Mike Stewart, serving in Urbana, Ohio, asks:
Do you agree with the idea that many of the choruses we sing today are offensive to men and are feminine love songs that men don’t relate to? If so, where can I find more ‘man-friendly’ music for our worship services?
RICK MUCHOW: Certainly, there is an issue with men getting involved in the church today. I don’t know that I would draw that strong of a conclusion about music in today’s church. My answer to that question puts the focus on knowing your audience rather than on critiquing music as a whole.
It is very important to know your audience. Not all men have the same taste in music and art. However, they may have strong opinions on what they like and don’t like. I would be very cautious to categorize all men into one category. Stereotypes like all or most men don’t like to talk, or all or most women talk a lot are just untrue.
I want to encourage you to avoid blanket stereotypes and instead research and discover the unique make up of the men in your audience. There is no such thing as one-song-fits-all, or for that matter, one communication style fits all: all men or all people. I do think that the presentation style is as important as the song selection. Man-friendly music would depend on what man you are leading in worship.
The best way to serve your church is to know your pastor’s philosophy of ministry. Ask your pastor to look at your song list and to select songs that he feels are appropriate for your congregation. A safe way to choose songs is to ask the pastor for song ideas. Every pastor that I have worked with has had their unique style, vision, and musical preference. It’s best when you can complement the philosophy of ministry of your senior pastor.
I think it’s true that your music will set the tone for who you will reach in your church services. The encouraging part of this is that every church has its own personality. Generally speaking, you will reach people who are like you: people who look like you, are similar in age to you, and with whom you have things in common. The good news is that God created you uniquely. Your church is unique. There’s no one else like you and your senior pastor. Your ministry is uniquely your own. Your combination of talents and gifts is unique together. No one else can minister just like you.
There are churches who are gearing their services to intentionally target the men in their area. Saddleback is one. Another church that I think is doing a fantastic job with this strategy is Central Church of the Valley in Peoria, Arizona. Well worth a visit!!
As we seek to reach those God has given us to reach, I am consistently reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV) “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.”