Time to ‘Man Up!’

RobDevotions

Giraffe-lgI’m really sticking myself out there on this one, but I’ve felt a burden to reach out with all I’ve got to the husbands, fathers, and single men of Southbrook for Jesus Christ.

Some of you might remember a post that I did not too long ago in which Barna (check here as well) did a study on influence and church involvement. Put another way, he did a study to determine who in the family had the greatest influence in getting the entire family going to church and committing to a church. You might think it would be fairly even across the board, or even that “Mom” would have the greatest influence since we all know that,

“If Momma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

While I wholeheartedly agree with that , the study showed the opposite on this one. In fact, this study has been done time and time again and in multiple countries with the same results. Take a look at the following, I know it’s long, but it is well worth the time!

Swiss study

In 1994, a study was conducted in Switzerland by researchers Werner Haug and Phillipe Warner of Switzerland’s Statistics office to determine what factors paved the way for the successful transference of the parent’s faith to the next generation — specifically measured by church attendance. These numbers were calculated from the Swiss census which tracked various aspects of Swiss life including religious.

What Haug and Warner discovered was absolutely startling. One of the most important factors affecting a child’s future church attendance as an adult was their father’s attendance.

 

Here is what the study showed:

Not surprisingly, in families where neither parent attended church, only 4% of their children became regular attendees, 15% were classified as irregular attendees and over 80% did not attend at all.

The numbers improved when the mother attended church regularly and the father not at all. In these families, 2% of their children went on to attend services regularly, 37% attended irregularly and 61% not at all. It showed that the mother’s faithful attendance had a positive influence on future church attendance by her children.

The father’s impact

However, the study showed that the biggest influence on a child’s future church attendance — either regularly or irregularly — was the father’s church attendance. Not surprisingly, the level of the father’s faithfulness in church attendance was also a factor.

There was a dramatic increase in regular church attendance, when both dad and mom attended church on a regular basis. In these families, 33% of their children attend regularly, 41% irregularly and 26% did not attend at all. When dad was an irregular attendee and the mother regular, 3% of the children were regular church attendees, 59% irregular and 38% did not attend at all.

However, one of the most stunning statistics showed up in when the father was more faithful in church attendance than the mother. In homes where the father was a regular church attendee and the mother irregular, 38% of the children went on to regularly attend church, 44% attended irregularly and 18% did not attend at all. Incredibly, a child’s future church attendance was better in this type of family than in those where both parents regularly attended.

Even when the father attended church irregularly and the mother didn’t at all, 25% of the children went on to attend church regularly, 23% irregularly and 52% not at all. This compared to families where mothers attended regularly and the father not at all where the numbers were 2%, 37% and 61% respectively.

For some reason the father’s influence in the spiritual development of the family was strengthened by the mother’s indifference. It is difficult to understand why. But let me suggest this possibility. If children are looking to their fathers for spiritual guidance, in families where the father attended church — despite their mother’s indifference — it proved the sincerity of the father’s faith. This may also suggest that in situations where both mother and father are regular church attendees, the father may be attending because of the mother’s influence, a fact being picked up by the children.

 

Commenting on this study, Anglican Vicar Robbie Low says, “when the child begins to move into that differentiation from home and engagement with the world out there, he (and she) looks increasingly to the father for that role model.”

So where does this lead me? Well, I am putting out a call to all Southbrook men (Husbands, Fathers, Single Men) to join me for men’s leadership training. Though I do not have all the details now, I want to start by seeing what level of interest there is out there (though that will not be the determining factor — I believe we need to do this even if only 10 guys show up). Most likely this will be a 1 hour, early morning deal that I lead one day at the beginning of each month. The exact time and location are not decided as of yet, but I am looking to start at the beginning of February.

Oh, and one more very important thing. This will not be for wishy washy, mediocre, half hearted, partially committed men. I’m serious as a heart attack about this. Please only respond if you are too.

With that said, if you are interested in taking charge of your life, becoming the spiritual leader in your home, a better husband, more godly role model, better father, etc… leave a comment on this post. Over the next week or so I will link back to this in all my posts so that those interested are not scattered all over various blog posts.

Simple, right?

Guys? It’s time for men to be men. We need to lead the way in a culture increasingly losing theirs!

Who’s with me?