Chances are strong you are already quite familiar with the term “seeker-sensitive church,” which typically describes the type of church that strives to have a weekly worship service that appeals to both the churched and unchurched, making everyone comfortable no matter what they may be used to.
There are also the terms “seeker-focused,” “seeker-centered,” “seeker-driven,” and others like it that describe a worship service intended to appeal mainly to the unchurched.
Most of the time, the churches using these terms have gospel-centered motives and wish only to spread the good news of Jesus in the best way they feel possible in the community God has placed them in.
But may I suggest a different focus for not only your worship service but also your church as a whole? And what’s especially great about this focus is that whether you relate more with “seeker-sensitive,” “seeker-focused,” or even good old-fashioned traditional, this can be applied to that style and enhance its effectiveness to an infinitely greater degree.
Don’t as much focus on being “seeker-sensitive” or “seeker-focused,” but instead set your eyes on being “man-sensitive” and “man-focused.”
In their book The Promise Keeper at Work, authors Bob Horner, Ron Ralston, and David Sunde share an incredibly bothersome yet extremely encouraging stat: “When a child comes to faith, 9 percent of the time they can influence an un-churched family to become Christians. When a woman comes to faith in the same situation, only 13 percent of the time will her influence cause the family to come to faith. But when a man comes to faith, 93 percent of the time the entire family will come to faith and become participants in church.”
I called this stat extremely encouraging because it shows just how powerful a role in the family the husband and father still has. Just think about it: when an unchurched, non-Christian man comes to know Jesus midway through his life, 93 percent of the time his entire family follows in his steps! But I also said this was incredibly bothersome. Why? Because who is the typical church focused on? Women and children.
Author David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church, has written at length about how much of today’s church is geared toward women, down to even singing love songs and having to dress up. I would encourage you to take a good, long look at everything about your worship service and ask yourself if this feels like a comfortable gathering for the men in your community.
But beyond the appearance and format of your worship service, take a look at your budget. Chances are, you have quite a bit of money going toward children’s ministry—including Vacation Bible School, constantly changing children’s wing decorations, a children’s pastor, and all the latest Sunday school curriculum and videos.
How does that budget compare to your men’s ministry? How much money are you spending on gathering up men to go paintballing, or skeet-shooting, or hunting and fishing? Where is your men’s minister who is constantly seeking to engage the men both in your church and in your community?
It’s not very PC or twenty-first-century to say it’s all about the men. I get that there are some sensitivity issues to keep in mind here. But we’re not talking about television ratings, or awards, or athletes, or pay wages. We’re talking about eternal souls who need Jesus.
Remember: 93 percent!
Versus 9 percent and 13 percent!
Do you want to see more families in church on Sunday? Do you want to see more lives impacted for the gospel in your community? Then focus on the head of the family. Where the head goes, the body follows, 93 percent of the time.
Kevin Harvey is the author of two books, his most recent being All You Want to Know about the Bible in Pop Culture. He also writes at BibleInPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter under the handle @PopCultureKevin.