David Murrow is a layman who has served as an elder in the PCUSA. He is the director of an organization called Church For Men. He lives with his family in Anchorage, AK. As he noticed what he called a “gender gap” in churches he was perplexed as to the reasons for this situation. He began to research and found very little written on the subject. In his research he found men want to know God, but they want nothing to do with the church. He says that for years we have been calling men back to church, but now we need to call the church back to men.
Some of the reasons he found for the lack of presence of men in the church is the way the church has structured itself along feminine lines. Men’s religion is masculinity and when they come to church they don’t feel comfortable with the sensitivity and emphasis placed on relational activities. He finds that there is not enough challenge, risk taking, and vision in the church for men. He notes that the church is male led, but dominated by women. He has an interesting profile of men who are seminary trained and called to pastor churches.
He emphasizes the importance of the church, but leaders need to change the thermostat in the church more to challenge rather than promote comfort, conformity, and ceremony. If the church is to survive he says, we need more men, and they need to be made to see the importance of their mission. Murrow writes, “Men have no idea how vital Christ is to the future of mankind. Nor do they realize how needed they are. Without men and their warrior spirit in the church, all is lost. Our job is to lift the veil of religion and call men to the battle.”
He has a section on three gaps, identified as the gap of presence, the gap of participation, and the gap of personality. These are good reviews about men and women and the roles they play in the church.
He also has a number of chapters where he deals with the way men view the church. Some readers will not agree with all the descriptions or possible solutions he makes for change, but it is good to know what perceptions men have about the church and how the church needs to address these perceptions. Murrow makes a point of how mainline churches have adopted “inclusive language,” stripping masculine pronouns from hymns, liturgy, and even Scripture, in order to make women feel more comfortable in church. He also shows how denominations that have opened their doors widest to female leadership are generally declining in membership. He warns how this can be an obstacle in ministering to men.
He concludes the book with the importance for every man to have a spiritual father, and to become a spiritual father to another. Second, he underscores that every man needs a band of brothers. Why is it important? Murrow writes, “Jack received Christ during an invitation at his local church. Two months later, he no longer went to church, had lost all contact with believers, and was not living any discernible Christian life.” More than half of Christian conversions end this way. (Barna)
What if a spiritual father had taken responsibility for Jack? What if he’d been scooped up by a little platoon of men and discipled? With a band of brothers spurring him on, do you think Jack would abandon the faith just eight weeks later? That’s the strength of a little platoon-no man gets left behind. (226)
This is a good book for pastors and elders to read, and use in training men involved in leading men’s ministry in the local church. Murrow says this is not just a book for men, but for women also and I would agree.