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  • Go therefore and make church attendees?

    Posted on March 8th, 2010 admin No comments

    While I have not read Wright’s forthcoming book, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites …and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, I would like to share a few thoughts in response to the blog post, “Male Church Attendance: Bradley Wright” dated March 8, 2010.

    Yes, it’s great that men are attending church. But, we cannot use official census data on male church attendance to diagnose the efficacy of accomplishing the great commission. Keep in mind that Jesus’ command was not, “Go therefore and make church attendees…”

    Jesus said, “Make disciples.” The church, of course, exists to make disciples of men and women. Determining if the church is accomplishing that mission takes more than calculating the male to female ratio in church pews. Sure, credible research requires empirical data. Any scientist who cares about religion would be hard-pressed not to play with available church attendance numbers. However, I too would caution against drawing important conclusions from church attendance data alone, especially when addressing the issue of male discipleship. Let’s not go back to serving donuts in the church just because attendance data looks good. Rather, let’s keep calling men to die to self and lead.

    The fact is that we, the church, can do a better job at making disciples of men. Why? Well, the current disciple-making process is not working for men in many local churches. I’m not talking about male church attendance. I’m talking about walking into a local church and finding men who are radical in they way live for Jesus. These men have turned from worldly lusts and have died to self. They know what they believe, and they can explain it to others. They are serving God by leading Bible studies, taking care of orphans and widows, changing dirty diapers, and unclogging stopped-up toilets. When they know that a man isn’t loving his wife, or when recurring sin has crept into a friend’s life, these men confront. They knock on doors and visit such men at home because they care about discipleship.

    How do we measure the percentage of male disciples like that in a particular local church? I don’t know for sure. I don’t want to be the one deciding if someone is further along his journey of spiritual growth than another. However, I can tell you that it’s not hard to tell the difference between a church that is focused on making disciples and a church that cares more about serving donuts.

    The last few weeks I’ve been speaking at a church of about 50 people in a town with a declining population of around 230. Before the service, the elders of this church did something simple that proved they are the real deal: they gathered together as men in a basement room and prayed. I’m thankful they invited me to join them. I’ve spoken at much larger churches—churches that appear healthier when measured by numbers—yet whose men were more focused on arranging donuts than praying together before the service. That doesn’t mean male disciples aren’t being made at that church, but it’s one example of many that speaks volumes about how seriously men take this whole disciple-making mission.

    Should we keep evaluating how well we are doing at making male disciples? Yes. Does that mean that every church should expand its men’s ministry and add another pancake feed to the church calendar? No.

    Let’s stop serving donuts, and preach the Word. In pointing people to the suffering servant who rose from the grave, men will learn where they need to man up.


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