A modest research to get us started…
It is no secret that the church is more attractive to women than to men, especially Sunday School and small group Bible studies. While some argue the American Christian church is made up of 70% women and only 30% men, the ratio varies widely depending on the age, location and program of a church. Mainline denominations, older churches, and downtown churches all have a lopsided ratio of women over men, while other churches are more equal (though seldom are there more men than women, and by far the men in these churches are usually married men). Even taking the most generous figures, the American Christian church is at least 60% women.
So, where are the men? Are men “naturally” less religious? Or is the church somehow failing to connect with men? The students in the Fall 2001 the Adult Christian Education course at Indiana Wesleyan University pondered this question and decided to ask around. These students developed a survey instrument and personally interviewed 60 men and 62 women who were presently active in churches in five different states including churches from 75 to 3000. What follows is their findings. While these findings are not PhD type research these students probably discovered some preliminary indicators that will be useful to others doing more serious research.
Here’s what they discovered.
The women we surveyed said…
What women said about how MEN seem to differ from women in learning
What women said about how WOMEN seem to differ from men in learning
What women said about how the church MIGHT ATTRACT more men
The men we surveyed said…
What men said about how MEN seem to differ from women in learning
What men said about how WOMEN seem to differ from men in learning
What men said about how the church MIGHT ATTRACT more men
OK. You have the “raw data” from the students now listed in order of frequency responses. Now, what would you say are the preliminary “findings” from this mini-research project?
So, what do you think? Do these findings ring true to you?
Keith Drury served The Wesleyan Church headquarters in Christian Education and Youth leadership for 24 years before becoming a professor of religion at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is the author of more than a dozen books of practical spirituality, including Holiness for Ordinary People, Common Ground and Ageless Faith. Keith Drury wrote the Tuesday Column for 17 years (1995-2012), and many articles can be found on his blog “Drury Writing.”
Keith Drury retired from full time teaching in 2012. Keith is married to Sharon and has two adult sons and several grandchildren. He is retired in Florida with Sharon and enjoys cycling.