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Funny Things Some Men Don't Like About Church

I know how you feel. There are certain things your husband hates about church and you aren’t sure what to do about it. I know how you feel because my husband really didn’t like church for a while, either. And I’m married to a pastor!

Twice over the past 25 years, my husband, Mr. H., stepped out of his role as a senior pastor to recoup from burnout and re-evaluate his heart for ministry. During that time, he not only examined why he does the things pastors do, but having had time on the other side of the platform, he saw the stage from where your husband sees it, and experienced some of the same things as your man.

In addition to being a “guy in the congregation,” Mr. H. has also led several in-depth small groups for men in which they got real about what really bugged them about church...

I asked Mr. H. to lend some insight into “Things Your Husband Hates about Church.” Coupled with my 30 years of experience discipling women who have told me what their husbands think about church, too, we came up with this list – at least through the eyes of a man.

1. Predictable Services 
Many men thrive on spontaneity – or at least changing it up from time to time. So, a routine your husband can predict with his eyes closed doesn’t help when it comes to sitting for an hour or more in church.

Said one man who was fairly new to church, “Three songs, announcements, offering, sermon, closing song. C'mon - add some variety to raise the expectation and anticipation level. I really don't mean to nod off during the riveting message, but there are some things that can be done to keep me better engaged. Surprise me (and please don't think I mean ‘Entertain me’).”

2. "Meet and Greet" Time 
The typical church asks its congregation, men included, to “meet and greet” each other during the service. In every service. But this can feel awkward for men, whether they’re first-timers or have been there for years.

The husband of a good friend told me: “After I've already been greeted by the wonderful person at the door who hands out the bulletins, please don’t have a special time in the service to make me turn around and greet someone else. Let me be honest - I have friends. I know how to make friends. How about simply offering coffee and donuts before and after the service, sprinkle some of your smiling staff around, and let the meet and greet time happen more naturally?”

3. Dumbing Down Religious Language 
My husband has a degree in theology and often, as he would sit in church, he’d hear the senior pastor explain simple terms, not just when it came to theology, but in practical life as well. In many churches there are CEOs of companies, attorneys, doctors, and other highly-educated, intelligent men who can grasp what a teaching pastor might think is too heady.

As one husband and professional educator said: “Some pastors get the idea that we don’t know their theological terms and can’t handle the heady stuff. Look, I’m educated and I'm a professional in my field, which means in the workplace I'm expected to know and understand some complicated terms. I'm pretty sure that in church, if the pastor explained it clearly enough, I can grasp the meanings of "sanctification,” "justification,” and “eschatology.”

4. Failing to Challenge Him 
A man needs to make sense of his work, his calling, and even his volunteer work in his kids’ classrooms. So if a church is going to ask him to sacrifice his time and money, it must give him a compelling enough reason to do so – one that’s so audacious, life-altering, and straight to the point that it makes him sit up and take serious notice. What a minute? Isn't that the gospel of Jesus?

If your husband is getting a nice little sermonette to make him feel good about coming and it’s not really resonating, it’s possible he’s waiting to be challenged by the hard sayings of Jesus like “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Now you've got his attention.

5. Overcommitting His Family 
Chances are you are another family that is over-scheduled. Sadly, more families are finding it difficult to prioritize even weekly Sunday attendance. But if the church starts adding to your already over-scheduled lives, your husband is most likely going to resent it.

Todd said it best: “I'm glad my wife and kids like going to your church. I think it's important for them to find ways to serve and to help others. But my kids also have homework and sports games and chores. And my wife helps my kids with homework and sports games and chores. So the next time the call goes out for more volunteers for Vacation Bible School or the next kids’ activity, please be considerate of those people who are already doing plenty for the kingdom cause.”

[written by Cindi McMenamin, a happy wife]