Archived Story

Where are the men in our churches?

Published 3:25pm Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dear Editor,

Husbands, dads and granddads, can I ask you a few simple questions?

If men are the spiritual heads of the family as the Bible says we are, why are our churches mainly composed of women and children? Not only that, but why do I often see women and children worshiping alone on Sunday mornings rather than worshiping with their husbands and dads?

Why is it that when I ask your kids (and I do) about who prays or reads the Bible in their family, they usually say “mama” or “grandma” but rarely “my dad or granddad?” Why is it that when dads and husbands and granddads finally show up in worship for special events like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Christmas, they often will not sing (or even pick up a hymnal) or pray or serve?

Sorry for the hard questions guys, but as you can tell I have been wondering rather deeply about a few things here lately.

Now, I don’t want to come off as a better-than-you kind of preacher standing on his pristine pedestal. God knows that I often struggle like you to be the kind of dad I want to be and the kind of dude that God has called me to be. It’s hard to be a dad, and I’m glad that God, my heavenly father, makes up for and forgives what I am lacking as a parent.

But I see too many dads on the ball field excited about a game on Saturday morning and not enough dads and granddads in a sanctuary excited about worshiping God on a Sunday.

Guys, like me, you’ve been hearing a lot on the news and the Internet about the breakdown of the family. We’ve heard from the news pundits and commentators that we should be blaming everyone from the President and Congress down to our gay and lesbian neighbors for America’s failing families.

Can I be frank with you one last time? No one (yes “no one”) is responsible for your child’s religious education and salvation except you and your spouse. You are the primary spiritual guides and leaders of your family.

That’s not my opinion. That’s God’s opinion.

Guys, we’ve got to step up to the plate and start being courageous in our faith. Your kids need to see you in church.

They need to see you praying. They need to see you working hard and taking care of your family both physically and spiritually.

They need to see you in love and not just married to your wife. They need to see you singing hymns joyfully and reading the Bible intently.

They need to see you listening to the preacher, and they need to hear you and your wife discussing the sermon after church and talking about what needs to change in your home for you to honor God more and be a better disciple.

They need to see you struggle with faith during hardships and experience you leaning on God’s love and providence when life gets too complicated.

And, I don’t want to forget about your wife and your children’s mother. Honestly, I’ve talked to her a hundred times in my church office and she wants me to tell you one thing: “She needs a break!”

She can’t be the sole person in your family responsible for your child’s salvation. She needs you to help out, pitch in and step up. Like your children, she needs you to be a man.

Who can save the American family? You can. Just start being the kind of dude God created you to be.

Jeremy Harbin

Minister

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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