You’re not imagining it.

Christianity is short on men.

Odds are that your church has a gender gap. Why should you care?

If you do nothing, your congregation will be dead in 30 years.

Research is clear: the bigger your man shortage, the more likely your church is in decline. The denominations with the largest gender gaps are also those that are losing the most members.

Look at the evidence: mainline churches suffer huge gender gaps, and they are losing tens of thousands of members each year. Meanwhile, non-denominational megachurches are growing fastest – and they are also the most likely to attract men.

Grow your men – and your church will grow

The presence of enthusiastic male worshipers is statistically associated with the following outcomes:

  • Congregational growth
  • Congregational health
  • Unity in the church
  • Increased giving
  • Retention of young men and women

According to a study from Hartford Seminary, gender-balanced congregations are three times as likely to be growing as female-dominated churches.

Jesus showed us how to grow a healthy church: focus on men first. Christ loved women and children, but he spent most of his time and energy developing a handful of men. He knew a truth we’ve forgotten: if you transform men, you transform the family, the community and the society. Draw a man to church, and you often get the family in the bargain.

The presence of involved men is strongly associated with church growth. Their absence is almost always a sign of congregational decline.

Here are a few stats on the gender gap:

  • The typical U.S. Congregation draws an adult crowd that’s 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories. [1]
  • On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America’s churches. [2]
  • This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands. [3]
  • Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants. [4]
  • The majority of church employees are women (except for ordained clergy, who are overwhelmingly male). [5]
  • Over 70 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it during their teens and twenties. Many of these boys will never return. [6]
  • As of June 2022, 36 percent of women say they went to church last week (either in person or online) whereas only 24 percent of men did. [7]
  • Churches overseas report gender gaps of up to 9 women for every adult man in attendance. [8]
  • Christian universities are becoming convents. The typical Christian college in the U.S. enrolls almost 2 women for every 1 man. [9]
  • Fewer than 10% of U.S. churches are able to establish or maintain a vibrant men’s ministry. [10]

Footnotes:

[1] “U.S. Congregational Life Survey – Key Findings,” 29 October 2003, <www.uscongregations.org/key.htm>.

[2] This statistic comes from Barna’s figures on male/female worship attendance, overlayed upon the Census 2000 numbers for adult men and women in the U.S. population.

[3] I came up with this figure by taking the U.S. Census 2000 numbers for total married adults and overlaying Barna Research’s year 2000 percentages of male vs. female attendance at weekly worship services. The figures suggest at least 24.5 million married women attend church on a given weekend, but only 19 million married men attend. That’s 5.5 million more women, or 22.5%. The actual number may be even higher, because married people attend church in much greater numbers than singles.

[4] Barna Research Online, “Women are the Backbone of Christian Congregations in America,” 6 March 2000, <www.barna.org>.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “LifeWay Research Uncovers Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church,” PowerPoint presentation accompanying study, available at the LifeWay Web site, http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0,1703,A=165949&M=200906,00.html, accessed 12 September 2007.

[7] https://news.gallup.com/poll/350462/person-religious-service-attendance-rebounding.aspx

[8] I get an e-mail message about once a month from a pastor overseas whose congregation is almost totally female.

[9] Camerin Courtney, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Christianity Today, Single Minded. View at http://www.christianitytoday.com/singles/newsletter/mind40630.html.

[10] Based on a show of hands at the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries meeting in 2005. The consensus in the room among hundreds of men’s ministry experts was that less than 10% of congregations had any ongoing ministry to men. Compare this to the 110% of churches that offer women’s and children’s ministries.

Published On: June 15, 2021 / Categories: Media, Men, Screen Addiction /

David Murrow, The Online Preaching Coach, is the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church and many other bestselling books. David is an award winning television producer whose work has been seen on ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, Discovery Networks, BBC World Service and dozens more. His Online Preaching Cohort trains pastors in the art of on-screen communication.

Stay in the know

Inspiration from David Murrow once a week, right into your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

We promise not to spam, share or sell your address.