Thursday, 12 March 2009

Where are the men?

OK, so there's loads of rubbish written about Christian masculinity (which says masculine = macho) and about men in church. The CUs that I work with are broadly representative of their campuses in terms of gender.

But one thing I am noticing is that - with a few notable exceptions - the students that are willing to hang their lives on discipleship to Jesus, and those who are willing to take real risks for the gospel, are female. This is particularly noticeable amongst first year students. Those who lead - in other words, those who lead by example - in sacrificial and radical discipleship, are almost all women. There seem to be lots of boys about but not many men.

No doubt part of this is to do with processes of maturity. I remember reading a few years ago that females mature more quickly than males. But it would seem to me from my perspective that there's a broader trend. Christian youth groups and festivals are good at keeping boys involved, but aren't encouraging them to take responsibility and to own their Christian discipleship for themselves. Why is this the case? Why is it that female students are much more likely to volunteer for summer teams? Why is it that those who are willing to count costs of friendship and reputation are women?

Where are the men?


Dave K said...

Good question. Although I think the main issue is being later to mature in general rather than anything else.

Young men are lazy.

Stanton said...

Funnily enough it hasn't been my experience on the whole in CUs. I definitely think that male immaturity and female immaturity take different forms. I'm also with you on the Summer teams thing.

I think a lot has to do with relational-orientation versus task-orientation and the kinds of opportunities we offer. Do you have any answers to your own question Pete?

peterdray said...

Sure, I realise that this is all just based on anecdote. And Stanton I'm with you and different kinds of immaturity.

Having chatted to a few male Christian students, it's very obvious that very few have had to take any form of leadership or responsibility at all in their youth groups. I wonder if they are arriving at uni still expecting to be spoon-fed and therefore not very up for taking a lead themselves. Happily I've seen some male Christians step up and thrive (and it's interesting that Relay has year on year had a pretty much 50-50 split between men and women).

But what do you think?