According to Barna, 13 million more in America.
About 25% of married churchgoing women attend without their husband. Of the men that say they believe in God, only a third attend church on a regular basis.
This means that the majority of church volunteers are females.
Don’t get me wrong, women are great to have in children’s ministry – God designed women to act in a certain way around children. And that’s where the problem lies…he also designed men to act a certain way. It’s a balance of the two that works best so when one gender greatly outnumbers the other, things can get unbalanced.
This weekend I have the opportunity to facilitate a conversation among men in children’s ministry at KidMin 2012. It’ll be a great chance to hear where they are struggling and where they succeed. I don’t know where the conversation will go, but I think that sone of the biggest topics will be - It’s lonely.
Boys and Girls both thrive from men being a part of the classroom experience. Even MSNBC recognizes this. Men make great, positive role models, provide a great perspective and add an element of fun… So how do we get more men involved?
Be Intentional – Ask them
Don’t assume that men know of the need and don’t think that they are afraid of the commitment.
Go to where the men are and show them how they can make a difference in the life of a child. Men want to do and men want to make a difference. But chances are, they won’t read your announcement in the bulletin – you’ve got to talk to them.
Know the language
Like I said, men want to do. Men also speak of respect. Showing them how they can love on a hurting child won’t be as effective as presenting a plan to build boys into men. All in all, those phrases are similar, but in the mind of a man the difference is huge.
Have a plan
Again, men want to do and we’re great at following plans (and improving on them!) Know what it is that you are asking them to do and have a specific time frame in mind. It’s not that their is a fear of commitment rather it is that men can become overcommitted. If we know how long you want us or know the term of service we’re much more apt to make the commitment.
Likewise, think of the roles that you are asking them to fill. Men like action and will shy away from passive roles. We want to make a tangible impact.
Don’t consider age
Sure, that college guy can play some great games with the kids and keep up with them, but it’s the older gentleman that will be able to keep them captivated with their stories. It takes a balance of both.
Look at your rooms
With so many women serving in the church, curriculum, decoration, and activities have all take on a feminine design. Men are happy to hold and cuddle babies but we really don’t want to do it in a pink room covered in flowers. Just as we need to make sure that our children feel comfortable in their environment we should do what we can to help our volunteers feel that way as well.
By far, this won’t be the only topic of conversation. I’m sure will touch on how leadership looks different, how better communicate with women volunteers, protecting yourself and how to overcome some of the hiring bias that we see in many churches when looking for overseers of the children’s ministry.