Studies show men are leaving Church
The need which Mark sees for men’s ministry – a need which MPOWER will seek to meet – is based in part on personal tales of transformed lives and partly on some surprising statistics, such as: “By 2028, men will have all but disappeared from the UK Church.”
Before you batten down the hatches and reach for your tin hat, it’s important to remember that this shocking suggestion was made by Peter Brierley, a writer aiming to help churches grow. Brierley extrapolated the current rate of loss to make his worrying prediction, but he’s not alone in recognising the issues.
According to one survey, 50% of men would feel comfortable in a lingerie shop, but only 33% would be happy to find themselves in a church. Even if you allow for some bias in egotistical survey responses, the trend is hard to ignore. It is mirrored in the findings of Evangelicals Now, who discovered that men see church as ‘irrelevant; for wimps, women and children’.
To an extent, men’s attitudes towards church mirror the wider society’s. A BBC-commissioned poll found that 64% of people in the UK could think of no reason whatsoever to darken the door of a church. Even among Christians, this same survey revealed that a third weren’t fussed about making it to service each Sunday, but are more happy to go to IKEA!
What makes this sad situation worse is that the complete disengagement of men from church finds a correlation in hopelessness among younger guys. The most common cause of death among men under 50 in England? Suicide.
As hard hitting as some of these facts and figures are, there’s also a source of hope hidden in the details. When one person comes to Christ, others tend to follow. This is particularly true in family units, and it’s here that the potential impact of a powerful men’s ministry can truly be seen.
When a child comes to Christ, according to research commissioned by Tearfund, there’s a 3½% chance the family will follow their lead. That jumps to 17% when mum’s life changes, but leaps to a staggering 93% when it’s dad who is born again.
As well as inspiring Elim’s own action in founding MPOWER, these statistics have prompted urgent action from organisations like Christian Vision for Men, who list them on their website as primary reasons for engaging in Men’s ministry.
Let them inform your prayer and support for MPOWER as Mark and his team seek to reverse some of these trends in our efforts to reach out to our own nation and beyond.