Along with my regular posts at SeanMcDowell.org, I am now featuring some of my former students in the Biola Apologetics Program. This post is by my friend Timothy Fox, who helped me with both the Awana Advocates curriculum and the updated and revised Evidence that Demands a Verdict. He also blogs at Free Thinking Ministries and you can follow him on Twitter at @TimothyDFox. Enjoy!
How To Get Men to Church
By Timothy Fox
There’s a critical gender gap problem in America: Christianity’s gender gap. Men attend church far less than women. Why? There are many reasons, from weak, whiny worship to emotions-based sermons. Church isn’t masculine, so men don’t go.
So what’s the solution? Churches create “manly” ministries and boot camps, involving sports and YELLING and other macho stuff. Now, as great as these can be to help form relationships with other Christian men, many men’s ministries are only indirect bridges to the church. How do we get men fully engaged and active within the body of Christ? I think the answer is apologetics, the rational defense of the Christian worldview. Here are three reasons why:
1. Men are logical
I’m a pastor’s kid. I grew up in church. I always believed in Christianity, but I also always had a major disconnect. Church was completely feelings-based: sensing God’s presence through emotional worship and charismatic preaching. That wasn’t for me at all. I’m a logic guy. I have a B. S. in Computer Science, worked for many years as a software engineer, and now teach mathematics. Like I said, a logic guy. It wasn’t until I discovered apologetics that Christianity clicked for me. I found my place within the church. I finally belonged.
I’m sure many men have the same problem with church that I did. Fortunately, apologetics can show them the rational side of Christianity. We have a deep intellectual tradition that should not be forgotten. Our worldview is not based solely on blind faith and religious experience. There are good, logical reasons to think that Christianity is true. Of course the affective side of man is important as well, that worship services can - and should - reach the entire person, both mind and heart. But there is an imbalance in our churches. Apologetics can help fix that and draw in men.
2. Men need to do something
Do you know any men who always find something to fix, even if it isn’t broken? They’re constantly tinkering here or making a home improvement there. Some guys just need to do something at all times (which is better than being idle!). They want to feel needed and important, to help solve problems. But men see nothing to do at church. It’s mostly passive.
Apologetics can give men a purpose in their church. Teaching a class or helping the pastor research for a sermon. Being a resource, on-call when needed. Apologetics make men a vital part of a church instead of being a passive attendee.
3. Men need to protect
I found it interesting how many of my male classmates in Biola’s Christian Apologetics program had either a military or martial arts background. These men had an instinctive need to protect their country, community, and family, and now sought to protect their church. And that’s exactly what apologetics is: providing a defense for the Christian faith (1 Peter 3:15).
More and more young people are leaving the church. Statistics show that once your children leave for college, they’re probably going to abandon their faith. Men, what are you going to do about that? Are you going to sit back and watch that happen, or are you going to fight for your children’s faith? Studying apologetics will give you the tools to inoculate your children against the false worldviews and beliefs they will certainly encounter in school and on social media.
My argument isn’t that apologetics needs men, although we can always use more (and women too, of course!). No, my argument is that men need apologetics. It meets specific masculine needs that the church is unfortunately lacking. So if you want to get the man in your life to become passionate about spiritual things, introduce him to apologetics.