How to address the common hang-ups that keep single men off the mission field.
Consider this staggering reality in missions: Single missionary women outnumber single missionary men four to one, meaning more than 80% of all single missionaries are women.
Something is out of balance. We don’t need fewer women, we need more men!
Why we need more men in missions
With nearly two-thirds of all missionaries being women, what picture does this paint for the local people who are considering following Jesus? Does it look like Christianity is for women but not for men?
For the local men who do trust in Christ, who will disciple them? Female believers have a greater opportunity to be discipled because there are more female missionaries.
What’s keeping men from missions?
Here are the most common hindrances I’ve encountered as I talk with men about going into missions. To shift the statistics, we must address the heart issues and disciple young men toward God’s truth in these areas.
- Missions is a short-term trip, not a viable career
Many young men take a short-term trip, but they’ve not been challenged to consider serving overseas long term. They may have already chosen an alternate career path, or they may not think they won’t be able to provide financially for a future family.
- Parents aren’t talking to their sons about missions
Unless they’re missionaries themselves, most parents (even believers) don’t encourage their kids to consider becoming a missionary.
- The desire to be married
Many young men aren’t open to long-term singleness. Sometimes they’re even willing to forgo God’s leading to the nations to pursue a relationship with a woman who’s not interested in going.
- Compassion isn’t seen as manly
Men tend to think and act based on reason and logic. Our culture furthers this stereotype by exalting men’s “macho” side and mocking their emotional side.
- “I don’t want to raise support”
Even though raising support is biblical and comes with many perks, it’s a deal-breaker for many would-be missionaries (both men and women).
- The drive for success
How can we measure ministry effectiveness? What does it mean to be successful when we are not in control of the results? These are questions men in particular wrestle with.
- Sexual addiction
Studies show 77% of Christian men ages 18-30 looking at pornography at least monthly and 36% view pornography daily. Some ignore their addiction while others know they have a problem and exclude themselves from the potential to be healed and to be used by God.
- Dealing with doubt
If we believe fighting sin disqualifies us, we believe struggling with faith does, too. How can we share our faith when we’re not 100% sure ourselves?
- Fear of missing out
Our American culture idolizes fun and happiness. If it’s not easy and instantly gratifying (and missions is neither), we don’t want to put in the effort.
- Fear of rejection
The fear of rejection keeps men from pursuing relationships. Could the fear of rejection by an agency or their peers be keeping men from pursuing missions?
How to move forward
If you’re struggling with one of these issues, you’re not alone. But don’t stay be content to stay there.
Take a step of faith and pick one hang-up to start working on with a mentor and Jesus. He wants to walk with you to find victory so you can move forward with confidence.
Here are three questions to discuss with your mentor:
- How does this hang-up play out in your life?
- What is it keeping you from?
- What does God’s Word say, and how does his character influence this issue?