Sisters largely outnumber brothers in not only rural churches but also urban churches. Why is there such an imbalance? This question is worthy of consideration.
Generally, in today's rural churches, believers are primarily farmers. Their main job is farming or doing odd jobs in county towns to supplement their income and help their families. In some all-Christian families, the husbands work outside the home and the wives take care of their children or household chores and participate in church services. That is one of the reasons why there are more females than males in a church. There is surely another reason that not all family members have accepted Jesus - either the husband or the wife believes. Therefore, there will be an imbalance in a church, and the reason why there are more women than men is that women will take care of children at home, pick up and drop off children at school, and tend to work on the farm.
Some people who don't believe in Jesus are also prejudiced against the church. They think that the church is a place where grandmothers or women gather, and few men go to church. So this idea gradually creates the crisis of the lack of men in the church.
Looking back at church history, although many women served in the Church during the Apostolic Period, there were many men who became preachers or deacons, such as Mark, Timothy and Titus. In his letter to Timothy, Paul also mentioned the requirements of female deacons. Paul also recommended a female deacon named Phoebe in the Book of Romans. This shows that women can also take responsibility and provide leadership and direction in the church. For rural churches, not only are the majority of believers female, but they are also in the positions of deacons and leaders.
Personally, I think that whether it is a rural church or a city church, it is better for brothers and sisters to jointly serve their church. If only sisters are serving, there will be many shortcomings in how the church is managed and administered. Of course, this is not to say that sisters can't manage, but that brothers have their unique strengths and wisdom.
On the other hand, rural churches having mainly female and elderly believers is a deficiency. The church was built by God to be complete and perfect, but people are always imperfect and incomplete. When people gather and worship, they also have shortcomings. Even though there may be shortcomings, believers continue to strive for perfection, changing through training and spiritual growth.
The gender imbalance mentioned above should not be the issue we criticize, but we should rather analyze the reasons behind it. Why are there more women and fewer men in the church? Why are there no brothers in the church serving as deacons or elders?
The reasons are summarized as follows:
The first is that the target group for evangelism is not adequately distributed.
Secondly, brothers and sisters neglect to preach the gospel to their families (either wives or husbands believe).
Thirdly, the church model is not open enough to more diverse groups.
The fourth is the failure to train children to become the next generation of believers.
Fifthly, the issue is not a part of prayer in the church.
Of course, this is only my personal opinion and summary. Perhaps there are many reasons that affect the imbalance in number between brothers and sisters in a church. When we look at the development of the church today, we are constantly aware of our own problems and realize that the future development of the church is full of difficulties. Every Christian should function as a part of the body of Christ by giving full play to his/her value and function, coordinating with each other, and performing duties.
However, when we find problems in a church, we should put forward practical methods to improve the situation. We should find the proper operation mode that is consistent with the current situation of that church, so as to increase the number of churches and have them adapt to local conditions. We are not only pursuing an increase in the number of believers but also pursuing improvement in the quality of belief and life.
Regarding the issue that there are fewer brothers in rural churches, I have put forward some suggestions that are for reference only:
The first issue to be solved is people's understanding of the gospel. The gospel is not a commodity, not something suitable for men or women. The gospel is aimed at all people regardless of race, nationality, gender or age. When going out to preach the gospel, evangelists should make their listeners be aware of the universality of the gospel rather than just putting emphasis on individuals.
Secondly, we should be equipped with as many evangelical skills and methods as possible. There are different ways and skills for different groups of people. Of course, apart from methods, the most important thing is to pray and prepare in different ways, so as to do our part for the revival and development of the church.
Finally, Christians should strive for the growth of the Church. Although there are still many problems in how the church operates, such as the imbalance between men and women, the church will be transformed and change as long as it is willing to rely on the guidance and help of God.
- Translated by Charlie Li