Book Review: Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow

Weak Theologically, Decent Practically

From the time I started this book, until the time I finished it – I read and reviewed 25 other books. I just couldn’t get into it at all. I think it’s because though the subject is important – Why do more women than men go and participate in church? I think the theological underpinnings of the book were so weak that the book just couldn’t hold my interest. I think he actually totally missed the point of why men don’t go to church, and it’s the same reason why women, or even teenagers don’t go to church – the Bible calls it “idolatry.”

In this book the author spends most of the time giving statistics, talking about the feminization of the church, and issues related to gender, masculinity, and men’s needs.

The book is one that I think most Christians or marketers could have written, and Murrow has capitalized on it. However, I don’t think that he has really given foundational solutions. The solution isn’t just about growing churches by giving men what they want; it’s focusing on the gospel and loving men by applying the gospel to men’s idolatries – what they really need. It’s offering what Jesus offered men and women in the New Testament – the abundant life in Him that’s better than anything the world has to offer. In other words, what difference does it make if you have a lot of men coming to church, but they aren’t being told to repent and have faith in Christ – change from the inside out. You don’t get men into church by feeding their idolatries, but by giving them the gospel and showing how Jesus is better than their idolatries.

On a positive note I do think Murrow gives some good practical suggestions and statistics to spark discussion among pastors or church staffs that are seeking to be effective in their outreach and discipleship of men. Over this book I would recommend the following books for men and reaching men: “Disciplines of a Godly Man” by R. Kent Hughes, “Tender Warrior” by Stu Weber, “No Man Left Behind” and “The Man in the Mirror” by Patrick Morley (anything by Morley on or for Men), “The Masculine Mandate” by Richard D. Phillips, or “Men of God” edited by Trevor Archer and Tim Thornborough.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I am under no compulsion to write a positive or negative review of this book. The opinions expressed are exclusively my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Author: lifecoach4God

I am the Lead Pastor of Marin Bible Church (Bay Area), born and raised in Huntington Beach, Ca., and currently living in Novato, California. I am married to my best friend of 30 years - Dana - and have five adult children; and seven grand children. I have been a Teaching Pastor for over thirty years. I was privileged to study at Multnomah University (B.S. - 1988); Talbot School of Theology (M.Div. - 1991); Westminster Theological Seminary & Northwest Graduate School (D. Min. - 2003). I founded Vertical Living Ministries in 2008 with the goal of encouraging Christian Disciples and Leaders to be more intentionally Christ-Centered in how they live by bringing glory to God in nine key areas of life: (1) Intimacy with God, (2) marriage, (3) family, (4) friendship, (5) vocationally/ministry , (6) emotional and physical health, (7) stewardship of resources, (8) discipleship, and (9) mentoring.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow”

  1. Thanks so much for this review. I appreciate it as the topic of how men from the ages of 21 to 34 or so are the lowest in numbers to attend church has come up in conversation in our circles. I would have been attracted to this book according to it’s title alone but am glad to hear your thoughts on it. I often go to the library to pick up books to read and find myself often startled by the fact that many titlesappear theologically sound only to read the back cover and find out it is completely off and I wonder to myself “why is this in the section for Christianity? This could completely mislead someone.” Keep the reviews coming!

  2. Hi Kim – I think a lot of Christian books are more external and moralistic in their approach by way of default. The more you study Biblical and Systematic Theology I think the more Christo-centric you are likely to become – because all of the Scriptures point to Jesus. The good news is that gospel centered literature is on the rise and many young writers are viewing all of life in a Christo-centric way – so that’s a good thing!

  3. Agreed that the reason most men do not attend church is because of idolatry same as it is with women and youths. Your review has not answered the question why the women and youths will quickly give up their idolatry than men. There is something that turns off the men from the church. That’s what David Murrow is trying to figure out and to prescribe some solutions. To say the book is theologically weak is not enough. What practical theological solutions do you prescribe to this problem of men hating the church? Theology should be used to give answers to questions and problems and not as a tool for mere criticism. In my opinion his book is a good attempt at seeing how we can win more men for Christ. Till we have something better, lets appreciate his efforts.

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