How Can We Solve the Man Problem in the Church?

This is a guest post by Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror, one of the bestselling men’s books of all time. I had the privilege of publishing that book in 1989 and even came up with the title. For more than 20 years, Pat has led a successful men’s ministry called Man in the Mirror. It is committed to helping pastors and churches equip men for success in every area of life. And now, MITM is hiring. Please help us get the word out!

Everyone knows we have a “men problem.” You can hear about it on CNN, read about it in the New York Times, and watch the destruction it creates on Dr. Phil.

The stats are jarring. For example, 80 percent of men are so emotionally impaired that not only are they unable to express their feelings, but they can’t even identify their feelings. The collateral damage is staggering. One-third of America’s 72 million children will go to bed tonight in a home without a biological dad.

But perhaps the greatest cost to the physical absence of dads is the practical absence of moms. Essentially, one person must now do the work of two. A young woman said, “When my mom and dad divorced, I didn’t just lose my dad. I lost my mom, too, because she had to work long hours to support us.”

There’s a story in the social sciences about a villager who went down to the river one day to get water. He saw a drowning baby floating by and rescued him. The next day the villager went back and rescued two babies, the next day four. The villager recruited others to help, and soon all the villagers spent every day rescuing drowning babies from the river. But no one ever asked, “Why are the babies in the river?”

We have lots of ministries and social programs that deal with the consequences of men failing—teenage crisis pregnancy centers, prison ministries, and rehab programs. Of course, we’ll always need pregnancy centers and prison ministries. But wouldn’t it be great if we could go upstream and devote some resources to help men get it right before there were “babies in the river?” Cancer treatments are essential, but how much better to prevent cancer in the first place?

How do we solve the men problem? I thank God that forty years ago a few men in my church saw a young husband and father who desperately needed to be discipled—and took action. I will be forever grateful.

We know there are men in churches all across this country who are also passionate about discipling men. But they need help. That’s why Man in the Mirror has created the exclusive position of Area Director to help churches in their communities more effectively disciple men. How?

We’re hiring 330 Area Directors between now and the end of 2012—one for every 1,000 churches.

Are you, or do you know someone, who would make a great Area Director? You can learn more here. And please help us get the word out: Man in the Mirror is hiring!

Question: What would a Man in the Mirror area director make possible for your community? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • chris vonada

    great timely topic Michael! I just received “Why men hate going to church” from Booksneeze yesterday. Trying and better understand. Man In The Mirror looks very relevant to our world today, we need this!!

    • Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for the book suggestion Chris! I need to look into that.

  • John Richardson

    Just walk through any Christian Bookstore, peruse the titles, and you’ll quickly see we have a Men problem in the church. This is a much needed ministry. I know a couple of guys who would be perfect for the Area Director position. I’ll pass on the information.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great. Thanks, John.

    • Patrick Morley

      Thanks John….

    • Patrick Morley

      Thanks John!

  • Anonymous

    This is really needed. I am a youth and family minister and I see the direct results of this absence on families every single day in our church. When you really step back and look at the problem it seems over wheeling. Man in the Mirror sounds like it will be a great start. Men really need to step up. God has given us the responsibility to lead our family, and we lead them the wrong direction by not leading at all.

  • Byron Underwood

    Men need other men who they can compete against, pal around with, and learn from. Intentional men must stand up in their communities to help raise other men. Paradox exists with this. They’re at homes with their families!

  • Shannan Parker

    Thank you for this!  I will be praying for this ministry.  If we as women truly want to have our hearts’ desire met, then we must pray for our earthly family structure to be strong and healthy.

    Before my husband was killed in 2006, I prayed for God to allow me to see him for the godly man he was.  What a beautiful change in me, in our marriage, and I witnessed a strength and courage rise in him also.  I was able to stand and speak at his funeral with no regrets – other than having to say goodbye so soon.

    a world that buys into the lie that marriage is not a big deal or
    necessary any longer, this ministry outreach is powerful!  If relationships were not important
    for us God would not have established the family to begin with.  If we could get free from the emotional lock-up and
    start living godly lives and raising godly children maybe we would have a
    godly nation again….God Bless You!

    • Patrick Morley

      Shannan, I’m sorry for you loss. And thanks for your encouragement. This is definitely a cause we can win….we see men deciding to change their lives every day.

  • VirgilDeFlame

    We do not have a “man” problem. The assumption that we do is just an expression of the pervasive misandry in this culture.

    The stats you cite are not evidence of men alone failing. The massive changes that those stats reflect are mostly the result of feminism. Our culture has encouraged women to usurp from men the positions of leadership, provision and protection for which we were made.

    • Jerry Godsey

      Virgil, we absolutely have a man problem. I work in law enforcement, so I see it every day at work. Feminism certainly changed the landscape of our culture, but that is not what caused men to give up their parental duties or God-given responsibilities. It is time for us to raise men in our churches who will be the man no matter what anyone else says.

      • VirgilDeFlame


        You admit feminism “changed the landscape of our culture” but you think somehow the way men behave is independent of the culture the work, live and grow up in?

        We live in a culture that hates men, Jerry. The cultural shift you are talking about is one in which men have been demonized and made the villains of history.  Why should men “man up” when the only payoff for doing so is further demonization? 

        • Jerry Godsey

          I’m not saying that we’re not affected, Virgil. What I’m saying is that we can’t allow today’s culture to keep us from being the men God called us to be. All through history men have been threatened, coerced and pressured to compromise and to lay down and take it. However, God has always promised us, and come through on that promise, to keep us if we will follow him and disregard what the world tells us is “right.”
          I will also say that I believe that in many ways feminism was a response to men not following God’s pattern for men and their behavior. Women had to step up and become leaders when they saw men abdicating their leadership role so that they could stay boys. When my father left me I was thrust into a leadership role as “the man of the house” at age 8. I wasn’t ready for that role, but I had to take it on because my father couldn’t or wouldn’t respect the vows he had made to my mom and to me.
          Now we see so many roles in the church today being taken by women because churches can’t get men to stand up. Where are the the men who will teach preschool Sunday School or Children’s Church? Where are the godly men in our churches who will be men of prayer or serve in the trenches?
          Men should “man up” for the same reason men have always “manned up:” it’s the right thing to do, and God commands it.

          • VirgilDeFlame


            If what you mean by “man up” is simply “do the right thing” why aren’t women told to “woman up” and do the right thing as well.  Men were made to lead spiritually and in every other way. When they don’t do that, we are said to have a “man problem.”

            Women were made to help, follow and submit. Yet, when they refuse to do that they are applauded. 

             Why then isn’t Michael writing blog posts about the church’s “woman problem?” Why isn’t he complaining about the selfish, grasping, rebellious women who dominate so many churches today?

            I’ll tell you why. It’s because if he did the Christian blog-o-sphere would explode with anger because evangelicals as much as anyone else have absorbed the feminist message that women are good and men are always evil.

          • Timothy Fish

            In part, I agree with you; I’ve said before that if a woman really wants her husband to be the man God has called him to be that she can help by stepping back and giving him the opportunity to fail. But the fact is that if the men were taking on the leadership as God intends, there wouldn’t be as much need for the women to be told to do the right thing.

          • Timothy Fish

            Jerry Godsey,

            If you feel called to work in preschool Sunday School and Children’s Church, more power to you. I know that some men are, but I hardly think men taking on that role is the touchstone that will determine whether a church has a man problem or not. A more important question is whether men have the primary leadership roles in the leadership of the church and the adult small groups.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Hates men? Can you provide some evidence for this assertion? I certainly don’t see this in my circles.

        • Timothy Fish

          I think we can say that we live in a culture that hates both men and women. Just look at the television ads. Men are always portrayed as the village idiot, with Mom being the voice of wisdom. But then you see the beer commercials. The man is still the village, but a village idiot with sex slaves hanging off both arms.

    • Dick Powell

      Amen & Amen!

  • Adam Lofquist

    Great article I love the idea behind it. What a way to change the world.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Men face an interesting challenge in the church. Take the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day sermons. Mother’s Day sermons are usually about Mary or other women in the Bible, and they praise the hard working and self-sacrificing mothers for their hard work.

    Many Father’s Day messages I’ve sat through amount to little more than chewing those of us in the pews out for everything the deadbeat dads in society do. Yeah, great incentive to show up. I stay with my wife and provide for my family, and get my butt chewed anyway. Glad I’m not doing it for the pastor. That or Father’s Day is ignored entirely. 

    When I first became a believer, I often wished somebody had time to disciple me. You know, spend time with me, let me watch how an older and wiser man treats his wife and children, how he responds to life’s annoyances. I was pretty much left to figure things out for myself. I make an attempt when I can to provide discipleship to younger men. Nobody should be left to figure things out for himself.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is a great point about the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Wow.

    • Dan Butcher

      Eric, you’re right. And it goes beyond these services you describe to a general attitude of “we have to make sure men are told to act right.” So a preacher makes a point that clearly applies to wives in the majority of cases, and instead of letting it stand for what it, he adds a quick disclaimer–“and of course, husbands, you may be guilty of this sort of thing too.” Men are never off the hook, but it seems that women are rarely spoken to pointedly about their issues as wives and mothers. It’s  enough to make you want to get up and walk out some times.

      • David Delk

        Great points. Christianity is not first of all about behavior modification but about heart transformation. Guys aren’t changed by the law, they are transformed by the grace of Christ in the gospel.

        Beating men up may make some people feel good but it doesn’t really help anything. We need surrendered men who are willing to worship Christ alone and live for His glory – and that comes at the foot of the cross.

      • Eric S. Mueller

        Dan, sometimes I wonder if it’s just the way preachers are socialized. I’ve met some truly gifted preachers, but many of them pick up similar affectations. I wonder if this is just one of them.

        I listen to several sermons through podcasts, and I start to get annoyed when preachers feel compelled to raise and lower their voices constantly. It makes it very difficult to listen to them through headphones. First they’re the voice of God, then immediately a still, small whisper. By the time I get my volume turned back up to hear the whisper, here comes the voice of God again, hurting my ears. I start bringing the volume back down, then comes the whisper again.

        I wonder if preaching to men is just a cultural affectation preachers pick up through their schooling or conferences, or talking to each other? I’ve often wished, just once, the women could be admonished, if nothing else just to make it fair.

        • Dan Butcher

          I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I suspect you are right–though I imagine it’s more caught than taught. All the preachers/pastors I’ve known listen to other sermons on their day off to be fed spiritually, so they hear their mentors admonishing the men, and they follow the pattern. 

          Add that kind of modeling with our culture of male bashing (that other commenters have noted), and we have a recipe for men at church feeling like they constantly have something else to work on.

          Several years ago, a friend and I led a group through the Love and Respect video curriculum. Eggerichs does a great job of keeping a balance, and I don’t think he bashes men at all. But my friend pointed out that the teaching addresses men first, then women, so he said we should switch it up, let the women hear about their need to respect their husbands. We did the videos out of order, and I think it was a really affirming thing for the men. Some of them didn’t want to be there, because they (reasonably) expected that it was going to be 10 weeks or so of “here’s what you’re doing wrong to make your wife unhappy.” Hearing teaching aimed at their wives for a change put the men at ease, and they were much more receptive when the time came for the teaching for husbands.

    • Ron



      I can’t agree with you enough.  When I saw the title of this post, I
      bristled.  I’m a good dad and
      husband.  Not perfect, mind you, but better
      than most, I think.  Despite working 50+ hours
      a week at 2 jobs, I make quality, substantial time for my family every single
      day. I pray with my kids and put them to bed every night.  I help my wife and support her.  And I associate with other guys who I think
      are good dads.  They make time for their
      kids, love their wives, are involved in their churches, etc.  So I get tired of hearing about how bad we’re
      doing as men in the church when I look around and I see so many good examples around me. 


      While our kids were still young enough not to know the
      difference, I refused to go to church on fathers day because I too got tired of
      being chewed out for all of society’s woes when I’m in fact doing the things I’m
      supposed to be doing, as were many of the men around me. 


      In the big picture, do we have a man problem in our churches?  Maybe we do, but I’ll be honest.  In the churches I have attended, I don’t see
      the problem being nearly as bad as I’m told it is.  I do see a big problem outside the church,
      such as in my neighborhood, among my coworkers, etc.  But frankly, I think the church I attend has
      some fine men who I respect and admire and are doing a great job.  I wish that were recognized more instead of
      continually being told how we’re not cutting it.

      • Patrick Morley

        Ron, I thank God for your good experiences as a loving husband and father. A man is a noble thing. We are the ones who say, “Women and children on the lifeboats first.” And I agree that in some churches men get beat up (I’ve written about it myself). However, as a person in the men’s discipleship world for 25 years, I can assure you that the majority of men in churches are leading lukewarm, often defeated lives–and they hate it! I believe our ministry, and ministries like ours, exists because of the grandmothers, mothers, and wives who for decades have been praying for the men in their lives.

        • Ron

          Thank you for your response to my comment!  My dad, now a pastor, was a district men’s leader for the Assemblies of God for 10 years in the mid 90’s and mid 00’s, so you might say I’ve been ‘overexposed’ to this kind of stuff.  (He loved your book by the way.)  I come from a slightly younger generation (I’m 37) than those who started attending the Promise Keepers events in the early 90’s and I do think that things are getting better in the church. Many of us have learned from the mistakes of our own parents.  My experiences growing up and hearing about my dad’s regrets after I, the youngest, left the home has largely shaped my approach to my own family.  All that said, I don’t see this being as big an issue in the church among me and  my peers as I’ve heard about over the past 20 years with men older than me.  And frankly, many of us are tired of hearing about it – we just want to have supportive friendships with other guys and families as a normal part of our lives – doesn’t need to be a special program or ministry, which many tend to shy away from.  (Too busy with my family!)  A testament to the efforts of you and others, I do think things are getting better.  Thanks for all your efforts!-Ron

          • David Delk

            Ron – great thoughts. That’s one reason Man in the Mirror tells churches to kill their “men’s ministries.” Instead, we try to help churches disciple men right where they are – in family activities, in couple’s groups, when their kids play sports, etc.

            Most churches and men don’t need more programs – they need an intentional process to get men in relationships and help them become like Christ.

            David Delk, President, Man in the Mirror

          • Dan Butcher

            David, I would agree that it’s likely best to kill the men’s ministry–but in the churches I’ve been in, that’s led to no ministry to men at all (or very minimal). In my current church, men are being effectively discipled in small groups (men’s groups are one of many options available). We’ve been intentional, though, about making sure that men have groups to attend.

            In response to Ron, I’m glad that he sees his 30-something peers connecting–I don’t see that as much. I’m 47, and the majority of our men who are actively participating and connecting with other men are in their 40s and up. The younger men are simply too busy with kids’ sports and other things, and frankly it shows. Many have ill-behaved kids, and I would argue that it’s because they are not putting themselves into situations where they are with older men that they can seek advice from.

            It is possible to be too “busy with the family”–running kids to multiple practices and events can keep the younger parents too tied up to connect with other couples of any age. In one sense, they are being good fathers and good parents, but older parents look on and think “slow down.” But you can’t tell them that without the relationship, and if the younger men don’t take the time to connect, the relationships can’t form that allow for the sharing of wisdom.

          • Ron

            Thanks Dan.  Good comments about busy-ness.  By “too busy with the family”, I simply meant being home with them every night. Having dinner with them. Playing with the kids, taking care of the home, putting the kids to bed, etc.  The basics.  We generally do 1 kids activity per weeknight and 1 per weekend (if that), and that’s it.  We also volunteer for a nonprofit and serve at our church, and I teach at the local college as an adjunct.  My plate is full just taking care of the basics and I’ve had to say “no” to a number of good things like small groups so that we keep our focus in the home.

            That’s not to say we’re doing this perfectly or there’s no need for a men’s program in a church. I agree that there’s benefit to relationships with those who are more seasoned.  The programs offered by many churches have been awkward and half-hearted – I’d love to see what a successful program looks like.  I try to do this informally through relationships I’ve sought out but sometimes go a couple months between those lunch or breakfast get-togethers.  Still, it’s been very valuable for me over the past decade.

          • Ron

            Sorry…I mean 1 weeknight kids activity per week, and 1 per weekend…meaning we try to be home or doing something as a family those other days/nights…

          • Dan Butcher

            Ron, it sounds like you have a balanced approach to your outside activities, and I remember what it was like when my kids were younger. I now have 1 in college, 1 in 7th grade, and 1 in 5th–so I still have a ways to go, but we can at least our kids at home for a few hours without the expense of babysitting. Back in the day, we either found a small group that included childcare, or I attended a men’s group and my wife attended a women’s group at separate times (mine was generally a breakfast or lunch group), and that allowed one of us to be at home with the kids since we didn’t have the resources for babysitting.

            I would respectfully submit that you would better serve your family if you made regular fellowship with a group of men a greater priority. As my relationships with other godly men have deepened, my marriage and parenting have improved and I have been happier and less stressed. Improvements because I was getting sound advice and support from other guys; happier and less stressed because I had some close friends I could vent to when things were challenging at home. Those kinds of relationships take time, but now I have a “band of brothers” (to use John Eldredge’s phrase), and I know we will support each other in all that happens.

          • Ron

            Sound advice Dan.  Thanks!

      • Eric S. Mueller

        Ron, I agree. 

        I think, if anything, churches would see a better result in bringing men together rather than just preaching at them. Many men’s ministries seem to consist of “chewing” the men out through a sermon and turning them loose in the world with guilt, but little else. OK, I’m not doing a good job according to the preacher, but what is a good job?

        I’ve found the best growth when I band together with other men. We’re able to compare notes, bear each other’s burdens, and disciple each other. Discipleship works best for me when it’s done through a “coming alongside” method, rather than a lecture. Each has its place, but there has to be a balance. 

    • Timothy Fish

      You aren’t the first person I’ve heard mention this and I agree, but I can’t help but wonder if the reason preachers praise mothers and fleece the fathers is because it is easy for a man to talk about how great his mother is and how great his wife is, but to talk about all the things men do is too much like saying, look at how good I am.

      • Wes Yoder

        Or perhaps because many preachers do not have good relationships with their own fathers and have not dealt with their own sorrow.

        Wes Yoder – Author, Bond of Brothers

    • Anonymous

      Eric, this has been a pet peeve of mine for several years, now.  To the point that I rarely attend church on Father’s day, anymore.

      I love the way the most churches take advantage of Mother’s day to honor mothers.  Why is it so hard to do the same for Fathers, on Father’s Day?  Why do pastors feel the need to use Father’s Day as an opportunity to verbally beat up on men and tell us we’re not doing a good enough job?

      I recall one Father’s Day, in particular, several years ago.  I had been divorced for less than a year, and was struggling to figure out how to be the best dad I could possibly be, as a single parent.  I was standing there in church feeling so thankful to have all four of my beautiful children with me.

      Then the sermon started.  I was told that the best gift a father could give his children was to be a good hsuband to their mother.  I was told that if a man is not pleasing his wife and kids then it doesn’t matter who he is pleasing.  It went downhill from there.  At one point in the sermon, all fathers were isntructed to reach over, kiss there wife on the cheek, and tell her how much they appreciate her.  How do you think that left me feeling?

      The sad part, is that this is more the norm’ than the exception, for a Father’s Day sermon.

      There are so many biblical ways that I and the other father’s in the congregation that day could have been encouraged and uplifted in our godly role as fathers!

      • Eric S. Mueller

        Joseph, that is terrible. I’m coming to the conclusion that most preachers are “socialized” toward certain types of messages. Many of them have another pastor or author who influences them, and they tend to emlulate it. I’ve been guilty early in my lay teaching of simply repeating things I hear in sermons or podcasts or read in the popular literature.

        During one Bible class I taught, I was about to expound on how God expected people to have families, and I was about to go on a rant against people who get married and decide not to have children. The only reason I had was a Bible teacher I liked to listen to had a similar “shtick” and I wanted to emulate him because I liked his style. Then I looked out at the people who were kind enough to come to my class, and saw several couples that I knew weren’t capable of having children. I realized  I’d be putting a burden on them that I had no place doing. I’m glad it didn’t leave my mouth. What I originally wanted to say would have been culturally acceptable in a 21st century American Evangelical setting, and I probably would have gotten some Amen! Preach it! from people, but I didn’t think it was worth it.

        I haven’t had many opportunities to teach since I left that church, but I hope I never come close to doing something that heartless again. 

        • Anonymous

          Thank you, Eric for your compassionate words. 

          I do understand how people arrive at such narrow-minded thinking.  I understand, because I was once there.  I was raised in church, and I absorbed the church culture and mind-set along with my peers.  It’s amazing how a few shattered dreams can change a man’s perspective.

          Your response has got me thinking, this morning.  As mentioned earlier, I rarely attend church on Father’s Day, anymore.  I could add that I have also been very uninvolved in our church’s Men’s Ministry in recent years.

          Prior to experiencing divorce, I was very involved in my church’s men’s ministry, as well as Promise Keepers.  For the first few years after the divorce, I tried to keep that involvement up.  However, it became emotionally impossible, because of these sorts of messages.

          So, reading a post like this one, with the term “man problem” in the title, I wonder why people cannot see that the perceived “man problem” is largely being perpetuated and made worse by precisely the sort of thinking that says we have a “man problem”!

          I was one of those men who was doing everything right, in terms of what you’ll hear presented at men’s conferences.  I deeply love our savior, and stay involved in ministry.  I prayerfully strive to be the very best father, husband and grandfather that I can possibly be.

          Yet, I now avoid church on Father’s Day and rarely participate in my church’s Men’s Ministry.  Why?  Specifically because of this type of labeling and narrow thinking that says we have a “man problem” in the church.

          If I, a deeply commited believer, respond in this fashion, how do you think unbelievers and immature believers respond to this sort of mindset?  By staying away…which perpetuates the continued perception of a “man problem.”

          Maybe what we really have is a “lack of compassion” problem…

          Thanks for listening!

          • Eric S. Mueller

            Joseph, I think you have a point there. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we in the church have shirked discipleship in favor of preaching. There’s a place for preaching, but when we pull back rather than reaching out, we assume problems in others can be corrected with preaching. But the most effective discipleship is to come alongside another and walk together. I’ve been there. I’ve had many years when the only exposure I had to other Christians was a couple hours a week at church. We never saw them otherwise. I’m blessed at the moment to be in a great small group. I work in the same organization with a friend from church and group, so we commute together and are accountability partners. But we occasionally gather with other members of the group. 

            I think we also have a problem where we draw a line between the spiritual and the secular. A commitment I made years ago was never to follow a theology that required me to split my mind between church hours and the rest of the week. 

            I doubt you’re the only man among Jesus’ followers in your situation, and other men could be blessed and strengthened by walking with you, and seeing God’s grace in your life as you navigate those waters. I’m sure if I were in your situation, I’d be lost, and isolation from the church wouldn’t help.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you, Eric!

            I’ve found myself gravitating toward other avenues of ministry.  Starting a new Sunday school class made up of people who have experienced shattered dreams; buying a coworker lunch so we can talk about his recent divorce; writing a new book; starting a new blog…

            You can see a sample, here:

            Still searching for how best to interact with our church’s men’s group…or whether I should be…

          • Eric S. Mueller

            Joseph, I subscribed to your blog through RSS. I’ll follow your posts. I started a blog a while back called “Christian Family Life” but I haven’t done much with it since. My main blog is “The Stand-up Philosopher” . That one is more whatever I feel like writing about at the time. I’m hoping someday I can pull together enough on discipleship or living a Christian life to put a book together.

  • Dave Mariano

    Hey Michael, great article and seems like a great program. FYI, the last link for MITM in the word “here” is broken : )

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I just fixed it.

  • Jack King


    You’ve caught me at a moment when I can no longer sit idly by shaking my
    head in sad disagreement.  I am left with the impression it is time to recreate another
    wheel, albeit a broken one.  I’m certain we will continue to see ‘babies in the water’ until we act–and respond to–the right question. 
    It is a question of balance and harmony, and it’s been asked before. 

    Cherokee chief Attakullakulla asked Timberlake this question some two
    centuries ago when Timberlake brought his delegation (of men) to
    negotiate a treaty with the Cherokee: “Where are your women?”

    Attakullakulla’s question was insightful; what it really sought was
    answers to other questions: What’s important to you?  Where is your
    balance?  Where is your harmony?  What is your intent?  What are your
    motives?  Where’s your honor?

    Look around and you will see the ill consequences of a man’s world; it
    is filled with man’s inhumanity to man.  We can start with the church. 
    Many believe only men can serve as preachers, deacons, elders, popes, bishops, and the
    like.  To what avail?  Disagreements spawn denomination.  Division
    dominates. To divide and conquer does little more than commit spiritual
    suicide.  What about politics? Look at the Congress and the Senate, and
    look at the disgustingly  ill effects of so many ungrateful, greedy,
    self-centered decisions over the years.  Anything for power, prestige,
    and perks.  Then, there’s the military.   How many women on the Joint
    Chiefs of Staff?  Conquer at all costs.  Even if it means taking
    innocent life (in all forms).  Collateral damage, right?  It doesn’t
    stop there.  What of our universities, our city councils and mayors,
    police chiefs, the principals and superintendents of our children’s
    schools?  Who are the plant managers (if you can find a plant/mill
    anymore)?  Who is in charge of our corporations, our hospitals and,
    forgive me, book publishers?

    “Where are our women?!”

    Ask God.  He said “It is not good that man should be alone. I will
    create for him a help mate.”  I somehow feel God is dissatisfied when we confine man’s help mate
    to duties at home or to bringing up the children because, in so doing, men
    have abdicated their responsibilities far too long so they can do what? 
    Go out into the world to impress and intimidate?  How sad.

    Now, take a long deep look at the family.  Where are the men?  I just
    answered that question.  They are busy looking at themselves in the
    mirror all right (usually while they are away impressing and
    intimidating), beating on their chests, and puffing themselves up … when
    they should be home sharing love and responsibilities while
    demonstrating a servant’s heart to their children and others who graciously come
    their way. 

    Seems to me the last thing we need is another promise keepers where men
    disciple other men and, by the way, don’t do a very good job of keeping
    their promises.  Instead, we need to encourage and embrace women in
    every aspect of life and living.  Her’s is a beloved and powerful
    voice.  She, too, is in touch with the Creator as she loves and works
    and sings.  Balance and harmony wait us … if we ask the right question
    and are willing to accept the right answer.

    If we are serious about fixing the man problem, all we have to do is reach out for a woman’s touch … in everything we do.


    • Shannan Parker

      Only the touch from God’s own hand can heal a wounded heart such as this.

    • pamhogeweide

      Your comment resonates with me, Jack. I appreciate the mission of MITM, yet I was wondering if men+men=resolution. What about men+women? Collaboration rather than gender segregation?

      I am a bit concerned that the message of the “man problem” further alienates men and women from one another. Men need men, yes, but men need women too, as you so eloquently have written here. I am grateful for your perspective being added to this discussion.

      Great post Patrick….what do you think about including women in the process of addressing the man problem??

      • Jerry Godsey

        Pam, a good men’s ministry teaches men to share their lives with their wives and children. It is not about segregating men and women, it is about talking to men in a safe environment where they don’t have to be a protector or any other role, they can just be a guy. A good men’s ministry “speaks their language” and allows them to think about a topic or Bible verse the way a guy thinks.
        As I mentioned above, I write for a blog called Third Option Men ( and after all of our posts, the most commented and well received post was written by a a woman! She called men out to be the men they should be. It was powerful!

        • pamhogeweide

          I hear ya. I organize women’s listening parties for the same reason, to have space where women speak freely of how the church has informed and shaped our identity as women.  When we speak together, we voice longing for collaboration with our men.

          I am concerned that men, when trying to “man up,” only fuel the patriarchal fires further rather than look to take responsibility in partnering with women in mutual leadership, whether in the home, the church or the community.

          Absolutely there is value in men and women ministries. But when a problem such as “the man problem” is being addressed, I just hope that women are included to help contribute to the solution.  We do have a lot of wisdom and insight to offer our brothers in as much as we also have many things to benefit from as well. I am a big fan of collaboration between the genders.

          Thanks for your response. I’ll have to visit your blog.

      • Patrick Morley

        Thank you Pam. Our work is all about building strong marriages and families. So in a sense it’s already all about women and children. But what we’ve discovered is that men simply will not open up and “get real” (or as real) in the company of women. In fact, one of the strongest differences between men who lead powerful, transformed lives and men who don’t is that they are part of some kind of men’s small group where they are working out what it means to really follow Jesus day by day.

        • pamhogeweide

          Thanks for your reply Pat and also for all you do to serve men, women and their families.

          I really do appreciate small group ministry and am a big fan of womens groups as well as mens.   With the church’s long love affair with patriarch,y I understandably am cautious about how people define and approach something called the “man problem.”

           I am, of course, a proponent of developing men and women who are committed to their families and to being the presence of God in their homes and communities.  To this end, I wish MINTM all the very best and  continued success.

  • Greg

    Great blog. Men can also be married to his wife and his kids’ mother but be what I call “time divorced” from them by a job or other interests. I remember guys taking every week of vacation during hunting season and not one week when kids were out of school. See number 6. I allowed my job to consume my time until a mentor told me the “bucket story”.

  • David Moore

    Man in the Mirror and the words of Pat Morley were instrumental in changing my life in 1995.  In particular, one chapter taught me that love is ‘volitional’ not a feeling.  Something that has a huge impact on me and my actions and reactions in relationships.  In 2008, I sat in on the early conference calls about the strategies to minister to more men with the No Man Left Behind model.  I was excited about getting involved but not sure what happened with that.  We were talking about training leaders and regional events etc.  But self-employment has kept me preoccupied and I’ve lost focus on the ministry that changed my life.  Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

  • PB

    Well-said. In the NT it is so obvious to me that men are important parts of the church. In Acts 16 the jailer was saved, then his household. Now we go after kids first and hope the parents will be saved through that! God still uses it, but it would be better if we had priorities as close to the NT church as possible.

    • Timothy Fish

      In this way, men really are important. So often, you get Momma saved and it is just Momma. You get Daddy saved and Momma and the children will soon follow.

  • Bernard Haynes

    Great Article Michael. This hits right home on some things I have been thinking about, doing and working towards. I mentor about 30 men in prison, I have spoken at several men events and I also speak to a lot of men individually and the major thing that I see is that a large amount of men have no vision. So I started doing training on the importance of having a vision from God. When I have done this training, which I call Man Up! Rise to the Challenge, the men have been very energized and excited. I have had several men mention that they wish they would have heard this message earlier in life.

    I believe we have spent so much time bashing men, instead of speaking into their lives. When a man understands who is and realizes the vision God designed for him then he will become a power house in his home, the community, his city, the church and his business or job.

    • Patrick Morley

      Sounds like a great ministry Bernard.

      • Bernard Haynes

        Patrick, I have followed you awhile and you do some great things for men. If you don’t mind when you have minute can you check out my site at and give me some feedback on some of my material. I hopefully will be updating the site by the end of this month into more of a blog site. Thanks, for all you do for men.

  • Guest

    Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

    Churches often have no budget for men’s ministry, yet budget lots of funds for children, facilities, women, youth, etc. The megachurch I used to attend has a staff of 100+ with specialists devoted to children, youth, Hispanic outreach, the poor, worship, facilities, etc. But there is no one designated to reach out to men.  There is no budget for that; there is no heart for men’s ministry. 

    • Patrick Morley

      This budget issue is one of the reasons we offer most of our resources free or at minimal cost. And that’s why we are establishing Area Directors who can be “boots on the ground” to consult with churches–at no cost in many cases. Prayers appreciated.

      • Guest

        God bless you for keeping things free/inexpensive. 

        But until a church cares enough to put some real/significant money into men’s ministry, it will remain an afterthought and second-rate affair. 

  • Cor Chmieleski

    Thanks, Patrick and Michael!  If there’s a man problem, that’s also indicative of a gospel problem up stream.  Our gospel must bring about more than one-time decisions, flashy conferences, and twitter updates.  Our gospel must yield discipleship, men willing to pick up the mantle and invest in the next generation.  We need life on life ministry.  Patrick’s most powerful words and the call we have: “a few men in my church saw a young husband and father who desperately needed to be discipled—and took action.”

  • Cor Chmieleski

    If we have a man problem, that is indicative of a gospel problem further up stream.  The gospel, or Good News regarding Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, is mighty to save in ways beyond just one-time decisions, flashy conferences, and twitter updates.  The gospel saves from sin and death and then sends the new believer off on an exhilarating and challenging life-time call of following Jesus.  In other words, the gospel necessarily leads to discipleship, life on life learning from one another.  That is why I believe Patrick’s most powerful comment is “a few men in my church saw a young husband and father who desperately needed to be discipled—and took action.”  You might not be able to be an area director.  But, you can turn to the guy next to you in your church, classroom, cubicle, office, family, and neighborhood and engage with him the gospel which is the power of God.  Take action!

    • Cor Chmieleski

      Sorry about that Michael!

  • Patricia Raybon

    Thank you, sir. As a woman and wife–and as an African American–my heart leaps at the exciting things I see Black men of faith accomplishing despite appalling obstacles. Yet it breaks at the languish and loss still afflicting our community because of emotionally damaged boys and men. God help us to address this challenge–and bless you for taking it on.

  • Naciom9

    The answer is prayer. Pray that men rise to their role of head of the household and lead. Pray that men will love their wive like Christ love the Church. If this happen we will see wonder in this dying world 

  • Jeff Randleman

    This has been something I’ve noticed for several years.  It’s tough to get men involved in the church.  Ministries like this are crucial.  I know of a couple guys who would be perfect, but we live in such a small community that I’m not sure MIM could put one here.  I’ll pass this on.  Thanks!

    • Patrick Morley

      Thanks Jeff…. Some territories will be bigger because of low population densities, but we’re still planning to cover those areas. So thanks for passing this on.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you wouldn’t cover this area.  Not at all.  I just assumed that our small town wouldn’t be the center of a region.  There’s not much here… :)  Thanks for your passion for this ministry!

  • Jack Lynady

    One thing that might help is if the church treated men like men instead of like 3rd graders. But what do I know…Love u Pat. “Man in the Mirror” started my whole Journey and I am eternally thankful for you brother. :)

    • Patrick Morley

      Thanks Jack! See you soon.

  • Jerry Godsey

    The issue of men is so vital today. I am part of a website called Third Option Men ( that is all about discipling men. So many of our churches are programmed for the way women think and react. Men are different! I said in a sermon a couple of weeks ago that the guy who wrote “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” is wrong. Those planets aren’t far enough apart!
    TOM just released our men’s ministry manual and devotional called the “War Room,” it is about starting a men’s ministry and includes 52 weekly devotions for men to use as a small group. May God richly bless Man In The Mirror and their efforts. The battle for the hearts and minds of men needs all the soldiers it can get!

  • C Podsednikova

    Hello Michael.  I am sorry to ask this question on your blog but I have been trying desperately to download your ebooks and the system will not allow me?  I click on the purchase link, it goes to the checkout…shows the checkout as empty then shows link to continue shopping.  Is there something I am missing?  I looked for any  other way to contact you but was not able to locate the appropriate section for technical issues.  Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Please email me at michael dot hyatt at gmail dot com. We will see what we can do to resolve it. We have not had that complaint before. You might try clearing your browser cache and then trying again—or even using a different browser. Thanks.

  • Cheryl

    Hey you guys have a winner here! I am a married woman and have called all of the Churches I attended to have a mentoring ministry for men. No Church has stepped up to the plate. Sooooooo
    many Dads need validation.
    If Dads aren’t home for the boys, how will they know how to parent or love their wives? We live in Canada, so don’t forget about us!!!!

  • Dick Powell

    It is not that we do not have enough men. What we don’t have are fathers – mentors – teachers and leaders. We have neglected our duties as men to teach boys how to be men and what a Godly man is and does.

  • Jesse Lahey

    I read “Man in the Mirror” by Patrick about 10 years ago, and I read “Why Men Hate Church” by David Murrow about three years ago. Both books had a significant influence on my thinking about the great ways men could help families, communities, and the world – and how more men could be inspired to make a positive difference.

    I love Patrick’s analogy about going upstream, and I love the dialogue below about creating a space that encourages guys to be real and to grow. I agree that long-term solutions will require leadership from both men and women, and that input from both genders is helpful in any endeavor. This sounds like a great initiative by Man in the Mirror, because when men are inspired (not shamed) to take positive steps, it has a positive impact on the women and children in their lives.

    – Jesse Lahey,

  • Ben Thomas

    You say on here that you are hiring 330 area Directors but then in the video it seems that what is really happening is that they need to raise support.  Hiring usually implies that there is going to be compensation…so what does that mean in this situation.  I have raised support and it is like having an extra part time job. Just want to know if  when you say hire…you actually mean mentor with the Director bringing in his own income?

    • David Delk

      Ben –

      One of the duties of a director is, in partnership with the whole Man in the Mirror team, to raise the budget for the ministry that will happen in his region. Area Directors will be trained and supported in this process. They’ll also be trained to work with church leadership teams and to connect with leaders in their areas.

      We’re learning from great ministry that have been down this road (Cru, Navigators, Young Life, etc.), but we sure don’t have all the answers or know exactly how everything will work out. We envision learning alot together over the next few months.

      Hope that helps!

      David Delk
      President, Man in the Mirror

  • Ben Thomas

    Ok…so I just got my question deleted…which is fine….but is someone going to answer my question? I really don’t care if other people can read it but I was genuinely interested in the Director position.

    • Patrick Morley

      As part of the job, each Area Director will be responsible for
      raising funds to support the ministry in their area, including their salary. So yes, like
      Cru, Navigators, Young Life and other ministries, building an investor team (as
      opposed to selling products) is part of the work. This way we can keep it a
      ministry instead of turning it into a business–which I’m very opposed to. Cru
      has agreed to train our staff on how to build an investor team.  We’re off to a
      great start with several dozen men proceeding through the
      application process after prayerful consideration and, when married,
      discussions with their wives. They see a great opportunity to do something
      positive and answer a calling that can make a difference and leave the world a
      better place. Thank you again for your interest.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I didn’t delete it, and I am the only one who can do so. I’m just getting to the comments now after a very busy day yesterday. Can you re-state your question? Thanks.

  • James Pinnick

    80% of men. That stat is astonishing to me.

    Great comments. I do see more and more men coming to our church which is great!

    Author-The Last Seven Pages

  • TNeal

    What does an area director’s life look like? In other words, what does this type of ministry offer to men and churches? I recognize the need but I also need guidance in how to implement this type of ministry–the come-alongside-to-help response the men offered you forty years ago. What did it look like then? What does it look like now?

    • Patrick Morley

      TNeal, great questions. Hopefully we’ve anticipated and answered these questions. Please go to and follow the links in the “Learn More” section. Also watch the video if you haven’t already done so. God bless.

  • Mike M.

    I think there are a few of you that are missing the point on the meaning and mission of this ministry all together. While I can agree that there are many churches across the nation who are full of godly men living godly lives, there are even more that are overflowing with men such as myself who want to be great husbands and fathers, but aren’t sure how to. Some of us have never had godly fathers who were examples of what God directs a man to be. We need a Christian brother to guide us and be there when we have question and concerns. And yes, even teach of few of us how to be what God has called us to be.

    Let me give a little background about myself, I grew up in the church. From day one my family sat in the pews everytime the doors were open. I learned from a very early age the books of the Bible and was saved when I was eight. The downside of the story is, as soon as we left the church or group functions, my father would turn into a different person. I spent most of my earlychildhood watching my father physically abuse my mother, for anything and everything. When she had taken all that she could take, my mother divorced him when I was 11. Unfortunately, because of her self esteem issues she jumped from one bad marriage to another. Long story short, history repeated itself and I was left with another fine example of how a husband should treat his family. When I was old enough to leave the house, I did just that.

    The older that I have gotten, the more I long to be a good Christian father and husband. But the problem is, I am not sure how to. This is where having a brother in Christ to lean on would be a great tool for me and others like me. That is why I praise God for a ministry such as this! I have never heard of them before I read this article and I will be reaching out to them today.

    God Bless,

    • Patrick Morley

      Mike, thanks for your transparency. I would like to learn more about you. Please email me at

  • Anonymous

    Great post.  I’ve been pondering lately how to get more men involved in our church.  Some need mentoring, some need to be mentors.  It’s just a matter of facilitating.

    Thanks.  Can’t wait to check out your stuff.

    • Rob Sorbo

      One thing that I’ve noticed in myself (not sure if this is consistent with all men) is that I can’t handle passive church attendance. If I’m not involved in church, then I don’t want to go to church. 

      One thing that I think could help men is service-oriented opportunities, whether that be ministry events, church work/repair days, or some other thing that men can do at church to feel useful.

      • Anonymous

        That’s good advice. It does seem to get men excited about church when they feel they have invested into the work.

  • Jeff Andrechyn

    I think the key to reaching men is looking at what Jesus did and how he handled a community of men around him. Jesus took the disciples on a three year high adventure camping trip! Jesus knew his men. 

    Trying to reach men in the warehouse on Sunday by going after sin and behavior is not going to yield  much fruit. Men need an environment where they can breath in, laugh together, learn from each other and listen to men with experience who are willing to share their own success and failures.  

  • Rob Sorbo

    I live in one of the buckles of the Bible belt, but divorce seems to be a significant problem around here. I’d be interested in seeing how appropriate pre-marital and marital counseling targeted at men could help with this epidemic. When you don’t have broken families, then it seems like a lot of the other issues would fix themselves.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I’d like to share a little something from my own experience (I’d call it an “insight” but I don’t feel wise enough to use a word like that.)

    A lot of the commenters seem upset and/or scared about the idea of raising support to do ministry. I grew up in a missionary family–many of my childhood memories are sitting in the backseat of a car going from church to church and meeting to meeting so that my parents could raise their financial support. 

    One thing that I have learned from the many missionaries I have known, including my own family, is that if God is calling you to something, He also has the resources to help you do it. I have even heard missionaries say that the fundraising part is easy because of how miraculously God steps in.

  • Leesa Barnes

    As much as I’d love to step in and “rescue” men, men need the space to solve the men problem without women present.

    I say this because a young Christian father in Toronto started a support group for Black fathers to help them become better men. His goal was to provide a space for men to freely express their feelings without women present.

    Guess what happened? After a few meetings, women showed up. Goodness me, men need their own space. Women take on too much as is, so if men want to gather and brainstorm about parenting issues, let them be. 

    • Timothy Fish

      That’s messed up.

  • Tammy Redmon

    Thank you for sharing Michael. It is a topic that is heavy on my heart. Raising two children alone that are now young adults, I see the challenges they face as a result of a mom being both parents. I tried to gift my children with strong, Godly male role models and it was still not enough. Simply a bandaid approach. 

    What I see happening to the women in our church is something sad all on its own. We were not designed or created to be both parents and yet we power through as if we are built for the job. Building strong men of the house to take back control is half of it – we as women need to learn how to let go of the control.

    Thank you for the inspired post. I have shared the 1000 men opportunity with a friend who is ‘built’ for the job!

  • Brandon Weldy

    I just moved to this area but already I have heard concern about the lack of men involved in the church. The people are worried about young men who have left high school and still living in the area but are dropping out of the local church. It is true that men are not engaged and our churches do need help to reach our and disciple them. This is a great program! I am very encouraged that there are others stepping out to follow God’s will and do something about the source of the problem and not just try to treat the symptoms. 

  • Timothy Fish

    I look at our church and I can honestly say that I don’t see a man problem. We’re not perfect, but no church is. But what I can say is that our men are involved in all areas of ministry and they are the primary leaders in our church. I believe that is because that is what we expect from our men. We ask our men to take on a task and then we let them run with it. Men aren’t looking for a bookclub, they’re looking for an opportunity to do something meaningful.

    • Patrick Morley

      Timothy, that’s great news. I take it men are valued and discipled at your church. To God be the glory.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    I believe that the countering the men problem is a much needed ministry in today’s world. It is important that we address the root cause for the problem rather than providing the patching up solution. When we are able to address this problem rightly, we will not see anamolies like broken families, single moms, abusive fathers, reckless sons, etc in our society

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Ha! This is the fisrt time I am seeing that the most of  comments for the post are given in a eassay-type lengthy replies. It seems that the followers are quite serious on this issue.

  • Kelly Combs

    Those statistics are jarring! Biblical, the man is supposed to be the spiritual leader of the household.  God bless “Man in the Mirror” as they seek to encourage and mentor men in their God given roles.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’ve read the post and most of the 95 comments.

    I love the ministry idea!  I HATE the title of the post.

    Folks, we do not have a “Men Problem,” and as long as we define the problem as a “Men Problem” we’re not likely to see much improvement.  Who wants to go to a conference or small group to be told “You’re a problem”?  I sure don’t!

    What we do have is a “Sin Problem” and a “Lack of  Purpose Problem”!  It is not limited to men and it did not originate with men.  It originated with both Adam and Eve, in The Garden.

    Yes, many men need to step up to finding their purpose in Christ, and living out their lives in accordance with God’s purpose.  In fact, we all (men and women) need to make this a continual pursuit.  It is called the Christian Life…not solving a men problem.

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  • Tim Boorman

    Hi, I normally do not participate in on-line discussions.  While I can agree on many of the comments of Man versus Woman, etc, I most agree that as Men of Christ, we are commanded to be the spritual leader in our home, and love our wives the way Christ loves the church, so for me I do not have any issues honoring Mothers on Mothers Day and am not jealous that many churches may preach a different type of message on Fathers Day.  I would not however present a message to my family that I am not going to Church on Father’s Day because I may not like the message.  Men, I thought going to church was one of the ways to honor and praise God?

    I also do not agree with doing away with Men’s Ministeries.  My church has a Mens Ministry on Wed, it is called, your gonna love it guys “The Men’s Cave”.  I have found it great to fellowship with men of all ages.  The groups are broken down into tables of up to 8 or 9.  Besides the worship, we get to discuss life, prayer needs, etc.  The fellowship is great and it is done from a “Man’s” perspective, but God focused on how we as Men can honor God by doing what he has called us to do as “Men of God”.

    I have just recently re-dedicated my life to the Lord.  Being around a group of men has been one of the best support mechanisms I can imagine and wish and will pray that you are blessed with this same type of ministry in your churches.  The only thing better than Christians supporting fellow Christians is bravely witnessing and doing God’s work with non-Christians.