Friday, 29 January 2010

Young men find church too girly

Church services and interiors need a more macho makeover if they are to attract men aged under 30, Christian Vision for Men (CVM) believes. A questionnaire on the movement’s website found that men cringe with embarrassment at much of church culture. Songs declaring Christ to be the ‘beautiful one I love’ use words ‘many men wouldn’t sing to their wives,’ CVM director Carl Beech explains. ‘Feminine’ decorations such as banners and flowers, robed vicars, action songs and kid’s plays, and ‘pastorally driven’ sermons and discussions all alienated young men who ‘want to know about (Jesus’) great decision making and leadership’. CVM has launched two Christian-themed men’s magazines and is calling churches to host big screen transmissions of the World Cup this summer to boost churches’ flagging male attendance.

Source: The Times (27/1)


Rev Tony B said...

OK - let's do it Greenbelt-style: Beer and Hymns!

Oh - that would have to be Tea and Hymns, wouldn't it...

Olive Morgan said...

Tea and Hymns sounds girly to me! I'm not fond of tea. Beer and hymns would suit most young men, but it would have to be in a C of E church!

Some years back, when I was looking for somewhere to take a group of young men who were making themselves a nuisance near a nearby Anglican church, I took them to an Anglican evangelical church in the town. There was no beer, only tea, but the atmosphere of the place made them exclaim in surprise, 'It's just like a pub' - and it was nothing like a cafe church of today. It was so very relaxed and informal, with tea afterwards, that they immediately felt at home.

Amy said...

I certainly understand how the "stuff" of church might not be relatable to young people for varying reasons.

With this said, I think that the stereotypical concepts of "feminine" and "masculine" are problematic. They set up certain expectations for gender roles in relationships that go against the very message of the gospel (as directed by Paul: "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female...").

Additionally, I think that the church has been relegated to a realm where it is private and emotional (i.e. spiritual). Culture incorrectly associates these characteristics with domesticity; therefore, the church is consequently associated with domesticity. Of course, culture associates domesticity with femininity; therefore, when young men are taught to be mocho, they won't relate to church.

These are obviously multi-layered problems. They highlight the main concern: how do we help church become relatable, transformative, and multi-dimensional so that ALL young people are able to connect in the body of Christ?

Wow. This is quite a "great commission" to which we have been called. Peace to you, Olive.

Granny Annie said...

Our 8,000 member church in one of the most historic church buildings in the United States holds a July Revival every year. It calls for casual dress, old hymns and even funeral fans are distributed. The ministers wear suits and forgo their robes and the choir is casual too. It is a special and enjoyable month with lots of visitors.

Olive Morgan said...

I'm astonished that you confine these services to the month of July only! Is this one of the reasons why you have 8,000 members, i.e., that you recruit and keep new members during that month. But do they settle down to a more traditional style of worship afterwards? Also, I can't help wondering why you don't regularly hold two different styles of service each week/month?
Why only July? At the same time, I must congratulate your church on its success!