Building Brothers - Helping Church Leaders Build a Spiritual Home for Men

The Masculine Environment

Effective ministry to men is the process of developing relationships that become a platform for change. This requires a safe masculine environment that encourages trust, open-ended questions, application of God’s truth, and prayer.

At a training seminar, I asked the men present, “Is the church a masculine or a feminine place?” They immediately answered, “It is a feminine place.” When asked further how that affected them, they shared that it made them hesitant, timid, and restrained.

The majority of the pastors I interact with have never heard this message from the men in their churches. In contrast, what they usually hear is a vocal group of women asking why the church is such a male-dominated institution. Yet, while men have not voiced their discomfort, how have we missed their silence?

At the height of the Christian men’s movement in the 1990s, when we felt that we were seeing a spiritual awakening, men were actually leaving the church in unprecedented numbers. Conscientious, positive, purposeful men were finding more value and purpose outside the church than in it. How, then, can we call men back to the church to find purpose in their relationship with God?

Early in the 1990s we began to see that providing a safe masculine environment was an essential factor in motivating men to open up to God’s transforming power. Based on observation, we have found six basic principles concerning the nature of men that must be respected in order to create a masculine environment:

  1. Men respond when their need for space is honored.
  2. Men listen when the speaker communicates through questions and answers.
  3. Men are goal and challenge oriented. They must be challenged with achievable, bite-size goals and sense an order of progression (one step at a time) in order to achieve those goals.
  4. Men are linear in their thinking and tend to focus on either facts or emotions.
  5. Men value rules over relationships. They will enter into and develop relationships where structure and freedom are in balance.
  6. Men will commit with passion when they are allowed to appropriately express anger and when they learn to express other emotions in a masculine way.

If we desire to see men step back into and engage the church, as well as lead others into the pursuit of God, then we must begin to create a safe masculine context within the local church. When this happens, men will have a place to come home to. They will begin to open their hearts, connect on a deeper level, and ultimately change.

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