Here at YWAM Louisville we run five missionary training schools a year. They’re life-changing programs that only last five months and include the opportunity to make an impact overseas.
But here’s the sad truth: in almost every school, more women enroll than men – sometimes, a lot more. We love and value all of our students, but it’s left us with a question: Where are all the men?
We’re not the only ones asking that question. In missions organizations besides YWAM, women outnumber men across the board. Statistics vary, but by most accounts 80-85% of single missionaries are women. “For every 10 singles sent,” writes Mike Delorenzo of Africa Inland Mission, “Only 2 are men.”
80-85% of single missionaries are women.
Why the disparity? It’s a complex problem which could hardly have one simple answer, but here are a few factors.
Fear of the unknown, apathy, and selfishness in laying down one’s life can all contribute to an attitude that keeps men at bay from the mission field.
Our culture puts pressure and expectation on men that they must provide and that they must have a plan for providing for their future wife, house, car etc. If you do missions work, how can you do that? Our culture tells men that they should get a ‘real job.’
Lack of Awareness
The fact that there are comparatively so few single men in missions to women, could point to local churches and mission organizations needing to do a better job of communicating their vision. Maybe men don’t know of the vast opportunities before them to use their gifts and talents to meet real needs in the world.
Clearly, Satan doesn’t want men to be fulfilled as they walk out God’s call on their lives. And he certainly doesn’t want the Gospel to be preached. He is trying to do anything he can to keep men from stepping up and laying down their lives for Jesus.
”[God] created Adam for adventure, battle and beauty; he created us for a unique place in his story and he is committed to bringing us back to the original design.” – John Eldredge, Wild at Heart
These factors may give us insight into what holds men back, but the need is still the same.
In many cross-cultural contexts, Mike Delorenzo continues, “it’s difficult, if not impossible, for young women to minister to men… Consequently, for many of the countless men in Africa who need to hear the Word and learn to be followers of Christ, only another man can show them the way.”
And it’s true. If men do not step up to lead other men in following Jesus, who will?
Here at YWAM Louisville, we need men joining our training programs who are hungry to know God, to follow Him, and to lead others in that pursuit. We need men who are passionate about God to join our staff as disciplers, leaders, and servants. We need men to send to nations that have not yet been reached with the Gospel – nations where the spiritual battle is intense, where the work is hard, where the need is great.
We need men who aren’t afraid to sacrifice and to lay down their lives, because they have counted the cost and discovered where true life, adventure, and joy really lie.
We need men because the world needs Jesus, and God’s plan all along has been to work through his image-bearers, male and female together, to bring the world to him.