THE Church of Scotland is planning to tackle a gender imbalance amongst Christians by hosting a “men only day.”
The Kirk will pilot a male-only day in Edinburgh later this year featuring a hog roast, rubber dart guns, and talks about internet pornography, social media and online gambling.
Almost two million fewer men than women in Britain claim to be Christian and recently released statistics show that at the current rate of loss, men could be completely absent from UK churches by 2030.
The Church of Scotland event, which will be held in Edinburgh’s Barclay Viewforth Church in March, promises to “tool up” men and give them the confidence to proclaim their Christian views.
The announcement comes after statistics published by Christian Vision for Men – an outreach charity which introduces men to Christianity – showed that only 33% of men feel comfortable in church, whilst 50% would feel comfortable in a women’s underwear shop.
Murdo Macdonald, policy officer for the Church of Scotland’s science, religion and technology project, said the problem could not be ignored.
He said: “We don’t have to spend long in many of our churches up and down the country to realise that in many congregations there are a lot more women than there are men.
“Perhaps standing in rows and singing is OK at a football or rugby stadium on a Saturday afternoon, but not at 11am on a Sunday morning? The reasons are no doubt many and complex.
“However, the question for the church is: how do we address this imbalance?”
Speaking about the event in March, Dr Macdonald said: “We have lined up some great speakers to speak about a whole variety of subjects, some of which we don’t hear too much about in the church.
“Whilst dealing with some serious topics there will be plenty of fun as the speakers avoid running over time and being fired upon by Nerf guns.
“The event will give us the opportunity to explore a number of issues relevant to our Christian faith in a more relaxed and informal setting than you might find in church.”
The event is being organised in collaboration with the Christian Vision for Men charity.
Christian Vision for Men state on their website: “A few years ago, Sorted magazine did a street survey, the results showing that in the main, men think Christianity is for wimps, for women and irrelevant.
“If trends continue, men will have all but left the church by 2030. 75% of men in the UK are antagonistic or apathetic towards church. On average it takes 5 years and 30 hearings of the gospel before a man gives his life to Christ.”
Stephen McGuire, the charity’s Scotland Director, added: “The day will be informative, fun, relevant and, we believe, life changing.
“The content is created to inspire men in their walk with Jesus, to share that journey with their mates with more confidence and tool them up to stand as men of God.”