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Church needs to take a different approach when dealing with men - Bishop

Published:Saturday | November 7, 2015 | 11:00 AMshanna kay monteith
Bishop Dr Alvin Bailey, senior pastor at the Portmore Holiness Christian Church.
We need to gear our programmes and the way we do things towards a male audience.
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You may have noticed that most churches have more female worshippers than men. But what seems to be the issue? Is it harder for men to accept Christ? Are women more grateful?

Bishop Dr Alvin Bailey, the senior pastor at the Portmore Holiness Christian Church, quickly dismissed such notions.

"The Church resembles society where the ratio of men to women is concerned. In church, schools, and other places where people come out of the society, we find that there are more women than men," he said.

Bailey told Family and Religion that, in addition to the gender composition of the society, there are more females in church because churches are often not predisposed to attract the males.

"Maybe this is so because the programmes are more feminine. Churches have to take a different approach when dealing with men. There has to be an affirmative action in how you conduct the Church's business, programmes and services in light of the over-presence of women."

According to him, the Church has to be sensitive to the fact that men are also in attendance, so the programmes need to reflect this.

"Even the songs they sing, the mode and tone aren't manly," said Bailey.

The senior pastor suggested the song Power of Your Love as an example of feminine worship.

"Just listen to the words, 'Hold me close, let your love surround me...' The ladies like to sing that and hug themselves. Now, we men don't relate to other men like that. And then, to have that image of Jesus Christ and say we are going to hold Him close and bring Him near to our side isn't ideal," he said.

But should sexuality be an issue when communicating with Christ?

"It is an issue in many respects. The fact that you refer to God as Him and, often, the image of tenderness and warmth is feminine, you can't get out of the battle of sexuality in the context of the Church," Bailey said, adding that churches should be more careful in how they manage it (sexuality).

Pointing out that women are more affectionate and men more assertive, the bishop said churches need to be more proactive in engaging the various sexes, especially men.

"Sometimes, the men who get attention in church are the dainty feminine-looking ones. We need to change the imagery. Also, the robes and gowns that men are being given to wear on choirs should stop," Bailey said, revealing that men sometimes refuse to be a part of the choir because of this.

He told Family and Religion that he would take offence to 'coming to the Lord' if the image of doing so is going to someone to be hugged. Instead, he believes that if he is called to go to someone who will work with him to build, then that would paint a more masculine and productive picture.

The pastor of two years has a solution.

"We need to gear our programmes and the way we do things towards a male audience. Males are task-and project-oriented, so churches can host various projects or domino and other sport tournaments instead of the many barbeques which have women cooking all the time.

You must also be careful about your balance of people in ministry. You can't be appointing a whole lot of women because this will marginalise men even more. The involvement of people in Church and church activities is important for healthy growth. If you want to attract other men, but every time they come they see "one bag of women" involved in the whole thing, then they may not opt to join, but if you have additional programmes geared towards them, then when they will see other men participating and they will want to get involved," he advised.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com