Look at 99% (maybe a 100%) of children's ministries and you will notice something.
Attend a children's ministry conference and you will notice the same thing.
There are significantly fewer men involved in children's ministry than women.
And to make it even more real...take a close look at the children's ministry you serve in. There are probably more women serving than men.
Why? There are several reasons.
Women are generally more religious than men. A survey by Pew Research revealed that 60% of women say religion is very important in their lives, compared to just 47% of men.
Women are the spiritual leaders in many homes. Many women have to set the spiritual pace in their home because their husband won't step up to be the spiritual leader. This is manifest at church as well.
More women than men attend church. Similar percentages are true in the number who are part of a church. 40% of women say they attend religious services at least once a week vs. 32% of men.
Men are sometimes more hindered by work. 70% of men work full time vs. a little over 50% of women. This causes men to not have as much available time to serve.
Women are generally more nurturing than men. Women give birth, usually play a primary role in child-rearing, care for children, etc. They are "mom." Enough said. Nurturing is a big part of children's ministry and thus appeals to women more than men.
Leadership roles in children's ministry are occupied more often by women. Reference back to the fact that more women attend children's ministry conferences. This is because there are more women leading in children's ministry. And female leadership naturally results in more female volunteers than male volunteers.
When it comes to working with children, this is mirrored in the culture as a whole. An example is teachers in schools. Teaching is an overwhelmingly female profession. More than 75% of all teachers in kindergarten through high school are women. In elementary and middle schools, over 80% of the teachers are women.
I am so thankful for all the women who serve in children's ministry. They are the driving force that makes it happen. We couldn't do children's ministry without them. They bring so many unique talents and gifts to the ministry. No one could take their place.
But we also need more men in children's ministry. Just like women bring unique gifts and talents to the ministry, so do men. And we need both to have a balanced volunteer team that impacts kids and families for Christ.
The big question...how do we get more men involved in children's ministry? Here are some ways you can see more men serving in your children's ministry.
Share the vision of the impact men can make. Men are wired just like everyone else. They want to make a difference. They want to know their time on earth mattered. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Rather than begging men to serve, which is counterproductive, invite them to an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of kids.
Here's an example. You have a lot of boys that come from single parent homes who need a good male role model in their life, so you'd like to find a man to be a boys' small group leader. Make the ask to not just a position (boys' small group leader), but to the opportunity to change the lives of a group of boys.
Make the ask not to just leading a group, but to leaving a legacy.
Make your ministry men-friendly. Is men-friendly a word? Not sure, but you know what I mean. In most people's minds, children's ministry is already considered to be more of a place for women to serve than for men.
And we add to this pre-conceived idea by making children's ministry appear too feminine for men. We give away tote bags, decorate tables with pretty flowers and use pink stationary. And then we wonder why men are hesitant to join our team.
Think about it like this. The average guy hates going to a baby shower or wedding shower. And normally they don't. When you make your ministry too feminine, it's like inviting a man to come to a baby shower or wedding shower. Probably not going to happen.
Consider using colors, words, decorations, etc. that are neutral and not overtly feminine. It will make a difference in getting men involved in your ministry.
Have the men who are currently serving invite other men to serve. Men can bring other men onto your team. They are the best recruiters to get other men serving in your children's ministry.
Challenge the men currently serving to invite other men to serve with them. Share video testimonies of men who are serving and the impact they are making.
Just think, if every man who is currently serving brought one more man to serve, it would double the number of men you have serving.
Place some men in leadership roles. Look at your key volunteer roles. Do you have men in any of these roles? If you want to attract more men to your ministry, then you need some men serving in roles that are highly visible.
The same is true if you have a children's ministry staff. Are there any men on your team? If you want to have a good number of male volunteers, then having some male staff members makes it easier to recruit them.
Create serving roles that men will be drawn to. Look at the serving roles you currently offer. Do any of them appeal to men? Most men are not going to want to serve in the nursery (fyi - most young couples would prefer to have females watching their baby in the nursery anyways).
Men like computers. Do you have any tech roles for men? Men like coaching. Do you have any small group roles for men? Men like safety and security. Do you have any safety and security roles for men? Men like gadgets. Do you have any roles for men operating the sound board? Men like to build things. Do you have any roles for men constructing props, stage sets, etc.?
The more serving roles you have that appeal to men, the more men you will see join your team.
Build bridges to your church's men's ministry. If you want to find men to serve in your children's ministry, then you must go where they are.
Think about how you can partner with the men's ministry. Can you serve at a men's event and have an info. table set up about children's ministry? Can you provide donuts for the men's Bible study class with invites to join you in children's ministry? Can you host a cookout for the men in your church and share with them the vision of impacting kids?
More than ever, we need men to serve in children's ministry. We need men to step up and make a difference in the lives of kids. We need men to be positive, godly role models for the fatherless boys who attend our churches. We need men to teach God's Word to boys. We need men to lead boys' small groups. We need men to lead worship and help 5th grade boys see it's cool to sing to God.
There are men sitting in your church. Some have beards and some do not. Some are grandfathers and some are college students. Some work in offices and some work in factories. Some drive pick-up trucks and some drive vans. Some like to golf and some like to fish. Some are outgoing and some are introverts. Some like to cook out and some like to eat out. Some watch ESPN and some watch shows about flipping houses.
As diverse and varied as they are, they all have one thing in common. They are men and they need to be serving in children's ministry. They are just waiting for you to ask them.
p.s. You can get more great ideas and proven insight into building a volunteer team in my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams." You can get it now at this link.