The Spiritual Effect of Poor Male Leadership

Here is a cycle that has contributed to the stunting of men’s maturity in Christ:

Poor or lacking male leadership leads to fewer and less effective men’s ministry leads to women’s models of growth and discipleship being the only option leads to men not being interested in spiritual growth leads to poor or lacking male leadership.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Mens-group_1880_hg.jpg

In my post last week on how groups of men can grow spiritually, I presented a snapshot of a men’s small group that was in high contrast to how women bond and build community with one another. As I stated last week, women prefer sharing, touch, compliments, and emotional intensity. Men prefer humor, challenges, activity, deep purpose, and marks of progress.

As men become less and less a part of church life and leadership, the only model for spiritual growth is the female model of maturity in group settings. The men who are left and searching for a way to Grow Up but are not as interested in the female way and so dismiss small groups or studies as something that is not for them.

There is nothing wrong with the way that groups of women Grow Up but that model can’t be the only option.

Men, there is a way to Grow Up as individuals and in groups. I am willing to try out some of these ideas. Let me know if you are interested.

photo credit: wikimedia commons

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5 thoughts on “The Spiritual Effect of Poor Male Leadership

  1. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for awhile.

    Admittedly, I’m not thrilled about this particular post. I don’t feel that the models you’ve set out for the genders are legitimate. In my experience, this kind of thing overgeneralizes the gender experience and ends up creating “roles” for Christian men or women to play (see Love & Respect, Promise Keepers, and Wild at Heart). Then the many nuances of individual personalities (including gifts and wounds) which are far more consequential to spiritual formation are either ignored, or treated as an undesirable anomaly.

    I think it’s helpful to remember that life outside of ministry constructs are not typically gender divided. The developing of Christian character is best nurtured in the soil it’s actually planted in, not in a simulation of an idealized social experiment.

    • Thank you for your comment Kiel. I really agree with you and my own journey is much more nuanced and not really influenced at all by the programmatic men’s ministry approaches. But I think that I am largely an exception when it comes to men in most churches. I want men and women to reach their full Christ following potential and so when I began to think about how a group of men might begin to start that process, I came up with a few ideas. I really like your picture of growth and community better than mine but I also know that we are so often blinded by our context and aren’t able, at least not easily, to see beyond them. What are some ways that we can overcome our particular contexts without resorting to overly idealized methods and roles?

      • Well, Scott, I’ve delayed response hoping I’d come up with something profound to say. You’ve taken my concern with alot of grace. Thank you.

        Perhaps I can just pose a couple more questions. Is it true that there is a “most men,” who have had some experience so different from our own? Is it possible that men (and women) simply vary in their ability to conform to the construct that’s been built for them?

  2. Kiel, you don’t have to be profound here. Heaven knows I am only on rare occasions. I believe, with you, that there is a wide range of experience in the spiritual life. I also believe that God speaks to the language of the individual. I have a friend who proudly states that he is a geek and God speaks to him in geek. Maybe, we should move focuses away from gender constructs and work on the individual level. I know some work has been done on how certain personality test results (Myers-Briggs, etc) mesh with spiritual lives and practices. This fascinates me but I never here much talk about it. Maybe this approach could help remove the heaviness of gender stereotypes and constructs.

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