Don’t get me wrong: the critique of Christian worship encapsulated in books such as Why Men Hate Going to Church has some validity. I’m as uncomfortable as the next guy when I’m asked to stand and sing about “Jesus, lover of my soul”, “precious Jesus”, “the darling of heaven”. I’m already struggling to identify with the clear Bible teaching that identifies me as part of the bride of Christ; the lovey dovey language in many “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs doesn’t help.
But when I look around my home church I don’t see a bunch of emasculated wussy men. Instead I’m inspired by blokes with nailguns transforming our church courtyard in preparation for our annual nativity play. They’re in there with a bobcat fixing the church’s drainage problems at no charge. They’re negotiating rutted bush tracks in four-wheel drives, plotting routes for Pathfinder hikes. They’re heading out to Nepal, Solomon Islands or Sarawak to maintain hospitals and medical boats or to preach evangelistic series and build churches. They’re welders and motorcyclists; organisers and musicians; technicians and cinnamon scroll bakers.
Do you get the picture? A healthy church is an active church. And most men like being active. If your Christianity is limited to enduring weepy music while you sit passively in a meeting an hour per week, you’ve got it all wrong. It’s like saying you’re a footballer when all you do is attend the half-time pep talk and the full-time celebration. “What’s with all the hugging and back-slapping and rah rah rah?” you whinge. But you never actually lace up and play the game.
It’s time to man up. Whatever your age or stage in life God has a ministry for you. It probably should include taking part in Sabbath worship from time to time, either up front or behind the scenes. Maybe you can even help make it more meaningful to your fellow men. But God’s call on your life definitely involves your unique passions and talents being used outside the four walls of a church building, directed to the cause of growing His kingdom. He created you like no-one else for a specific purpose. Find that purpose.
"It’s time to man up. Whatever your age or stage in life God has a ministry for you."
And maybe one day, when you’re standing in a baptismal font alongside a pastor and a person you’ve helped bring to Jesus through your unique ministry, the organ will warble “Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling” and you’ll discover a lump in your throat and a manly tear on your cheek. But don’t worry: if you don’t mention it, I won’t.