Take a look at your ministry to see if it has a predominantly male
or female flavor. Little things make a significant impact on how a
ministry is viewed. We've reprinted the children's ministries
letterhead-forever rejecting the previously pink stationery! When
referring to children's teachers in print or from the pulpit, we
deliberately choose masculine pronouns. Most importantly, we
highlight male workers through testimonies and newsletter articles
3. We show men their unique role in the
Children need to see men in the classroom. Too many of our
children have no adult male role model at home. In one church we
served in, as many as 80 percent of the children came from
single-parent homes-most of those had absent fathers.
Even for students who live with both parents, male role models add
something special to the classroom. Discipline problems are reduced
when a man is present in a children's class. A male teacher
provides a healthy balance to his nurturing female counterpart when
he helps the child explore and take risks.
The absence of men in most children's ministries communicates a
message we don't want to pass on. It's a hidden curriculum that
subtly teaches children that Christianity is women's business.
Little girls are subconsciously programmed to believe that few men
are truly capable of being spiritual leaders. And little boys leave
Sunday school subtly convinced that real men rarely get involved in
church and are almost never excited about God.
4. We encourage men.
Unknowingly, competent women leaders can frighten off male
volunteers. Many men are insecure about working with children. And
some men are intimidated by naturally nurturing women who work
alongside them in the classroom. Men are competitors who all too
often avoid situations where they feel inadequate or inferior. So
we encourage an atmosphere that isn't demeaning.
Shortly after our daughter was born, Gordon fed her a bottle in
the church nursery. One of the nursery workers joked about his
awkwardness in burping the baby. It took a few weeks before he was
willing to feed her in the nursery again! If one careless remark
can intimidate the children's pastor, think of the damage
insensitivity can do to well-meaning novices.
Male volunteers need extra doses of affirmation because they're
treading in unknown waters. Men need to know they're accepted and
valued-especially by other men in the ministry. Recently, when
asked why he continued to be active in children's ministries, one
veteran leader in our program responded, "Because the children's
pastor told me I'm good."