I mentioned in the last post that I did a very informal survey of a few people about men in missions. All of the responders are affiliated with the SBC; some work with the IMBand others work in collegiate ministry. I only had 6 responses, but here are the questions and a general overview of the answers:
1. In your area of work, do you see a trend in which one gender tens to respond to missions more than the other? If so, what is an estimated ratio?
- The consensus answer here was a 3:1 ratio of girls to guys involved in missions, both local and international.
2. If you have found that there is a certain trend, why do you personally think this is the case?
- This question brought out some of the most interesting answers. Here are some direct quotes:
- “If you look at career missionaries, the ratio of single women to single men is probably 7 or 8 to one. We have a long history of single women going as missionaries (ex. Lottie Moon) but very little model of single men. Another factor is that girls are often more sensitive to the needs, spiritual and physical, of the world.”
“My first thought is that the ladies among us are simply more sensitive to God and are more responsive to him. Guys are just a bit more interested in other things and are not as sensitive to his leading. They are looking to career, getting married, pressure to grow up and get started in life, etc.”
“Ministry minded men do have more opportunities for church/camp service (which pays more) and young men just may not be quite as mature at 18 or 19 than women are.”
“I think that perhaps girls are traditionally more sensitive to hearing God’s call and are more sensitive about most anything. Young men are interested in finding a good paying job after college and may not consider missions. Also, from being in leadership at our local church through women’s ministry, it seems that more women are actually involved in Bible study than men. This probably makes them more sensitive to hearing God’s call in many areas of their lives.”
“I attribute much of the “male absence” (as I like to call it) as a result of divorce. If our campus is like the rest of the U.S. over half of our students come from divorced homes. When parents divorce, the children usually end up with the mother. Thus, any male children grow up with little to no male influence in their lives. They grow up, instead, seeing female leadership in the home (not that it’s bad…in those homes, the mother has no choice but to lead). I believe that those guys 1) have no male role models who MODEL Christian leadership/Biblical manhood to them and 2) become accustomed to females filling in where males don’t step up and lead. Therefore, these young, impressionable male children grow into teenagers and college men who have become accustomed to females picking up the slack where men have been involved in the past (and are still needed), i.e. missions.”
3. What is it going to take to get more guys to rise up and answer the call to missions?
- “However, given the MBTI information, it may be that we’ve got to promote missions to men less on emotion for a hurting, lost humanity and more on logic and obedience to Christ’s commands.” (Note: this responder also talked about how on the Meyers-Briggs personality quiz, more women were “Feelers” than men.
“Ultimately, this is a spiritual situation…prayer for our young men to respond is needed. Examples of guys should be seen by our colleges/universities, etc. Mobilization with guys in mind would help. But, again, ultimately it needs to be an awakening to our call in the hearts and minds of guys as well as ladies as well as couples. This is a deep cultural and heart issue. There’s no quick fix or easy answer.”
“Mentorship/Discipleship with older men investing into younger men. One thing that I do see on our campus is a HUNGER in guys to learn how to lead, to learn how to be Godly men. However, there aren’t that many older men rising to the challenge to help them think about relationships, Biblical manhood, etc. The guys on our campus WANT IT, but, again, where are the older men and what will it take for them to realize that they have a captive audience in the younger men?”
“Not sure. Next year, we are going to try something new – a statewide retreat for men, where we are going to challenge them to serve in missions and to step up to the plate in being leaders for Christ. We’ll see if this has an impact or not.”
My personal comments to follow later . . . back to work.