“If men think they’re going to church to check off a box, that leaves them totally uninspired,” said Danny Wallen (’88, M.Div. ’93), a director for Every Man Ministries in Trabuco Canyon, Calif. Wallen was raised in a Christian home, but said he was bored by church into his adult years. Looking back, he realizes he didn’t see purpose.

Also, many church service opportunities are geared for women — like working in the nursery, teaching children, cooking and hospitality. So, many men feel their options are limited to ushering, directing parking, or sitting on a committee — activities that might not allow them to use their skills or challenge them.

When men can’t contribute, they feel worthless, according to Gentry Gardner (’83), the founder of Sure Passage, a men’s ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Once they feel discouraged, they pull back and disconnect,” he said.

Even professionals who join church committees, like a building or finance committee, often complain that the skills they contribute to the corporate world — like taking risks, making hard decisions, and thinking outside the box — aren’t welcome in many churches, whose governing boards tend to play it safe, according to Murrow. As a result, less gets accomplished, which can be frustrating to men who are results-driven, he said.

For example, some businessmen might suggest that a church cut an ineffective program that is costing time and money and replace it with a more effective one. But inefficient programs often remain because a more feminine value — of not hurting people’s feelings — wins out.

The reason younger churches typically have more men than older churches may be because more of men’s gifts — like vision casting and risk taking — are needed until a church becomes settled.

One way Murrow’s church involves men is through an automotive ministry that takes donated vehicles, fixes them, and gives them to single mothers and the working poor. A side benefit is that men develop friendships with other men in the context of doing things together, which is more natural for them than sitting in a circle talking — the typical church format, according to Murrow.

Social justice ministries — that allow men to use their skills to help the weak and provide interaction with business and politics — are especially appealing to men, Podles said.

Craig said mission trips are exciting for many men in his church because they offer challenge, adventure and specific goals: “like construction projects, where they can get their hands dirty and see a finished project in the end,” he said.

Touchy-Feely Sermons
Another turn-off for men is touchy-feely sermons. Pearcey said the modern church stresses emotions and inner spiritual experiences while neglecting the intellectual side of the faith.

“The more traditionally masculine side of Christianity enjoys crossing swords with hostile secular worldviews. So, as long as Christianity appeals to the emotional, therapeutic, interpersonal, relational areas, it’s not going to appeal to men as much as to women,” Pearcey said.

Churches should engage men’s intellects to help them see the relevance of Christianity to the “real” world of politics, industry and business, Pearcey said.

“We have to recover the notion that Christianity is true on all levels, not just for your emotional life or repairing relationships, as important as those things are,” she said.

Many churches emphasize Jesus’ softer teachings, like his love and his desire to save, and they ignore the doctrines of sin and hell, according to Podles. But men dislike liberal Christianity — “a mild religion of progress and enlightenment” as opposed to a battle between good and evil, Podles said.

Men want to expend their lives for a great cause, even if it involves risk, according to Murrow. He said that’s why the U.S. military’s “Army of One” campaign was effective. But American churches rarely teach about Christian suffering and martyrdom, Murrow said. Instead, today’s Christianity is presented as an antidote to these things, he said.

“Men are more attracted to religion if it presented as a quest, an adventure, a heroic exploit,” Pearcey said. “They want something challenging, bracing, demanding.”

To reach men, churches should stress the cost and dangers of following Christ — including Christians’ conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, according to Podles.

Yet, men should be reminded that the sacrifice won’t always be a “huge, glorious display like William Wallace stepping out on a battlefield,” Erre said. Many times it will be staying in a troubled marriage, raising a handicapped child, or working a hated job to provide for a family, he said.

Girly-Men Pastors
Touchy-feely sermons come from touchy-feely pastors. A feminized church tends to attract more “gentle, sensitive, nurturing” leadership,” according to Pearcey.

“If religion is defined primarily in terms of emotional experience and is therapeutic, then who is it going to attract as ministers?” she said.

Pearcey said to consider a typical youth pastor.

“He’s really into relationships, very motivating, but is he teaching good apologetics? Is he teaching youth to use their minds and to understand deeper theological truths? At least the ones I’ve known haven’t,” she said. “Today, the common trajectory is for youth pastors to become senior pastors,” she added.

Murrow argues that the church needs strong, masculine leadership because men follow men. He said Jesus’ disciples are a prime example of this principle.

“Bold leadership attracts men. But even more attractive than a dynamic pastor is the sight of men in the pews who are true followers of Jesus Christ,” Murrow said in his book.

Morrow anticipates concern from some women that he is promoting unilateral male leadership. He said he is not seeking male dominance, but male resurgence.

Thoennes is also concerned about a lack of strong, male leadership in the church. But he said, if the church has become feminized, then he doesn’t see that as the fault of women or the church — but of men — who, he believes, have abdicated the involvement they should have.

“If the church doesn’t have enough strong male influence, that’s not a reason for men to stop going, but a great reason for them to go,” he said.

To help male Biola students become leaders, Student Ministries plans to launch a chapter of Men’s Fraternity next fall, led by Jonathan Morrow, a seminary student at Biola.

Yet, much of the church is seeking further feminization, through attempts to increase female clergy and to create gender-neutral Bibles and hymns. Many liberal seminaries now graduate equal numbers of women and men, or more women than men, like Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School.

(Currently, Biola’s seminary, Talbot School of Theology, is about 76 percent men.)

Johnstone believes the feminist movement in mainline churches has contributed to the decline in male membership.

Restoring Balance
Murrow said churches that seek to reverse this feminization might face opposition, as the leaders in his church first did.

But he and other leaders in the men’s movement, like Gardner, believe a masculine spirit will bring men, and gender balance, to the church.

“Once you start attracting a man’s full heart, soul, mind and strength — and he sees that there are ways he can use all those in the church — then we’re going to start seeing a turnaround of the absent man,” Gardner said.



  • Seuri K. June 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I really enjoyed these scripts because of a question asked by my fellow groups "Why there are many women in the churches than men compare to many men in prisons than women?". The only conclusion I since I used a phone read these scripts is that the first church was strong because of men, even Jesus used men in successing his preaching. Therefore to have a strong church today like a first church we must try to balance Masculine and Feminism.

  • Brian C. June 26, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    I have sensed the evangelical church in general has joined our culture in blaming and bashing men. Men are often the but of jokes by their wives in SS class that is supposed to explore Gods design for the marriage....and everyone laughs.

    Often times I come out of a serman feeling a beat to a pulp because my pastor continues to use what seems like only men as examples of what a Christian shouldn't be like. If he talks to the men to point out a biblical concept, its in a tone that is at times berating even using name calling to make his point.

    When he talks to the women...he walks on eggshells

    If he discusses marriage...all bets are off. It is ALWAYS the husbands fault if things are not the way they are supposed to be. I seriously feel that I could watch the average commercial or tv sitcom in how they portray men and feel no different than I do when walking out of a sermen.

    So for all the men out there that LOVE Christ and desire to love their wives as Christ does the church.....be encouraged. Rely on the truth...the word of God. Don't let the male bashing pastors out there discourage you.

  • Allison Q October 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Is making sure male leadership increases from the 93% and that women do not attend seminary in any meaningful numbers (there are already very few at schools such as Westminster Philly and TEDS) really part of restoring balance?

    I do see that in our society men are facing an identity crisis and that our churches are very reactionary against liberal forms of feminism (to the extent of seeing enemies where there are fellow evangelicals at times). I am not so sure that all of the ways suggested for remedying the problem or the best.

    To add more to the discussion, many women in the church have very low self-esteem or can't find much of a place for themselves in leadership roles that does not put them in the nursery, kitchen or stereotypical women's groups that have a lot of fluff, but lack objective content. Abuse of women is also more dominant in cultures and churches that have mostly male leadership models. All of this just to say that maybe the problem is much bigger than one aspect.

    Maybe some of the problem is that we are encouraging those idealized hyper masculine and feminine understandings of people when a good number of people do not match these. Perhaps we have set up improper expectations and the result is not good for men or women. Don't get me wrong, I also believe men and women are different (though not mostly). Just giving some suggestions.

  • james January 5, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Excellent article.

  • Ken May 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I think the argument is bogus. Certainly we can make church a bit more appealing to men, but in the end, Jesus is the most manly man that's ever lived, and that men are not interested in him is because their hearts are ensnared by and attached to other things. The church at large needs to reevaluate how it presents Jesus. He certainly attracted men.

  • Dan Traxler October 29, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I agree with what Dr. Craig says about men in the church. Men don't need things to do to be manly.
    "Fourth is my claim that apologetics is a key to making the church and Christian faith relevant to men once more. People think that by having sports programs or men’s barbecues the church will draw in more men. But I’m convinced that the best kept secret to drawing in men is apologetics. Men need to see that Jesus of Nazareth was not only a tough guy but a smart guy. I never suspected that apologetics would have this special effect on men. I had no intention of ministering particularly to men in this ministry. But the appeal of apologetics to men is just undeniable. In my Defenders class we’ve got guys who don’t even attend church but who regularly come for my lectures on Christian doctrine and apologetics. One woman in the class told me, “I don’t understand a lot of what you say. But I’m glad to come because this is the only spiritual activity that my husband will participate in with me.” Wow! "

  • Scott Pierce November 12, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Allison Q, could you provide your evidence for the statement, "Abuse of women is also more dominant in cultures and churches that have mostly male leadership models."?

  • Peter Willis December 2, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    I am trying to start a men's ministry. What we have is frankly pitiful. One class that's been going on for years, prayer meeting once a month 2-4. Four being a lot. I have a passion for men's ministry, in that men taking their rightful Godly place in their home, community and church. I have been to promise keepers probably 10 times it has helped me tremendously, but now I am being pulled incredibly strong in this ministry. Something has to happen, we are losing men to money, pornography, alcohol, sports addiction on tv. and just a lackadaisical and abdicating attitude. Please point to people and resources, books, videos etc. Blessings, thank you for what you are doing

  • Michael Taylor January 31, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    This is a serious issue, but the responses to it are always the same. "We don't want to hurt any one's feelings" "No changes should be made that take away from women's experience" "Let's not destroy the experience for women by bringing in too many men."

    The issue is that the churches have adapted to pop culture. Women are being held up as spiritual, enlightened and Christ-like in their mothering and nurturing. Men are liars, cheaters, lazy football watchers; or at least negligent as parents or helpers at home.

    Men hear the same message in college, at work, from the media and the churches. All men are boorish pigs needed rehabilitation. How do they need to change? The must become more sensitive, more feeling, cry in public as they sing love songs to a completely unrecognizable feminine version of Jesus Christ.

    This is the problem that isn't changing. It won't change, so more men stay away.

  • Chew February 19, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    Most men ministries are inwardly focused. So, much is banked on sharing problems,challenges and hearing testimonies of guys saddled down or who have managed to turn around from them.It is a very therapeutic or I would call a ICU-intensive care approach-very navel gazing.
    An outward focus is much healthier and would enthuse more men.I have steered my small men's ministry to organize outreach programs like wealth succession , health talks,movies in the church to get non Christians into the church . I am in a Brethren church in Singapore.

  • Jocelyn March 25, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    I have wondered myself why church pews are filled mostly by females, but the answer I've come up with is different from the Author's. I will toss my (unproven) theory into the ring, to provoke thought and rebuttal:

    I think many males are alienated by the submissive relationship that exists between churchgoer and church leaders. To sit in a pew means to submit respectfully to another guy who insists he knows more than you, can tell you how to run your life, and so on. Females are accustomed to submitting, taking instruction, ceding authority to others. Many males are not. Therefore the position of "meek, humble follower sitting at the pastor's feet" -- which is the basic requirement for churchgoers -- is less offputting to women.

    I say this not to put either sex down -- merely giving my opinion.

  • Jocelyn March 25, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    To take my theory a step further: this would mean that the trouble with modern western churches is not too much touchy-feely nonsense and bride imagery, but too much of a leader/follower dynamic in the relationship between pastors and churchgoers.

    I am no expert on the early church but I do wonder: in the first couple centuries were churches structured as they now are: with a few leaders who were the acclaimed experts on God, and a multitude of followers who sat obediently for instruction? Or was the church originally a more egalitarian, spiritually active place where many members had a voice -- where perhaps all the people who had a reputation for Godliness were respected and took active roles -- and where Christ alone (rather than an exalted pastor and a half-dozen elders) was regarded as leader.

  • Wizard Prang May 6, 2014 at 3:11 PM


    Let me weigh on on this one: contrary to popular belief, men do not have a problem submitting to authority - though they may have a problem submitting to someone they do not respect.

    I have found that, in general, women tend to be herd animals, while Men are generally pack animals. Put a bunch of little girls together and they will usually form a circle and seek consensus; put a bunch of small boys together and they will soon figure out who is in charge... before charging off together to get up to mischief!

    Guys do not have a problem submitting to the athority of an older, wiser man. Ancient chivalry (and more recently Jedi training) shows this in action. On the contrary, it seems that women have more and more of a problem submitting to the authority of their husbands: "Father knows best" has given way to "If momma aon't happy..." in both the culture and the church.

    It also doesn't help that much of the music in contemporary churches is keyed to Alto/Tenor voices, with Baritones like me left shambling around looking for the right note..!

    My lady and I pray together often, but we don't do devotionals together as often as she would like. This is because her devotionals mostly involve sitting on God's lap and praising him with Psalms and songs. Nothing wrong with that, and it is a fine thing indeed... but my devotionals are more like a soldier reporting to his Commander-in-chief for battle orders, so I am often found in the Proverbs.

    I think the problem is that men want to *do*, rather than sing Kum-Ba-Yah. And the challenge simply isn't there.

  • davidbrainerd July 16, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Its the faith alone stupid. Faith alone is spiritual communism and spiritual welfare system. More women favor communism and the welfare system than men, for obvious reasons. Men are about doing; women are about whining about how they can’t do anything and need a big strong man to do it for them. Hence the “we can’t do anything and need God to do it all for us” theology.

  • Stephen H. Overstreet September 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    For some time now I've been urging my church and fellow male members to sponsor a boys only Christian school. This proved that there is too much feminism and feminine influence in my church and amongst my fellow Christian males.

    I propose a school based on homeschooling curricula and teaching methods and materials. With this each boy will have learning material that his Christian parents will approve. Since most homeschooling material is both thorough and geared to self learning it would work in my schools purpose and organization.

    Next, I would have this school stress things boys like to study, mechanics, science, math, and having boys manipulate things while girls and women tend to manipulate people.

    The advice of one previous poster to set up an automotive rebuilding ministry to appeal to men and boys has caused me to re-charge my batteries, and I will use this idea to work on my boys only Christian private school.

    Thanks for the article and commentary.

    Stephen H. Overstreet

  • Afolabi Yinusa November 5, 2014 at 2:10 AM

    This is a tremendous enlightenment to my concern about why do we have more women in the church than men. The concern has lead me to choose a theology writing on the matter. I am critically thinking about the problem along side of what Erre said “The gospel that Jesus and Paul preached is revolutionary, and it’s worth giving your life to,” This days church has been enterprise, the focus of church has been shifted from God desire to what the so call men of God can gain, like a saying "Jesus gave all until he gave his life but the new church leaders takes until they took all even to their covering clothes." The irony of things now is that the leaders even go to the level of willing the church to their sons like a family property, Has Jesus not said that He will build His church? But what we see now is that church are built on their brand name ministry.
    The first church of God was full of power and men were committed to the work of God but now we see a powerless church and men nonchalant attitude towards God's work. If the church is to regain its power more men need to come into the church of Jesus Christ.

  • Karen January 9, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    Has anyone considered the possibility that at least part of the gender imbalance comes from women living longer than men? The article mentions that rural churches and older urban ones are the most imbalanced. Isn't that at least as much because the only available members are widows?

    As for the rest of it, the position of the conservatives is that men are too prissy to engage in any activity that has too many women doing it. Suddenly, church has cooties. Of course. Christianity has been a women's religion since its founding. Notice how many women are mentioned in Paul's letters, some of whom held leadership roles. Timothy's instructors in the faith were his mother and grandmother. Pagan critics of Christianity, most notably Marcus Aurlius and Celsus, harped on the number of women Christians. So, Driscoll and Podles agree with Celsus?

  • Steven Flanders January 24, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Good article, and happily, an even better comment section.

    As a single church involved male, I think there are two major things missing from the modern church that would attract men.

    The first thing is apologetics. Many men care deeply about things of God, but find almost no venue for discussing the theological/ cultural issues that deeply trouble them. Most churches don't or won't allow rousing discussion of such issues. Partly, I suspect, to not hurt someone's feelings (feminism some would call it) and partly because the pastor doesn't want to lose control of those areas. I know in my case there are instances when some controversial subject comes up, such as gay marriage, and just as the dialogue is getting good, and I am about to make a point I have been thinking about for years, someone (usually, I must say, a woman) will stop the dialogue, insisting her feelings, or someone else's feeling, are being hurt. So the masculine strength of logic and reason must bow before the feminine aspect of emotions, and the truth remains buried.

    The other major aspect of church that I think is missing is fellowship in general. Jocelyn mentions the leader/follower dynamic. I wonder if this isn't the doctrine of the Nicolaitans come to life, the dead body. If the church had many more times of full throated discussion of the issues that confront us, with all taking part, and almost anything allowed into the discussion, I think men in general would be much more attracted. The masculine traits of reason, logic, and truth seeking would come to the fore, but of course, by definition, the church wouldn't be so easily controlled by the clergy then.

  • ogwriter April 8, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    I am a former altar boy and priest wanna be.Recently,I renounced my faith to the Catholic church.I thought I 8nderstood why,until reading this articcle. ,not God.While I support women's issues and have helped raise an incredibly powerful and independent young woman.My daughter starred in three sports while being a National honor student and she finished college in three years. Of this I am most proud because as a SAHD I received none of the support women take for granted. I also suffered much criticism and curious stares from friends and family,male and female.Some even whispered that I was gay. To make matters even more complex,my wife ,at the time,grew jealous of my time with our kids. At the parks and other places moms gathered with their kids,my kids and I were isolated.Many of these same moms treated me as if I was moms helper. The masculine,logical thinking part of me was angry and confused.Women said that they wanted men to be more involved in the nursery but obviously many women had not thought this process through.Most of the women I knew were openly or secretly conflicted about my choice.Quite often,I find,with women conflicted feelings. All of which need to be discussed,seemingly, all the time.My brain can only function in that place for short periods.Go too far or too long and I shut down. Feminism's impact on the Catholic church, beginning in the 70's,for me,remade church culture.to be more female centered.I have found that this new culture is just as gender exclusive as the male dominated church used to be.Feminist would have us believe that women are as feminism says they are.If only that were true.It was mentioned in the comments that men are going through an identity crisis.I submit,so are women.In women this is seen as normal and in men a weakness.I'm exhausted with all of conflicts and contradictions..I definitely don't want to be hog tied in church.

  • Mic July 14, 2015 at 5:51 PM

    Thank you for this article. I tried to stand up as the man in my house and in my church. I had been in a relationship with an emotionally and verbally abusive wife. For the second time in my marriage one of my kids had asked me to talk to the youth pastor about her behaviour and so I decided to stand up and try to get my spouse to get counseling. So she shot back trying to say I was crazy, I cheated on her, alleged I inappropriately touched my daughter. After her abuse leading my daughter to start cutting me going through a CPS investigation where not only was I cleared but also apologized to by the investigators. The church still supports her lets her lead in women's ministry and yet has asked me to step aside from serving. I gotta say this article explains alot about the churches behaviour. I hope someday God will heal that churches brokenness so the next family gets the help they need.

  • thearc July 28, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    The church isn't meant to appeal to it's attenders.. If you love God, you follow Him for Him and no one else. If you don't feel God is working in your church or it is harmful to your walk with Christ, pray about where to go. Be led by God, don't complain and backbite, that's not the spirit of Christ. But this whole article and most of the comments seems to put the focus not where the Holy Spirit would lead (on Christ), but on negativity, blaming (accusing of the brethren and the age old blaming of the wife/female for the fault of man after the fall), on man and his needs rather than on God. Don't buy into the pity party and ego-centrism men, you're bigger than that. Don't ask what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church. If that's where God has put you, pray for it.

  • Simon August 6, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    Churches have become social clubs that you can get in for free.
    Or are they free. I know several churches that sell everything from coffee and food to t-shirts,mugs,cups,etc,etc.The money changers are alive an well in the churches today.
    Those same churches will tell you have much money you must give each month.And shame you if you do not give the amount demanded.
    I fear that God is no where near these churches forced out by the political correctness to keep women and younger people filling the pews.
    No one wants to hear the real gospel they want it watered down and presented so they can feel good about themselves no matter what sins they have performed.

    Also the churches are pushing away the men due to the insistence that they should step up and be men and marry.
    1 Corinthians 7:32-33
    32But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,…

    There are a number of reasons that men are no longer going to church.
    And the churches can't really teach the Bible because if the pastor does teach the Bible he will not be there for the next sermon.

    It is clear that the anti christ has already taken over the churches. It might be better for the men to stay away than to be seen as a follower of satan.

  • Teresa Rincon October 11, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Here are some things I notice that might be keeping men away:

    1. Men are more likely to be the breadwinners in their family, so they are more likely to be working on Sundays, or at least more than 40 hours a week (hence the term "IBM Widows"). This limits their availability for church involvement.

    2. Single men are especially absent from churches. Your average pastor got married in his early 20's, so churches are led by men who have no real understanding of single men's issues. Similarly, single men are virtually nonexistent in church leadership.

    3. Whatever ministries exist for men are only relevant to married men with minor children. There is rarely anything for empty nesters, senior men, widowers or divorced men.

    4. Men with families want to keep their wives and children safe from sexual predators. Churches do not have the best track record in that area.

    5. Single women who wish to be married are told (always by married women) "You don't need a man, Jesus is your husband." Of course, no man can compete with Jesus. The end result is single men have nothing to contribute to single women, and pastors (not accidentally) have a harem of single women to prey on.

    6. It is easier for a charismatic individual to deceive someone of the opposite sex rather than the same sex. Thus, pastors can fool women more easily than men.

    7. Many men are gifted for working with young children, yet church policies often limit their ability to do this.

    8. Age Demographics: Past age 50, there are simply more women alive than men. Men's ministries could help with this issue by talking to men about healthy eating, exercise, cancer screening, regular checkups and such.

  • Alex S March 17, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    One of the problems is that some women become legalistic "church ladies" who now impose or demand their laws and man-made rule be kept. I man can't have a few beers and watch a football game... that ='s hell... Pretty much if you're not an emasculated sissy boy you're going to hell. Not that we want to be flannel wearing lumberjack men who cuss like drunken sailors, but let us be men. We may have some beers and chicken wings, but we love our wife, our children and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!! By the way Jesus drank... Jesus was a mans man.

  • Janet C September 7, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    Are we really going to pout and strive over gender opportunity in the church? The bottom line to Christianity is to win souls to Christ. To much "feminization" and too much "masculinization" is never good. Jesus and the Apostles applauded female leadership, with special mention in the Bible of notable female leaders, one example is Pricilla always being made mention of, before Aquila (I have read 'scholarly' papers written by men who have turned this biblical principal around to suit their own comfort, stating the couple as "Aquila and Priscilla", as if that is more acceptable than the Bibles obvious emphasis on Priscilla being presented first). The culture of that time did not make mention of women due to patriarchy, and cultural gender bias. Any simpleton can discover that, if they would venture past their own kitchens, tool sheds, and neighborhoods. What is lacking in the church, is true Biblical Scholarship. Both men and women in the church sorely lack the scholarship to be leaders, and the teachings in the church is sub-par. Whats worse is the incompetent "counseling" that 'posers' appoint themselves too, over unknowing people who have recently come to Christ. The problems in the church will never be solved due to man's sin. People want what they want, and who cares about finding out the true meaning of Who Christ is? As long as the bellies are full, and someone is labeled "the boss", at least someone will be happy.The church is a travesty. Only Jesus will judge and make things right, when He returns. Until then, the gender issues, and lack of true and healthy leadership, are unsolvable.

  • Wayne K September 10, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    Janet, I am with you for the most part. Winning souls to Christ is one part of the "great commission" as you know. What to do with them after that is what we who pastor are supposed to be about primarily. I have found that we face a crisis of an authority from which we are to teach people. It is likely no surprise to you that we have as much division in the Church as there is in humanity. Some claim the bible is inerrant, others claim it is not and both sides use the very bible to make their case. Suffice it to say that there is enough "evidence" within the book to make claims solid enough that major groups of christianity follow the teachings men have come up with.
    Hence, people see that we are confused. Right now, readers of this are wanting to tail on me and make their case that they possess the "absolute truth" regarding the bible...and if they were right about their interpretation, then many are wrong and doomed. It's no wonder many are falling away. We blame our culture for diminishing absolute truth but we in the Church have done just as much in my humble opinion. "A house divided", well that is us and why would anyone think that we are the loving bunch that John told us to be so we are known. we are divided. How can we expect the "logical" gender to want to invest their time in such a diffuse mess as has become of the Christian church? Frankly, I'm seeking "Acts" type power and miracles to break through this wall of confusion, to prove God. Apologetics will only lead to more disagreement. Granted folks argued about the source of the power Jesus wielded and so you will always have naysayers but it seems our only hope on the micro level. That's my two cents after pastoring (unsuccesfully numerically) for 20 years. God help us!

  • Mike October 2, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    I am a Single Adult Male who has been a Christian for over 20 years. I have spoken to a Pastor face to face of whom I was a regular church attender for many years. This discussion was in regard to my wife filing for Divorce and me not finding out how I lost her heart and what I need to do to win her heart back. Doesn't this sound like what the Article is explaining, the Feminism of Today's Churches. My wife's heart takes authority over Scripture which states the heart is more deceitful than all else...who can understand it? (Jer 17:9). My wife battled with being bipolar (by her own admission.) and a number of times said, "I don't love you. I never HAVE loved you.". Of course the pastor wasn't told that part of her story when she spoke to him. He just went directly to the default conclusion it's the man's fault for "not stepping up to the plate" and figuring out his wife's heart even though that heart may not be in the place it is supposed to be scripturally. This is a very large Evangelical church in town and this pastor is well known. Yes, I see it. Feminism has taken over many churches and men are saying, ok, where do you want me now Lord?... All signs that Jesus is coming soon anyway! I, and many others, are saying, Even so, Come Lord Jesus, Come! I can't wait!!!

  • Jeffrey Joseph February 12, 2017 at 5:46 PM

    I'm all for male dominate churches. All through the bible mans' role in society is headship, this includes the church. Godly headship is absolutely essential in the family, without dad things can go very bad, and usually does. I believe men is what will break or make this nation. Bad selfish men destroy everything they touch. Men that are grounded in God's word at least try to make things better for their family's and the culture. Churches need to stop majoring in the miners and start hitting home runs. GET ALL MEN IN CHURCH.

  • joe August 5, 2017 at 4:46 AM

    As a Christian single man who tried church, I found that church had absolutely nothing to offer me that was positive. If you're a single Christian man beyond college age, you feel like a non-entity.

    Add to that the cleverly cloaked, feminist propaganda (churches today have a lot more in common with Betty Friedan than the Apostle Paul); plus the non-Christian, hypocritical double standards when it comes to dealing with men and women -- I can see why men leave.

  • Tubal-cain December 10, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    I really know first hand what Joe has experienced and is referring to. I'm a 60 year-old single man. I was born into evangelical Protestantism. I spent a good share of my life trapped in my own life. I saw how feminized evangelical churches are, especially the mega churches. Protestantism was an inch deep, and a mile wide, for me. At the age of 40, I had my fill of feminized faith, religious fraternities singles ministries, expository sermons, irreverent praise and worship music, wishy washy seeker sensitive sermons, and on and on. I converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I found my faith in the ancient and unchanging faith of the church of the apostles. I am a member of an Antiochian Orthodox Church , and I serve at altar as an Alcolyte. I know that I'm not rolling out of bed on Sunday mornings to hear SJW sermons, liberal theology, religious entertainment shows, gay rights agendas, or listen to women clergy! Half my parish are former evangelicals and Protestants, and 67% of our priests are former evangelical pastors! (Orthodox priests can be married too). Joe is 100% right in his analogy! Orthodoxy appeals to men, be it traditionalist men often, and especially military men. Women, don't seem to convert, unless they are married, and convert as a family. I've read statistics where 60-70% of mega church attendees are women. It's no wonder many men like Joe, and I, find such churches unwelcoming. One regret I have in life is that I dint cross the Bosporus earlier in life, and come into the church of Peter and Paul sooner. I hope Joe, and many men like him, will look at the EOC as a viable alternative.

  • k February 25, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    I stopped going to my Southern Baptist Church because I always felt like I was an outcast among perfect, sinless, over-religious men and women. Clearly, in truth none of them were, and none of us are without sin. The sermons were bland and non-confrontational, with a focus on making this life more "prosperous" and "successful." There are very few preachers anymore who keep their sermons lazer like on the King James translation of the Bible. There are also very few who preach that we are hell bound without faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance includes forsaking the sin, not just a mental understanding or "works" to make up for sin. The increasingly progressive translations of the Bible are just making things worse. You are better off avoiding most churches in America in exchange for daily committed Bible study, and concentration on Witness in your own family and on the job, with whomever you meet.

  • Bonnie Johnstone August 2, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    Upfront I’ll state that I’m an Orthodox convert of 24 years and my first Priest went to Biola.
    I’m retired, living in Loveland Colorado and have to comment that men really like Orthodox Worship because it’s not feminized at all. My Parish is packed with men, especially young families coming from other faith traditions that try any number of methods to attract people to their church and keep them engaged. Food trucks, climbing walls etc.
    Men and women both want authenticity if they are really interested in Christ. It’s insulting to God and mankind when a church is manipulative or a theological happy pill.

    Christianity has a cross. There are requirements to love God and love others.
    The person who commented that purpose of church was to save sinners doesn’t know anything about the early Church!
    First, the Holy Spirit compels a person and draws them to Christ. God can do this without assistance.
    Second, the earliest Church’s were for believers. They heard the Psalms, teaching of the Apostles , received the Eucharist and went out into to World to feed the hungry, care for the poor, preach the good news.
    They didn’t wait for people to come to church.
    I can’t tell you how many decades I sat in Protestant church’s listening to happiness sermons and salvation messages (when I was Baptist) even when everyone in our small church was saved and baptized. There wasn’t much past that. No sanctification, no prayer and fasting, no take up your cross and follow me.

    I don’t mean to sound angry because I’m not. I was pretty frustrated at one time thinking that Christianity allowed anything as long as you were saved. I wanted a Faith not pointed at making me feel good.
    I’m pretty sure men feel the same way.

  • Mark Nunes September 22, 2018 at 6:22 PM

    If there are more women in church it's because women are in greater need. If there are more men then it's the men who have the greater need. Churches catering to women has nothing to do with that though. They all cater to women because men want more women than men in church. This is true of all clubs. No one wants single men around. But the reason it's mostly women at times is because they can't find a husband. If they are married women then they would bring their husband and the ratio would be even. Very few people go to church without their spouse. But if there are more women it's because there are more single women. But if there are more men it's because there are more single men. That's all there is to it. Usually in the past there have been more single women in society but if there are the population growth rate is declining and fewer babies were born than previous years then that will create a situation where there are more single men. This is because men date younger women and there will be fewer younger women than older women. Women tend to want someone older. Just a few years mind you but this preference leads to the whole ratio single people fluctuating according to population growth rate. If the growth rate is negative in a generation that generation will have more single males. If it's positive there will be more single women. It's not a women's club it's just that society in general has had more single women since in the past the population growth rate has almost always been positive. Also the ratio of men to women can vary according to the population density. In big cities there are more males. In small town there are more females. It's not a "women's club" though it's just that no matter what the ratio everyone hates single males and are paranoid around them. If there are more single women the single women may want the single males but no one else will want them around. They are scrutinized and mistrusted until they "prove" themselves worthy. That's just how society is. Churches are just society in a microcosm. If the church follows the Bible it will differ from society. For the most part churches are worse because they don't really study the Bible but only preach what they think it says or their preconceived notions of what it says. No pastor gets hired unless he already agrees with the congregations preconceived notions. The most important part of the message is that part that characterizes that churches specific doctrine and reinforces their current beliefs. It's how one church differs from it's closest sibling that becomes paramount to it's teaching. The things they actually agree on (those that are found in the Bible) must take a back seat to it's specific doctrine. A church will reinforce it's borders at the expense of it's core beliefs.

  • MikeJ2 January 12, 2019 at 8:17 PM

    The pastorette of the mainline church I attend has little to say other than 'be a good listener and be nice to others'. Women must find that to be an electrifying message, but I find it lazy, boring, uninteresting, and hence I attend less and less.

  • Red October 18, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    I no longer go to church because I just don't believe in the bible. I'm female, married with children and raised southern baptist. Always thought the bible was a bs crutch for people who can't hold up on their own. Not to mention church is a snooze fest.

  • Edward Qaser February 14, 2020 at 1:47 AM

    Dear Brother/ Sister in Christ ,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ,

    It’s my privilege to have an email with you. I am Edward Qaser from Lahore , Pakistan.

    I am serving the Lord Jesus Christ with Christian based Humanitarian Organization, to glorify His name . Our main focus is reach to unreached with Love of Christ.

    Millions of Non- believer need of knowing about the truth and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ especially the poor people are deprived one. EGM Pakistan is a Humanity base organization and working for the development of the human beings, its major object is to mitigate the effects of poverty, disease , illiteracy and disasters.
    We accomplish this mission by implementing various community based programs ( Projects ) like Empowerment projects , Computer Centers, Sewing Centers, Relief in disasters, Provide food to Poor , Orphan Center, Scholarship for Poor and Needy Students .we have 85 pastors in around Pakistan who are serving in remote and rural areas of Pakistan . we are sharing the word of God in every part of Pakistan ;

    I want to invite you with great love and encouraging words to come to Pakistan , and bring the Good News of Lord Jesus with people of Pakistan.

    May Lord lay burden on your heart for your Pakistani brethren .

    Hope to hear from you as soon as….

    God Bless you

    Edward Qaser ( Executive Director )

    Cell :- +92-300-843-7639

    Office :- +92-423-596-5371


  • Keith Entz May 22, 2020 at 9:59 AM

    The churches are apostate they are the Mother of Harlots and her daughter churches.
    They worship women, not God.

    Women are not the image of God!
    1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    They will destroy your marriage by preaching Feminist rebellion to your wife.
    Women don't cover their heads, or submit to their own husbands in everything, as unto the Lord. Wives don't call their husbands Lord, because they are unholy. Women were created for men, to serve men, and to satisfy men's desires, so God has told us. But churches teach women to control their husbands through the sexually immoral denial of sex. It happened to me at more then one church. Right now I can't get my wife's church to even ask her to stop her frivolous divorce. They are, in their own words, "cheering her on".
    Come out from among them and be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing. Don't go to hell with these wicked synagogues of Satan. Steer clear of these Beta-male factories that preach cuckoldry. They make up crap like "Servant Leadership" to invert a man's headship in his own home. It is the leaders of the church which are supposed to serve the church, not husbands harkening unto wives, like Adam did and got the whole world cursed by God. The church went off the rails after Constantine coopted the church of Rome and created the Mother of Harlots. Our protestant churches today are daughter churches born from Catholicism and their woman worship. Prior to AD 350 The writings of the early church fathers unanimously held that women were not in the image of God. But the state church of Rome forcibly converted goddess worshippers, and then deified Mary to give them a substitute goddess. To deify Mary, they first had to grant women the image of God. Because how could she be divine if she wasn't even in the image of deity? The protestant reformation rolled back Mary's deity, but still left women wrongly thinking that they are the image of God. And If women were equally in the image of the Most High God, then they would by default be equal to men. However, women are weaker vessels, a second class of human, not designed to bear the image of the Most High God, like men. And due to their natural tendency to be defilers,(Revelation 14:4) women are to adorn themselves with shamefacedness, not to usurp and claim equality with men. Todays churches are an emasculated pack of losers serving Satan and Claiming Jesus Christ's name in vain, the gates of hell are kicking their butts, and rightfully so. Nowhere are men, the image and glory of God, more slandered, and falsely accused of every sin caused by women's rebellion. This is the most wicked and adulterous generation because of the evil that is preached in our churches as they follow the doctrines of Feminist women, instead of God.

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