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Surprising, Great News about Real Christian Men


Did you know that statistics say real Christian men are the most loving husbands, most engaged fathers, and most happy and satisfied men?  

I didn’t.

To be honest, statistics about Christians have usually discouraged me. For example, we’ve heard for years that rates of divorce and domestic violence among Christian men were about the same as non-Christian men. That combined with the common cultural narrative that Christian masculinity is most likely to be “toxic masculinity” has been discouraging.

But is it true? Recent research shows that it’s not. There is surprising, great news about real Christian men.

In her new book, The Toxic War on Masculinity, Nancy R. Pearcey sheds light on this surprising truth. Her work is based on a comprehensive study by Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, director of the National Marriage Project, and senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. His research has been featured in academic journals as well as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, and NPR.

What we learn from Wilcox’s study is that our statistics about Christian men have been incredibly skewed. That’s because most of the statistics have included nominal Christian men.

Nominal means “in name only” and is defined as someone who identifies as a Christian because of family tradition or cultural background but who attends church only sporadically, if at all. In his research, Wilcox has been able to separate out nominal Christians from actively involved Christian men (defined as attending church at least three times a month).

Although the studies have shown that nominal Christian men really do fit the negative stereotypes (even shockingly so!), the statistics about actively involved Christian men shatter the toxic masculinity narrative and are incredibly encouraging.

This is what we should expect based on Jesus’s promise: “if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

As the context of John 15 makes clear, “remaining in Jesus” is the farthest thing from nominal Christianity. “Remaining” means thinking of ourselves and living as disciples – active followers of Jesus – who are also in vital relationships with other disciples who are also following him.

Here is a brief summary of the highlights of Wilcox’s research about actively involved Christian men: 

  • Actively involved Christian men are the least likely to divorce and the least likely to cheat on their wives.
  • Actively involved Christian men have the happiest wives in America.

These wives report higher levels of quality couple time, are more likely to feel appreciated for their work (in the home and outside the home), and report having greater sexual satisfaction.

  • Actively involved Christian men are the least likely to commit domestic abuse and violence. They are even the least likely to yell at their children.
  • Actively involved Christian men are the most likely to be warm and affectionate with their children and to engage in one-to-one conversations with them.

They spend more time in activities with their children and are the most likely to be active disciplinarians who supervise homework, set good boundaries, and give consequences when needed.

  • Actively involved Christian men are the most likely to report being “very happy” in their marriages and the most likely to experience marital stability. They are fully four times as likely to report being sexually satisfied.

What does all this mean for us as a church? 

  1. We should be incredibly encouraged at the power of the gospel to change men’s lives.

Don’t believe the cultural narrative when it comes to real Christian men. The statistics show that when men are actively involved in Christianity it has a profoundly positive influence on their lives, but not just their lives – the lives of their wives, their children, their communities.

Be encouraged that real Christian men are truly good men! This means that we can confidently invite men to take steps to grow in their faith and be more involved in our church knowing that it is the very best thing for them and their family, both now and for eternity.

  1. Men should want to become more actively involved in their faith because it will make them better men.

The things that men long for the most – to be truly good men who make an impact for good on those around them and leave a lasting legacy of love – become true to the degree that they actively follow Jesus alongside others who are following Jesus.

  1. Men need opportunities to connect with other men at church.

Pearcey asserts that if men are to be truly changed by the gospel, “men need opportunities to form authentic male friendships, especially in the church” (p.244). Just as Jesus called men into a band of brothers – disciples who were learning to follow Jesus together in the context of real friendships with other men – so should we!

We invite men to be part of our studies and groups because we want them to experience the life-changing meaning, purpose, and joy that comes through a deep relationship with Jesus and other men.

Are you ready to take the next step?

If you are interested in growing as an actively involved Christian man, please consider signing up for our 3-week Men’s Study: Better Man.

In this video study led by Crossing Pastors Shay Roush and Kermit Summerall, former NFL player and pastor Derwin Gray shows how Christianity makes us better men in three key roles of a man’s life (disciple, husband, father).

Also consider building your relationship with Jesus and other men at Crossing Men’s first-ever Fall Getaway at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. This overnight event includes teaching by Dr. Dan Doriani, worship, and plenty of time to connect with other men in discussion groups and time around the campfire.

Explore the Crossing Men’s webpage to find out about all the latest events, opportunities to get involved, and recommended resources.