How to Attract Men to Sabbath School

She whispers, “Tell me you love me.” He murmurs, “Show me that you love me.”

She: “Oh, Phyllis, I’m so glad you called! Let me tell you all about . . .” Women tend to spend their free time talking and relating.

He: “Hey, Bob, I’ll meet you at the courts, and later we can come to my house to see the big game.” Men tend to spend their free time in action or watching it.

The difference in men and women begins before birth:

The verbal area of her brain develops more complexity.

His visual-spatial area of the brain surpasses hers.

Is it any wonder that little girls talk first and little boys walk first?

Bringing This Home to Sabbath School 

Look at men and women in Sabbath School:

Her body is a triangle with the apex at the head and base at the hips, so she is comfortable sitting and listening.

His body has the triangle reversed, wider at the top than at the bottom. So he squirms.

Her brain is built for sermons and discussion groups, so she can read the verbal and nonverbal signals of the teacher and her classmates. She interacts verbally and emotionally.

His brain goes numb waiting for something to happen, so he may fall asleep. When the teacher calls on him, he may feel awkward or embarrassed. So he answers with his feet. “Goodbye!” or maybe never even “Hello!”

One way to categorize learners is by their preferred mode of receiving information:

  • Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening and by discussing.
  • Visual learners would rather see the material, either in words or pictures or demonstrations.
  • Tactile learners need to use their hands to manipulate the materials.
  • Kinesthetic learners prefer to use their whole bodies in active learning. Women tend to be more auditory, although they are also readers and are often tactile.

Men are more likely to be highly visual, may be tactile, and quite often prefer the kinesthetic mode.

What to Do 

To attract men to Sabbath School:

Use a lot of visual demonstrations: object lessons, eye-catching pictures or posters to illustrate the theme, arts and crafts teaching vehicles, plus whole-body activities as part of the lesson.

Students may sculpt an illustration of the lesson theme using clay or build a toothpick bridge to represent Jesus’ reconciling ministry or watercolor a greeting card bearing an inspirational verse or message to give to a class member or develop a skit to translate a concept into body language.

At first men may be shy, because this approach is different. Many welcome the change like a long-lost friend. When the activity is nonthreatening, it is engaging. And they don’t have to talk to participate in the lesson, so they wind up having fun as they learn. And the lessons stick with them!

Moving Forward 

So now you see how you can attract men to Sabbath School. Show that you value them as persons. Show that you understand their unique needs by engaging them with Christ-centered classes and programs that are geared to their interests and learning styles.

Helene Hubbard
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists