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David Murrow: Mild At Heart

 

David Murrow, “Mild At Heart: The disturbing exodus of men from the church, and how you can change it.” Ministries Today (May/June 2005, Vol 23, No. 3), pages 40-44, 46.

David Murrow starts his article with statistics. They tell a poor story. Men make up less than 40% of U.S. Churches and that number is growing worse with time. This declining condition exists even though leadership of the American Christian Church remains overwhelmingly male.

As a pastor, Murrow’s goal is the strengthening and expansion of the Church. Does he overstate his case that modern churches are not appealing to men? Perhaps. On the other hand, events such as Promise Keepers, Man Power and Wild at Heart Boot Camps are drawing throngs of men.

Murrow asks 3 key questions: Why are men abandoning the pews of the Church? How could The Faith, started by a manly carpenter and 12 working men fall into such a state? How do we fix this, since this condition seems to be strongly linked to the overall decline of American Churches?

 

The View From The Pews: Context and Environment

Murrow states bluntly that Men do not feel welcome in modern churches. This is, in part, because the church, and church-life, reflects the sensibilities of the active disciples: women. For instance, to the male eye, many Church decors have the frilly, flowered look of a maiden aunt’s house. To many males ears, the worship, teaching and preaching of the Church, sounds “safe and soft.”

Men, Spirit-filled men included, are built for action and challenge. Any environment or context that ignores a man’s “wildness of heart” is not welcoming to him. Men will put up with hardship and inconvenience, but they hate to be bored or constrained.

 

Misplaced Purpose: The Great Commission

Murrow calls modern church-life “soft and sweet.” Many men see Christian preachers, teachers and ministers as cautious, sensitive and accommodating. Jesus and the Disciples were bold, intolerant and assertive. Jesus commanded the Church to focus on being God’s Army. The Church, as Saint’s Hospital, is not His Intention.

Jesus chose a bold, inflexible command (Matthew 28: 19-20) as his last earthly words to the assembled Disciples: “Go every where and make disciples.” Modern Churches, rightfully so, help and nourish the sick and hurting. The discipling ministries, not the helping ministries should be the focus and leadership in God’s Army.

Infantrymen take, and hold, territory. The medics, vital and needed, only operate to support the infantry. Men will respond as the Church reclaims a purpose and passion for the lost. The adventure and challenge of making disciples will keep generations of Christian men in the pews, if not on the edge of their seats.

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Category: Fall 2005, Ministry

About the Author: Kirk Wesley Hunt, MBA, is part of Tucson Church International in Tucson Arizona. He is the author of Soldiers Of The Kingdom: Reclaiming the World for God (CadreMen Press, 2002) and Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals for Gospel Champions (CadreMen Press, 2015). He publishes a weekly devotional at: devotionals.cadremenpress.com.

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