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This Sunday, July 10, 2016 photo shows the exterior of the First Baptist Church of Christ, a predominantly white church, in Macon, Ga. In the early 19th century, before the Civil War, whites and blacks often worshipped together, sharing faith but not pews; blacks were restricted to galleries or the back of the sanctuary. Eventually, black populations started growing faster in many communities. Whites, made uneasy by the imbalance, responded by splitting up the congregations. This was apparently the case for First Baptist in Macon. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

This Sunday, July 10, 2016 photo shows the exterior of the First Baptist Church of Christin Macon, GA. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

Maybe it’s that men prefer to keep their space, and don’t like all the hand holding and hugging that goes on in a church.

Maybe it’s that the male brain thrives on competition and rough and tumble play, and church just seems boring. Maybe it’s simply lack of commitment and devotion.

Regardless, church leaders recognized long ago that the average congregation volunteers are decidedly female.

“It’s been a problem for a while,” said Diane M. Hoffmann, author of “24 Hot Potatoes in the Church Today.”  “And it’s past time that churches got around to solving it.”

In some respects, the gender disparity might not be that surprising. Although, the ordained clergy is overwhelmingly male, it’s women who are more likely to hold strong religious beliefs and teach Sunday school, chair a committee or sing in the choir.

For example, in the United States 60 percent of women say religion is “very important” in their lives, but just 47 percent of men make that claim, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Also, 64 percent of women say they pray daily, compared to 47 percent of men.

This is more than just an interesting cultural glitch, Hoffmann says. A Hartford Seminary study found that the presence of involved men is statistically correlated with church growth, health and harmony.

Men in pews: Fixing the gender gap was originally published on newpittsburghcourieronline.com

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