Why don’t men go to church anymore? The decline of male church attendance

Church sucks, that's why men are bored there
Church sucks, that’s why men are bored there

I most recently spent half a year at a PCA church, and then another half a year at a Southern Baptist church. I attended Sunday services as well as Wednesday night Bible study. I am now looking for a new church. For now, I just look around for a sermon I like and listen to that. In this post, I’ll explain why I think men don’t like church.

There are three areas where churches fail to attract men:

    1. Apologetics
    2. Feminism, sex and marriage
    3. Policy and current events

Apologetics

The PCA church discouraged me from becoming a member of the church because they said that conversion to Christianity due to reason and evidence was contrary to their teachings, and a “red flag”. Their words. I didn’t try to fight them on it, because they are Reformed Presbyterian, and this is their actual view. Their approach to apologetics was “pre-suppositional”, which is to say, they try to convince people to become Christians by asking them to assume that the Bible is infallible, without any argumentation or evidence. Naturally, this doesn’t work, so they aren’t trained to answer any serious questions from non-Christians. (1 Pet 3:15-16)

The Reformed Baptist SBC church is led by people like Russell Moore and Al Mohler, who take the “magic words” approach to evangelism. I.e. – they think that people become Christians just by speaking Bible verses out of context to them. So, when the atheist asks “do you have any evidence for God’s existence?” or “do you have any evidence for Jesus’ resurrection?”, their response is to quote Bible verses to the atheist, which have nothing to do with those topics. Christianity has lost so much influence in the culture under their approach, which is not even Biblical. (Mat 12:38–41)

These approaches to evangelism are not used in any other area of human endeavor. No one replies to questions about auto mechanics, or software engineering, or gardening, or cooking, by spouting Bible verses. In literally every other area of human endeavor, the laws of logic and supporting evidence are seen as assets when making claims to know something about the world to someone who disagrees with you.

Feminism, Sex and Marriage

First wave feminism simply asked for women to be given the same liberty and opportunity as men. That was good. But later versions of destroyed all distinctions between men and women. By destroying femininity, feminism directed women away from the traditional life plan of marriage, children and home-making.

Feminism changed how women voted. Today, about 75% of young, unmarried women vote for policies like taxpayer-funded birth control, taxpayer-funded abortion, no-fault divorce, affirmative action for women in schools and in the workplace, taxpayer-funded daycare, public schools, single-mother welfare, social security, etc. These policies and programs raised tax rates, and grew government, making it easier for women to have children without having to choose a marriage-ready man she wasn’t attracted to. Instead, she could choose men she was attracted to, and just use government programs as a substitute provider if it didn’t “work out”. Thanks to feminism, we have a 42% out-of-wedlock birth rate, and it’s rising. Few female college graduates are debt-free. About 5% of women emerge from college as virgins.

Under feminism, the traditional male roles and virtues were deemed “sexist”. Women were shamed for choosing early marriage, large families, and stable men who were good at being husbands and fathers. Instead, women today chose men based on appearance. They spend their 20s and early 30s giving men who will not commit to them premarital sex. The men who are getting sex thrown at them have no interest in Judeo-Christian values, chastity, fidelity, commitment or raising children. Women mistake the men’s willingness to have sex and cohabitate as signs that they are close to marriage. But in fact, chasing the hot bad boys just eats up the chastity, youth and beauty that could have made them interesting to the marriage-minded men they scorned. Later on, they realize that they’ve wasted their 20s on bad boys, but by then they are not attractive for marriage.

What has the response been to feminism from pastors and churches? They accept the anti-male, anti-marriage policies, that came out of feminism. They accept the promiscuity, and the marriage-delaying that came from feminism. Today, pastors just try to bully the men who were passed over to marry the women who had previously rejected them, despite the higher risk of divorce caused by the women’s past behavior.

Policy and current events

Most pastors are anti-intellectual, and they believe that this is a virtue, since they are focused narrowly on what the Bible explicitly says. Because of this, they aren’t able to understand which laws and policies allow Christianity and Christian families to flourish. I agree that what the Bible speaks about is of the highest importance. But we need to understand how to achieve the goals that the Bible states, as well as how to counter the forces that threaten the achievement of those goals.

For example, Christianity thrives when marriage thrives. Christianity is passed on from parents to children. Anything that threatens marriage, or interferes with parental authority, weakens the influence of Christianity. So, policies like higher taxes, no-fault divorce, SOGI laws, all harm the Christian family, while policies like lower taxes, protections for Christian businesses, protection for Christian schools (statements of faith, moral codes), etc. are all good for Christian families. But most pastors never talk about policies or laws, because they don’t think about how to defend the Christian worldview, how to educate Christian children, how to promote marriage, how promote Christian moral values in the public square. Even protecting the right to life of unborn children is ignored.

As the churches lose relevance, it becomes tempting for pastors to accept what the secular left promotes as good and true and beautiful. The big one is pastors pushing for redistribution of wealth by the secular government as a solution to “poverty”, even though the Bible only sanctions voluntary charity. This diminishes the cultural relevance of the church and elevates the secular government. SBC leaders like Russell Moore champion amnesty for refugees and unskilled illegal immigrants, not realizing how it will harm Christian institutions and values down the road to import large numbers of people who will eventually vote for policies like higher taxes, bigger government, etc.

38 thoughts on “Why don’t men go to church anymore? The decline of male church attendance”

    1. I am a 51 year old with no kids or man . I had the mindset of the women you describe. I was Raped at 13 drunk by 2 men.Liberal parents let me go to a party. Hugh Heffner and The (Homo)sexual Revolution is an interesting read. The author is Swiss American. Hugh .H ended up a debauched parody of him former self. Sleeping with men. We are aborting ourselves out of existence in Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if it helps when it comes to the Catholic church…its authority from Christ is derived from Scripture (the Word), Apostolic tradition (His apostles), and the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Roman Catholic church). The Assumption of Mary comes from this.

        https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura4.htm

        “The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”

        Hence we don’t derive Scripture alone as the only authority.

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  1. Because of the 501c3, churches are essentially owned by the government in the sense that they are prohibited from taking political stances. So even if they want to speak out politically and support candidates, they do so at the expense of this status. I do not know why most churches do not file as 508c1a.

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      1. They don’t talk about feminism and related issues because women make up the majority of those that attend church. Why should the wimps rock the boat?

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    1. No, that’s an excuse and not an actual reason. The Johnson amendment has never been enforced and countless churches intentionally violate it every year in attempt to obtain standing to sue over it.

      In my experience the pastor’s that use this as their excuse have politics at odds with the majority in their church.

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  2. I can’t tell whether my church is apologetics-friendly or not. On the one hand, they have apologetics books in their book store, and one time I was telling one of the elders about this apologist I knew, and he acted like he was impressed. But on the other hand, the elders (including the one who was “impressed” with the apologist I knew) often make little digs toward apologists. Every time they bring up apologists, it always seems to be in a negative light. It’s subtle, though, which is what leaves me confused.

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    1. The PCA church I attended hosts the Reasons to Believe chapter, which is run by two of the elders. And they advertise those events. One elder debates at atheist conferences. There are no apologetics books in the church book store. I think that’s good enough though.

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    2. I had that happen in a Bible Church I was in. They had some good stuff in the library, or decent stuff anyway, but when I would bring up questions like “What is a good response when an atheist says ‘such and such?’, ” the main folks would answer “Why are you talking to atheists?” (facepalm)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL! I think the root cause of the church’s decline is PRECISELY that attitude. We don’t have to care about atheists, their specific objections, or their rising numbers. It tells you a lot about how they formed their own “convictions” about Christianity, and how integrated their Christian worldview is.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The scary part is that it also told me why they never evangelized ME when I was an atheist headed to Hell!

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  3. Knocked it out of the park, WK!

    “conversion to Christianity due to reason and evidence was contrary to their teachings”

    Oh my! I am SO unsaved then! :-)

    Here is another reason that many real men stay away from churches: men are justice oriented, and churches are feelings oriented. So, men want to hear about spiritual warfare, abortion, Judgment, Hell, etc, and most pastors know that if they talk about ANY of those things, their churches will empty out.

    So, sin abounds.

    There is a scene in “Amazing Grace,” the movie about William Wilberforce, where a pastor starts speaking about the abomination that is the slave trade, and the place emptied out faster than if somebody had yelled “Fire!” To be fair, the “men” were leaving too.

    I attend a Catholic church as a non-Catholic, because we do occasionally hear about sin and Judgment and abortion, and the church has a strong pro-life presence in the city. In one homily, the deacon said “I wonder how many of us Catholics will wake up one day to find out that we never had a relationship with God to begin with.” Bam! And, the priest called it “murder!” in his homily after the Irish vote to legalize abortion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OK. Forty six percent of Catholics (Catechists) voted for Obama and Hillary.
    How does one who considers himself a Catholic or Christian, justify
    voting for the party of abortion, infanticide, child molesting and all of the other leftist beliefs, feminism, divorce etc?
    Can someone explain???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even worse, more than 50% of “Catholics” voted for Obama, not once, but twice.

      Most “Catholics” are not Catholic. They are extremely poorly catechized. The Catholic doctrine on abortion and homosexual behavior is crystal clear and written out in black and white, unlike in most churches where you might have to dig to find a watered-down statement on either. Most “Catholics” do not practice Catholic doctrine.

      The leadership in the Catholic Church is pitiful, on a good day. The Pope himself might not even be Catholic or Christian. He is certainly a terrible communicator.

      The lack of formal excommunications of Pelosi, Schumer, Cuomo, and many other pro-abort “catholics,” including Sebellius, confuses the typical Catholic attempting to put Orthopraxy into place.

      As one faithful Catholic put it, “the floors of Hell are paved in the blood of “Catholic leaders.”

      I say this as an unabashed admirer of the Catholic doctrine on the Sanctity of Life and Marriage, and someone who calls out poor Catholic leadership IRL, NOT as a Catholic detractor.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting article. Not only do I agree with all of the above, I consider it a very penetrating analysis. I would, however, add another huge issue that contributes to Christian men dropping out of church, technology.

    The emergence of multimedia technology certainly serves as a distraction in and of itself, and it would be difficult to determine the effects on the brain, emotions, spirituality and relationship development. But there’s also the issue of the level of pornography that is being consumed.

    Mark Regnerus outlines much of this problem in his book, Cheap Sex, explaining how technology is a bigger factor in the rise of religious nones than skeptical arguments.

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  6. As a man and early in my Christian experience I went to quite a few different denominations. I wanted truth not opinion from some people pleaser. I think men struggle to be relevant in a world that blatantly scorns what God created man to be. Too many churches preach a long haired, kissy kissy no friction Jesus. Jesus was no such sort. He always loved and proved it but not at the expense of kicking the can down the road. He spoke it as He saw it but with the heart attitude to love, heal and restore, but no matter what he said, he was going to get your attention. A muscle hardened carpenter by trade. A self disciplined leader who taught that sacrifice wasn’t for sissy’s. Just look at who his disciples were, most knew there way around and had street smarts (some too smart for their own good- ie: Peter and his sword). Jesus knew that showing a wife love meant dying to his willful predisposition. God created men to be men, not a feminine watered down, cleaned up, sit up straight and eat your peas, version of a man. He was the perfect man/God with a perfect cause. Men have not been churched to fight and sacrifice for what they believe in. That’s why men are bored with church. Most churches need to seek a balance- not easy to do. Personally I have settled on Calvary Chapel in my town of Beaumont CA. The entire bible is preached, in balance, line by line, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. No subject is shied away from and nothing preached is the opinion of man. If a man wants to hear about whats relevant to today, look no further than the books of Genesis thru Revelation. For video’s go to CCbeaumont.org BTW. Digging your blog.

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  7. Ugh, I had a bunch of responses from people so far, and it’s basically 1) you have to go to church so that you can make it better by setting up chairs, 2) if you don’t go to church, you’ll lose your salvation (I’ve been a Christian for 30+ years, because I read, listen and watch scholars), 3) your complaints about church are just because you think church should be entertaining, 4) you need to pray more, and 5) you need to fast more. Are these answers to the problems I raised that the church is facing (large scale apostasy among young people, and diminished cultural influence)?

    I can see how parents and pastors have been conditioned to respond to challenges with threats and shaming, rather than saying “hey, we are losing young people and our influence is waning – maybe we should consider this fellow’s challenges and focus more on substance than feelings?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WE are the ones who think Church should be entertaining?!?

      What hypocrites those churchies are!

      I’m surprised you didn’t get “don’t forsake the assembly!”

      William Wilberforce wrote a scathing condemnation of the social club churches of his age:

      https://archive.org/stream/practicalviewofp00wil#page/n9/mode/2up

      Dr. King also had a few things to say about comfy cowardly churches:

      https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

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    2. Hi Wintery Knight.
      I have been a christian since I was a teenager and raised in a Christian home. I can see what your saying here and I think you raise a good point when you said “I can see how parents and pastors have been conditioned to respond to challenges with threats and shaming, rather than saying “hey, we are losing young people and our influence is waning – maybe we should consider this fellow’s challenges and focus more on substance than feelings?”
      I believe this is circumstantial and can be applied to certain churches for sure. I understand that sometimes the church needs more depth rather than constant same phrase that are repeated so much they sound cliche.
      I think your point of view is valuable and its good to hear in order that we can grow.
      Hope you find the answers your looking for.
      Hannah

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  8. Keep searching! I’ll be praying. It can be a mixed bag, but I’m in an SBC church that’s active in apologetics, affirming male leadership (even providing male only apologetics courses), holds women to task for their role in sin, and rejects fellowship with ministries that compromise doctrinal statements.

    Have you looked at para church organizations like the Navigators? I have had positive experiences with some groups.

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      1. Speaking of college organizations, a handful of members of one of our local university “apologetics” groups (I think it was Ratio Christi) came out to our abortion mill to castigate us on the sidewalk for being “unloving” – Bibles in hand and quoting Scripture!

        They then helped escort babies to their deaths, because, you know, “establishing relationships” is what Jesus was all about. smh

        Not sure, but I’m guessing the loss of their souls will be on the hands of abortion-silent pastors.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I sure hope these guys were not in any way representative, because they showed quite well that you could be proficient in Christian apologetics and still go to Hell.

            I guess that would be kind of analogous to believing THAT Jesus is Lord, but not following Jesus AS Lord.

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  9. I’d read that approximately 75% of pastors in the U.S. don’t believe that the bible is God’s authoritative Word and wholly God inspired. Everything else we worry about is peanuts compared to this unless we experience a mass revival and return to the authority of scripture. People not not only want to eat baby food, but demand it, and insist that it comes in a jar marked “Steak”. I meet people on a regular basis that are “Just Visiting” they make no bones about church shopping, but few if any say they are looking for a bible believing church. Why give a rip about doctrine when we can’t even find people who are looking for truth to begin with? The tares and wheat, the goats and sheep are being separated before our very eyes and here we are giving a rip about who wins the Super Bowl.

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  10. If Jesus was the pastor of many churches he would be fired in a year or two. In a lot o churches if the preacher has remained for many years he is either lucky enough to have a strong supportive leadership board, or else they make sure to not offend go with what many people on the church want to hear

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    1. Personally, I see home churches are have positives and negatives.
      I’ll enumerate some of both:
      Home churches are small — which means individual members take a lot of stuff seriously, ranging from greeting to making new people feel welcome.
      (But because they are small, they also magnify any issues — whether pastors or participants, significantly.)
      Home churches are energetic, kind of like “startup” churches. There’s a lot of excitement and they draw in servants who have a lot of energy.
      (But on the flip side, a lot of people who are drawn to home churches are disillusioned with institutional churches — and may carry a lot of baggage with institutional churches.)
      Home churches are more local or neighborhood oriented. They tend to draw a lot of similar people (usually because you hear about the home church by word of mouth). They are great in that one doesn’t have to work through layers of bureaucracy. See someone with a need? The members can immediately meet it.
      (On the flip side, home churches being small and not marketed and not well-known, they don’t attract bad and good attention: bad attention would be like organizations constantly asking churches for money/support and good attention would be top notch speakers/visiting speakers, good Christian organizations that want to partner with churches in a symbiotic relationship, etc.)
      Since I have significant theological training, I usually ask myself these questions:
      Q1: What is the purpose of the church?
      A1: Two-fold: first, gathering of Christians and Christian households primarily for the worship of God, through corporate prayer, songs, receiving the Lord’s Supper, testimonies, baptisms, dedications, preaching of the Word, giving to the work of God, etc. and secondarily what we receive i.e., edification. Second, the church scattered to do the work of God (missio Dei) in the world.
      Q2: If I’m not getting spiritually fed given my situation, where can I go?
      A2: I know enough to go feed myself — in terms of studying the Bible, translating the Bible (yes, I am a nerd), reading good blogs, listening to Christian radio, good Christian worship music, the rest of the spiritual disciplines, etc.
      Q3: Should I serve in the church? If so, how?
      A3: Absolutely, although currently with three young kids, my main role is to instruct them about God and to teach them the Christian worldview. This is a role that only I can do.
      Occasionally I give an evening or two or three to the local InterVarsity or Cru chapter and talk about various things. (I went to my alma mater in the month of January and talked about evangelism and challenges to evangelism — the second session was basically all apologetics.)
      Changing topic now — back to the original topic: why don’t men go to church any more?
      There are many reasons.
      – many churches have become fideistic in their approach to faith as opposed to understanding notitia, assensus, fiducia
      – a feeling approach to Christianity and to worship and to worldview, rather than objective
      – a feminization to the point of feminism
      – that SJW’s have infiltrated the church
      – as you mention, current events, policies, etc.
      Where I have seen more men at churches, these churches favor:
      – more intellectual rigor but not limited to this; strong instruction, exhortation, examples, etc.
      – strong, godly leadership
      – apologetics (sometimes snuck in and sometimes explicitly mentioned) (We had an apologetics conference in 2014 back where Alister McGrath was the keynote speaker, and other times we have had John Lennox twice and others)
      This is a Gordon-Conwell Seminary class being taught at the church which is also open to members (“Practical Apologetics”): https://www.gordonconwell.edu/hamilton/current/documents/hamreg-JA19-APMC612-HA.pdf
      There are huge list of issues that can be addressed in apologetics.
      – deal with issues that are important to men in a format that men appreciate.
      Example: Leadership

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve been a member of the same church for almost twenty years. It is gospel-centered and bible believing. I’m probably the only “lay-person” who promotes the study of apologetics in the membership of at least a couple thousand. One of the seven pastors is a fan of apologetics (youth minister).
    I’ve done “The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus” By Habermas and Licona. I’ve also done Tactics by Greg Koukl at least a couple of times. The turn out for the resurrection study was overwhelming with the final class being on Easter weekend. I even assigned homework for my class and people actually did the homework. It’s been a few years since I’ve done a class due to a personal crisis and a change of leadership with the pastor in charge of life groups/discipling. I’ve put a bug in his ear that my “ministry” is equipping the church for apologetics and would like to do something this Summer or Fall.
    I’m glad the church I serve at does see the value of it and there does seem to be a hunger in the congregation on how to answer objections to the faith and evangelize.

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  12. I’m a bit late to the discussion, WK. I too faced the dilemma of church attendance when I was a younger man. I grew up in Independent Baptist, and then Southern Baptist churches. I then stopped going to church for all the reasons mentioned. 21 years ago, as a then man of age 40, I came to the decision that evangelical Protestantism, for me, “was an inch deep and a mile wide”. My journey led me into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Today, I belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Church. What we are seeing in the different Orthodox jurisdictions is an influx of disaffected former mainline Protestants and evangelicals who are fleeing social justice theology, seeker sensitive churches, irreverent Jesus lover praise and worship music, gender neutral bibles, egalitarian and women’s empowerment sermons, an aversion th patristics, etc. One thing we are seeing are alot of men converts, both young and old, and you guessed it, they’re fleeing feminized churches. Frederica Matthews Green wrote an excellent article on why men are attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy that you may find compelling. For me, I only wish I made the journey earlier in life.

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