More Women in Thai church
I just spoke at a church camp for 70 Thai people. I counted only 11 males which works out to a 1 to 7 ratio. On a regular Sunday, this church has a higher ratio of males to females, but overall the predominance of women in Thai churches is a well known fact. An article from the West, “Why Women Are More Religious” prompted me to sit down and reflect on this same phenomenon here in Thailand. There are many factors that contribute to the high percentage of women in Thai churches. I will mention only six:
- Security – Thai women often gravitate to the security offered by God, especially when faced with financial, parenting, cultural and relational pressures.
- Time constraints – Thai men often put you off by claiming that making a living takes up most all their time.
- Social differences – Boys are often raised in female dominated households where they become used to women taking the lead in both domestic and religious life. This tends to create a lackadaisical or “sabai” (ease/comfort) lifestyle on the part of males, whereas Christianity demands a strong commitment of both time and energy.
- Gender differences – Thai women are naturally nurturers, sacrificial and networkers. Accepting an invitation to church is not so difficult for a female, but becomes a major step for a Thai male.
- Church environment – Thai men, upon entering a church, can feel that it is suited more to women due to the predominance of women/children, testimonies dominated by females and emotionally oriented music, etc. Developing and discipling new male converts is often seen as a long and difficult task for Thai church leaders, and as a result more attention is given to discipling seemingly more pliable females.
- Positive Male Examples – Many have written about why the first disciples to witness the resurrection were all women. The Father heart of God and winsome appeal of Jesus continues to be a strong appeal to Thai women who, like women in the first century, were often disenfranchised within their society.
Pray that Thai churches will be able to address this disparity and develop creative ways to draw more men into significant roles of leadership both in their homes and in the church.
Researchers answer: Why are woman more religious? By Bob Ditmer