“We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence. They are neither boys nor men. They live, suspended as it were, between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being grown-ups. Let’s call this kind of male Ban, a hybrid of both boy and man. Ban is a juvenile because there has been an entire niche created for him to live in the lusts of youth. The accompanying culture not only tolerates this behavior but encourages it and endorses it. … This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even, frighteningly, vocational ministry.”
I’ve begun reading a book on church planting, Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission by Darrin Patrick. The preface of this book contains some astounding and disconcerting facts and I’ve included some excerpts in this post; read on:
“Ban may be a frightening reality in the church, but he is the best thing that ever happened to the video game industry. Almost half (about 48%) of American males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four play video games every day – for almost three hours. The average video game buyer is thirty-seven years old. In 2005, 95 percent of computer game buyers and 84 percent of console game buyers were over the age of eighteen … Astonishingly, 75 percent of American heads-of-households-play computer and video games. “
“Unfortunately; many young women today have given up trying to find Mr. Right. They are coming to the stark reality that they are probably going to have to settle for Mr. So-So. Ban is good at selling himself as a man, but the reality is that he is just a “man wannabe.” Ban typically doesn’t like absolute truth, but he proves its existence through his continual devolution into junior-high behavior and its accompanying consequences. It is a transcultural reality that assuming the responsibilities of husband and father makes a boy into a man, but Ban doesn’t like responsibility; so he extends his adolescence as long as humanly possible. And by delaying having a family, which is the rite of many cultures’ progress into manhood, Ban is able to set his focus squarely and supremely on himself.”
“As Ban puts off adulthood, he also puts off marriage. Why bother with a wife and a mortgage when you can live in your parents’ basement, play video games all day, participate in adult sports leagues at night, and barhop every weekend?”
Wow! There is more and it almost takes my breath away. Does this portrait of the American male set off any alarm bells in your head? It certainly alarms me and it also fills in some of the gaps in my thinking as I continually wrestle with the question: “Why is it so difficult to find and develop qualified biblical leadership in the church today?” That is a crucial issue for any local church but it is a “do-or-die” watershed issue for church planting.
Consider these revealing statitstics gleaned from David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church.
- The typical US church congregation draws an adult crowd that is 61% female, 39% male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories.
- On any given Sunday, there are 13 milion more adult women than men in America’s churches.
- This Sunday, almost 25% of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.
- Over 70% of the boys who are being raised in the church will abandon it during their teens and twenties. Many of these boys will never return.
- More than 90% of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church. Patrick concludes his preface by saying:
- “We have a spiritual crisis and live in a world full of Bans. We have Bans in our city, our neighborhoods, our churches, and our families. Ban needs godly men and women to show him there is more to life than what he is currently experiencing. Ban needs to be more than just a male. He needs to be becoming God’s man who is being transformed by God’s gospel message and is wholeheartedly pursuing God’s mission.”
I agree wholeheartedly! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book!