This is not a question with a punchline. It’s not a derogatory slight. And it’s honestly not a rhetorical question.
What kind of man goes to church?
The easiest answer would be a Christian man. But let’s keep going.
I would guess a certain number of men given to music. After all, musical worship takes up 25-50% of most services.
There must be a fair number of arm chair theologians, right? The message makes up the bulk of the rest of the service.
Is that it? Christian men who like music or theology?
Of course not. That only covers the kind of men that show up on a Sunday. There are more things churches do during the week.
There are men that do softball Thursday nights.
There are men that meet early for breakfast on Wednesdays.
There are men that lead small groups in their homes or service opportunities in their communities.
Are these the kind of men that go to church?
So where am I going with this?
Here’s my concern: Amidst all of the different types of men that go to church, there is one that gets little to no attention.
He doesn’t get blog posts written about him. His example isn’t lauded for others to follow. No one studies him to know why he is the way that he is.
Who is he? He is a loving man.
No. Not sensual, romance-novel lovers.
Rather the man that loves God and people. Deeply. Sacrificially.
We know God is love. John Mark McMillan accurately penned the song How He Loves. The main chorus? Oh, how he loves us.
We know Christ loves. He demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, he died for us. In a church of 100 (or, for that matter, 1,000 or 10,000), he would leave them all to pursue one who is going astray. Oh, how he loves.
But do we have any examples of Christian men as deep lovers of God and people? Are they there and we’re not seeing them? Or are we not seeing them because they’re not there?
It’s what makes the example of Jesus — the man — so compelling. He loved. He loved the woman caught in adultery seemingly as much as he did his great friend, Lazarus. He loved Peter despite his betrayal as much as he did his faithful mother.
He loves me. He loves you. Oh, how he loves.
His love resulted in alienation from his family, his disciples, and his Father.
His love resulted in violence toward himself.
His love gave and gave and gave.
Oh, how he loves.
He was a theologian. He was a teacher. He was a leader. He was a communicator. He was a healer.
But, more so than all of these, he was a lover.
There are many church stories of brilliant theologians. Many stories of men who had eloquent speech. Many who could lead or blog or gather a (social media) crowd. Honestly, how many times have you seen the Christian pastor introduced with the bio, “He took his church from 30 to 3,000”? So many stories.
But there are precious few stories of loving men or loving leaders.
Why? Does that kind of man go to church and we’re not seeing them? Or are we not seeing them because they’re not there?
- Why do you believe we esteem many characteristics of our leaders (even worthy ones like intelligence, musical ability, communication skills, etc.) more so than love?
- Do you have an example of a man or woman (see below) that has been for you an example of God’s love? Would you share their story?
Note: the decision to write this post directed to men was intentional. I do not view them as THE problem or the only problem. There are many women who are not known for love. They too need to be challenged to love God and others more deeply.
The decision was a stylistic one. I felt it flowed better this way than by addressing both genders simultaneously.
It also reveals a desire to lovingly confront Christian leaders, the majority of which is comprised of men, though not exclusively. I hope we can highlight this and be known for our love.