One question has plagued the modern church over the past few years: how to appeal to men, particularly to fathers?Churches across North America have tried different tactics to lure men into the fold, with varying degrees of success. Men’s events like motorcycle rallies and fish fries often work. Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix once temporarily replaced a planter in their foyer with a motorcycle in an attempt to attract male members. Eastridge Community Church, where I am a member and serve, has brought in various players and coaches from the University of Georgia football team for men’s events.
But should churches consider the impact of their worship music? The women of one church in Canada did, and they enacted changes that increased their male attendance.
Attendance at Strathcona Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta was running 60% female. The church’s female elders set a goal to attract 50% male worshippers.
After reading and discussing Why Men Hate Going to Church, these women decided to eliminate the feminine songs and see what would happen. They developed a numeric scale and evaluated each song according to how masculine or feminine it was. For example, the song, “Lord You are More Precious than Silver” scored 8 on the feminine scale, and was excluded.
The elders didn’t eliminate every feminine song – the goal was balance. But any song that scored a 6 or above on the “femininity scale” was dropped.
Without changing anything other than the music, the church’s gender gap quickly evaporated. Men participated more, including a marked increase in the number of men who spoke their praises aloud to God. And overall attendance grew.
Please note – this was not a bunch of angry men demanding change. The effort was initiated and driven by the women of the church.
The success of Strathcona Baptist Church’s efforts brings up a fascinating question: how far should churches go to appeal to more men? Our lead pastor at Eastridge often says, “if you can bring in the man, the family will follow.” But a church should not aim to turn men into pew sitters — rather, the goal should be to mold men into disciples ready to make a difference in their family and community.
So, how far should churches go? What traditions, service elements, or programs should leaders change in order to lead more men into the body of Christ? How drastic of a change is worth the result? And what should churches do once more men begin to attend? Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments section below.