- Faith & Family
According to many Christians, everyone regardless of age, sex, race or economic background should attend church. And it’s true many people across a wide array of ages, races and economic backgrounds heed that advice. However, it is also true that in many churches, more women are likely to attend services than men.
According to the Pew Forum Religion and Public Life’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 60 percent of the members of historically Black churches are women compared to just 40 percent male members.
Why exactly more women attend church than men is hard to say for certain, explains Rev. Jeffrey Mack.
“People attend church for different reasons, some people attend because of their faith in God, some attend because it’s tradition, some attend church because they’re seeking answers,” Mack said. “But throughout history women have always gone to church more than men.”
At Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church where Mack is senior pastor, weekly services often bring in an average of 200 congregants — he estimates that 60 percent are women.
In some ways, this disparity is natural, according to Pastor Avery Jones of Holy Spirit Ministries.
“Women tend to be more emotional and through that emotion it gives them more hunger and desire for God,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Mack surmises that men may have a more difficult time accepting the purpose of church and religion.
“The whole point of serving God is to be a servant,” Mack said. “Sometimes men have a hard time surrendering because they look at church as servitude.”
Jones has also seen this same negative perception of church among males.
“A lot of [men] would rather deal with denial than actually admit that we need a power stronger than us,” Jones said.
But it may be the culture in many churches that are keeping some men away, according to Reverend Norman Freeman of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Homestead.
“The church is sometimes more geared toward the female than the male,” he said. “Sometimes because of our ways of preaching, the way that we do ministries and even in our decor, men don’t feel masculine enough,” Norman said. “Especially when we’re talking about brothers that we want to take out of the streets. If a brother does not see his reflection in the church, then he has nobody to connect with.”
To attract a higher male presence in the pews, many ministers believe that changes in the sanctuary as well as among the mind set of potential worshippers must change.
For churches, more emphasis should be placed on having activities— whether it be sporting events, mentoring programs, or even creating a neighborhood security squad, suggested Freeman.
“Men in our church like to get out and feel like they’re doing something in the community,” he said.
In the meantime, men should also reconsider their relationship with God, including coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to serve Him, according to Mack.
“Men should learn that Christ wants us to serve Him but he still wants us to lead our family,” Mack said. “He just wants to be able to guide us to the right ways of doing that.”
By Kaila Heard