Pastors know this. They even have classes on it. "How to be a seeker friendly church", is a topic actively taught on across denominational lines. Pastors, like any other marketing professional, learn how to "read" a customer.
If that last line rubs you the wrong way, good. There may be hope for you.
American's church goers (I didn't say Christians) have become "customers" and the pastors are "salesmen" delivering a product. Who gives the pastor the most feedback? Who gets involved? Who has meetings? Who organizes service projects? Who does VBS? Who shows up to do youth activates? Who goes to talk to the pastor? Who does the pastor have to make happy to keep his job?
Women as a group are generally more involved in church stuff than the men. For years churches have had a high degree of female involvement. Combine that with the American feminist movement in the culture and we have a trend of decreased respect for men.
The average pastor has between 1 and 4 speaking/teaching presentations a week for his congregation. The majority of his performance feedback comes from females. Even if he is not specifically aware of what is happening, he will receive positive feedback for the presentations that he makes that are more appealing to the female mindset. Since most people like positive feedback, how do you think he will craft his next presentation?
What happens is after a period of time the pastor develops a style that defaults to a presentation designed to accommodate the female mindset. This has been going on so long that it's no longer an individual trend. I'm convinced that after better than 40 years, we are turning out new pastors that come preprogramed to accept this pulpit pandering not only as "normal" but as "proper".
The guys typically won't say much one way or the other, because we're guys. If we are being men and treating the pastor the same way we would another guy whose job we are evaluating we would say things like: "That didn't suck as bad as last week, Bob", or "Jeez Bill, did you even read your bible before class this week?".
In man speak the first comment was a backhanded compliment and the second was a mild rebuke. In church-speak, well in church speak you can't say either one of those things. "Fine sermon, pastor" is acceptable, even when it is a lie. So the pastor panders to the women and the church lies to the pastor. Everything is "fine". Keep the music "upbeat". Keep the kids "engaged". Keep it all "seeker friendly".
One day there is a game on TV. The man knows that nothing of value will be said by his pastor, because the pastor hasn't said anything that wasn't milquetoast for 12 years. So the man stays home and watches football. That man gets the exact same amount of spiritual enlightenment as he would have if he spent 2 hours at the candle light service, standing around in the dark singing love songs to another man. Next week he stays home again.
Why did he stay home? Because men don't need potpourri pastors. Men need, and respond to manliness. When you present holiness and obedience to scripture in a way men understand, they stick around for more, because men love Jesus too. But we don't make Him valentine day cards with little pink flowers on them.
Recently heard in church, "God can't use you till you're broken". Wrong!
- Noah built an ark, it took him 100 years, there is no record of him picking out floral patterned borders for it, or pastel colored deck chairs, or asking his wife's permission
- Abraham defeated 5 kings in open warfare, after moving his wife across half of the middle east
- Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, without stopping at a gas station for directions
- Joshua lead Israel in war, no focus group, committee meetings or consensus building
- Teenaged, king to be, David picked up 5 stones and charged a giant after refusing the King's armor
- Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, defied the greatest king on earth choosing apparent death rather than sin against their God
Remember the story of Deborah? Do you know why we call it the story of Deborah? It's not supposed to be about her at all. It's supposed to be the story of a man named Barak. Do you know why we don't know it as the story of Barak? Because Barak pussed out and refused to go into battle without Deborah, so God stripped him of the glory for the victory.
Is God stripping Christian men in America of the glory from their victory? I don't know if you can call it that. It looks more like Christian men in America are surrendering.