Why I don't go to the men's group

Today’s cartoon is entitled ‘Segregation‘, and is to do with men’s groups and ladies groups in churches. If you’d like to republish this cartoon info is here and the high resolution version is here. This cartoon, along with the other church ones I’ve posted this week, is from ‘The Exciting World of Churchgoing‘ – see…

Today’s cartoon is entitled ‘Segregation‘, and is to do with men’s groups and ladies groups in churches. If you’d like to republish this cartoon info is here and the high resolution version is here. This cartoon, along with the other church ones I’ve posted this week, is from ‘The Exciting World of Churchgoing‘ – see info about all of my books here. Actually, thinking about it, don’t publish this cartoon in your parish mag as it might upset someone.

So, men’s and women’s groups. I’m not really an enthusiast, as you may know by my countless posts on the subject over the years. Many of the social activities at my church are organised in such a way and I don’t go, preferring instead to go to a home group which is me plus mainly women. I went to the men’s group once, but didn’t feel like I belong. I don’t know why really. Maybe it is because I find football a bit dull.

On the other hand, perhaps if I had gone to a men’s group I would know and have talked to some men, which in hindsight might have been a good thing to do. Perhaps I might have avoided some of life’s pitfalls. Who knows.

I understand why churches run men’s groups, as they are a way of attracting men, and churches find that difficult. I suppose my argument is that if you want to run a ‘beer, curry and tractors’ evening then let women come along too. I know quite a few women who love beer, curry and tractors.

12 Comments

  1. What the cartoon shows is two women’s groups, one with men in and one with women.

    Men are made differently to women and in general need different things to make them come alive. Perhaps you didn’t enjoy the men’s group but don’t deny the opportunity to those men who need one.

    Real life experience is that if you have a woman in a group of men then the whole group changes, men do not get real with each other – who would talk about their pornography addiction with a woman present.

    1. Minimalist Christian,

      Thanks for your comment. I’d be the first to admit that I could be wrong on this.

      I don’t understand what you mean when you say ‘What the cartoon shows is two women’s groups, one with men in and one with women’.

      I take your point about talking about personal subjects with people you feel comfortable talking about them with, and I think that that is a very good idea. Though can men only talk to men? I suppose I’m talking about the fairly large percentage of time when one isn’t talking about personal subjects.

  2. Hi

    I’m really loving the stuff you’re putting out at the moment. It questions the status quo a little bit and as far as I’m concerned that’s a good thing.

    Minimalist Christian, women can have problems with Porn too, I think the kind of groups where men need to talk about their own experiences need to be smaller than these groups with a largely social aim.

    I absolutely agree, segregation should be a natural thing, not an enforced thing. Here is an event, if you want to come, come, if you don’t want to then maybe the next one will be better for you.

    But maybe I can agree with you more because I’m not into football… 🙂

  3. I agree that the cartoon shows 2 womens groups, in that the forum of a medium sized group being spoken to then a discussion following is the way women find useful and can open up.

    Women get together, then chat.
    Men do stuff together, then chat, normally in much smaller groups – Big difference.

    A mens ministry should concentrate more on activities that men love doing, so they can get to know each other really well – then they’ll have the friendships and trust needed to open up and discuss in a less formal way.

  4. To show the age profile of the typical mens group I heard a comment about them. They start every meeting with a 10 minute organ recital. For 10 minutes they talk about thier organs:-)

  5. chris – i know one such group! 😀
    my husband is the Organist, and he goes to meetings of the local Organists’ Association.
    They spend most of their meetings playing with their organs (all over the country!) and then talking about them. and then comparing photos of their organs over tea and sandwiches.

  6. There are men’s groups and men’s groups. Some overdo the testosterone and think everyone is only happy if wrestling with bears, setting light to things and comparing tattoos. Others are more thoughtful and try to get men to talk about stuff which normally ends up with people saying what they think you’re meant to say if you’re a sound Christian, rather than what they actually think, which can be a bit off the wall.
    I’d agree with David that men’s groups that DO stuff tend to work better, although if they major on tricky DIY stuff assuming all blokes like power tools and knocking walls down, then I won’t be going. That said, I do like football and beer.
    There’s no pleasing some people. We’re all just a bit awkward and thank God we are, or the world would be rather dull.

  7. I was being a little harsh saying they were both women’s groups – sorry about that.

    What I mean is that many men don’t respond well to sitting in rows listening to a speaker behind a lecturn. They respond well to a challenging environment, being able to debate with a speaker interactively rather than passively listening, perhaps debating round a table, perhaps round a campfire. The format in the cartoon is not one that men thrive in, but I suspect is more suitable for women.

    I would advocate a mix of single sex and mixed meetings, there is no one size fits all.

    The best men’s group I was in was completely voluntary and met at 7.00am on Saturday mornings. We had a great time and knew that everyone there wanted to be there.

  8. Interesting comments. I was very cross when I couldnt go to the Men’s Breakfast to hear an excellent speaker who I particularly wanted to listen to.

    However, I have been to a men’s group, as a speaker, in a job I had about 15 or so years ago. They were kind and welcoming, but I was then rather shyer than I am now, and when is discovered that during the act of worship at the beginning we had to pray with the person next to us, I was terrified. They didn’t do that in the church I was in then!

  9. There are the two extremes. In one church I was in years ago there was a men’s group which was careful to advertise “all our meetings are open to the ladies of the church”. So why not call it a people’s group?

    The other extreme, which concerns me as well, are churches which don’t advertise men’s groups but “blokes’ groups”. I don’t like football, don’t like fast cars, don’t like pubs, but like reading, history, politics and science- I don’t self-identify as a bloke, and so if there is an event advertised as being for blokes, I know it’s not for me.

    If we want to talk about “inclusive language” then the term “men” should be adequate for describing men, rather than terms that refer to a subset of men. And in case anyone thinks I’m being snobbish in not referring to myself as a bloke, I hate the term “chaps” being used to describe men as it excludes working-class men.

    I worry when in some quarters there is the message that Jesus was a bloke who chose 12 blokey blokes as His disciples, and the emphasis on Christian men being blokes into blokey-bloke-bloke stuff. It takes a view of masculinity that comes from the world rather than the Bible, IMHO.

  10. I don’t like the tone of calling both groups “women’s groups” as if this is a bad thing. Men’s groups organise themselves, don’t they? So they can organise themselves however they like.

    What pisses me off is that men’s groups always arrange activities that I like, for example drinking beer, cooking sausages, playing poker … I absolutely hate single sex groups, they exclude rather than include!

    1. ‘I don’t like the tone of calling both groups “women’s groups” as if this is a bad thing. ‘

      Absolutely. The poster lost the argument at that point.

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