What percentage of your volunteers are men? What types of volunteer opportunities do we offer for men?
I asked myself these questions while reading “Men Adrift,”a thoughtful, and lengthy, article on how cultural and technology changes have affected men with less education. The article is big on defining the problems and short on solutions, but near the end was this intriguing example, from Great Britain, of positive change:
John Errington, a former lorry driver, organises a “men’s shed” in Wingate, a former mining village near Hartlepool. It is literally a shed, with a darts board and a hob for making tea. Local men meet there and do constructive things, such as plant vegetables or do odd jobs. At the same time, they socialise. Some have lost jobs or wives; others just want something to do.
Men getting together to “do constructive things” — a great definition of volunteering! Unless the church wants to limit itself to women or to the upper middle class, we need to give thought to the type of volunteer opportunities we offer to God’s people who fit neither of these groups.
One church I attended started a handyman’s ministry: a group of men who were available one evening a week to do painting and fix-up projects around church. I’ve also heard of men who gather to repair cars free of charge to single moms or others in need. What have you seen or heard? I’d love to open a conversation on this topic.