Jesus became a man. He called and discipled men. As a matter of fact, under his influence some of those men went from being weak, self-centered individuals to strong, courageous world changers. Why then do so many modern churches have a noticeable gender gap of 60% or more in favor of women? There are many factors that contribute to this and all are worthy of examination. (For more information listen to “The Art of Manliness Podcast, Episode #253.) In this post, however, I want to address the role of the sermon in reaching men.
Let me be clear – women have played a vital role in the history of the church. Christianity honored and lifted women to positions of prominence that were unknown in first century Judaism. This article isn’t meant to define the roles of men and women. (My position on the role of men and women is articulated well here.
I do want to mention a few things worthy of consideration if we are to reach and disciple more men for Christ. As I see it, there are at least seven areas that we need to consider when attempting to disciple men from the pulpit.
- Illustrations – Jesus employed illustrations that resonated with both men and women. He talked of the kingdom in terms of marriage, but he also talked of it in terms of farming and fishing.I challenge you to look through your illustrations and evaluate them. How many were more appealing to women than men? I often think to myself, “If William Wallace (of Braveheart) were in my congregation would this sermon move him?”.
- Attire – Some preachers seem to think more about their hairstyle than they do the content of the sermon; many men find that problematic. Men are accustomed to looking to coaches for direction, not pop stars. Spend less time in the salon and more time in the woods if you want to resonate with guys.
- Emphasis – When you approach a text, what angle do you typically emphasize? For example, when preaching on “Peace with God” take advantage of a marvelous opportunity to talk about how we were at war with God. Show the men that God doesn’t loose wars. Present Jesus as a Warrior, Prophet, Priest and King worthy of their worship.
- Challenge – It resonates deeply with a man when an accomplished brother challenges him. Let him know that you expect a lot of out of him and so does God.
- Tribe – Men are tribal by nature. That is why fitness tribes like Cross-Fit have resonated so deeply with men. Consider swapping your terminology from emphasizing “community” or “family” and talk more about your “tribe”.
- Content – The way to a man’s heart is through his mind. At all costs we must avoid serving a regular diet of “chicken soup for the christian soul”. If men are to be resurrected as godly leaders of the church, home and nation – they must be men who think deeply.
- Example – Men want Pastors they can personally respect – therefore, it is essential that the Pastor embody the message he delivers. That doesn’t mean sinless perfection – but it does mean transparency about your struggles and a legit attempt to live for Christ.
These are some of the things that resonate with me as a man – what sort of things would you add to the list?