by Dan Metteer/ June 9, 2016
As I have watched my son grow up, I have noticed that he picks up very quickly which things are the “boy” things. Skateboards, Legos®, superheroes, Star Wars—these things seem to be like second nature to him. Not only does he notice these things, he is obsessed with them.
As he continues to grow, I see that he is continually watching what the older boys around him are doing—how they talk, what they do, even how they move, and he tries to emulate them. At home, he watches me. He sees what I do, what I wear, and he tries to copy it. He often talks about what he will be like when he is a dad. I guess this is the way we grow up.
But there is a problem with the way boys are growing up today. They are resisting going to church. According to a recent survey of churches in the U.S., church attendance is 61% female and only 39% male. There are probably several reasons for this imbalance, but there is one reason that is undeniable. When you walk up and down the hallways of your churches’ children’s ministries, look in the classrooms. Who are the leaders? By far, the majority of children’s ministries volunteers are women.
Most churches are painfully lacking in fathers, grandfathers, and older brothers who want to serve kids at church. And this lack of visible, male presence around kids in our church is sending kids this silent but disastrous message week after week: the church isn’t a place for men. As boys form their identities, they need role models. If we hope to keep boys in the church when they become men, men must make their presence known.
This is not a belittling of female volunteers, but a call to action for men. We need men who will be present in their church’s children’s ministry. We need men to show the next generation that the church is worth their time—that it is more important than career, hobbies, and work around the house. We need men who will be willing examples of obedience to Jesus’ mandate to value children.
If every man in the church gave one hour per month to serve kids at church, the church will look radically different in 20 years. So let’s do it! My sons and grandsons thank you in advance.