Preaching to Men

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.

      1. 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?”.
      2. 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.


      3. 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.

      4. 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.
      5. 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”.
      6. 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.
      7. 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?

The Nature of Christ

The States of Christ 

  1. Pre-Incarnate Christ – So remember that there was never a time when Jesus did not exist. He was not created. He was eternally a part of the Godhead.
  2. Incarnation – The word means – in the flesh. Chili con Carne – with meat.
    But then he became a man through auspices of Mary, conceived of the Holy Spirit. So you will read several times in hebrews about how Jesus was the first born, or the begotten of the Father? those references are typically referring to his incarnation or his resurrection. Not his eternal state.
  3. Resurrected Christ – The current experience of Christ is that he has been raised from the dead. He inhabits a glorified physical body. He has ascended to the right hand of the Father.
  4. Eternal King – There is a sense in which Jesus rules and reigns right now in a literal sense. So he was able to command the Apostles saying, “all authority has been given to me – therefore go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and lo I am with you to the end of the age”. So in one sense he has all authority – but in another sense all things have not yet been subjected to him in an objective sense.

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A Humbling Response 

After a long day playing on the lake with the kids, my wife and I treated ourselves to a late night dinner at the Waffle House. As we were checking out, I noticed a gentleman wearing a Vietnam Veteran cap. It was Memorial Day weekend, so it seemed right to pick up his bill. He thanked me, but he had already paid. I extended my hand and said, “Well, let me thank you for your service.” He took my hand, looked me in the eye and said with a smile, “You’re worth it, you’re an American.”

I know a lot of men join the service because it seems like the right next step. Perhaps some join because they are deeply patriotic. Others didn’t join at all but were drafted into service. Whatever his motivation for serving had been, he had thought deeply about what it meant for him and for our country. He had come to the conclusion that ultimately he wasn’t serving a collective ideal, he was serving and defending people, and a people that he deemed worthy of life and liberty. 

I will think about that answer for a long time. Am I really worth all he saw and did in Vietnam? I don’t know that I am, but I want to measure up to what that man saw in everyone privileged to be called an American.