Sarasotan's 'Men and the Church' documents decline of male participation in church

HERALD STAFF REPORTMay 17, 2014 

SARASOTA -- Church of the Redeemer parishioner Jay Crouse has written "Men and the Church: Is There a Future?"

The book looks at how churches can develop their men's ministries to reverse the decline in male participation in church life. The book published by Xulon Press discusses the challenges and solutions of what Crouse calls the "missing man" crisis faced by denominational churches in North America and the United Kingdom.

"The renewal of the church in the 21st century will only take place when Christian men are equipped to reach the unchurched man," said Crouse. "Our churches, regardless of the denomination, must connect with the unchurched man and help him commit to Christ."

Crouse has been active in men's ministry for 25 years and frequently travels the country speaking at churches, seminaries and men's retreats. At Redeemer, he has led men's ministry efforts since 1988, and from 1999 to 2011 he was director of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida's Episcopal Men's Ministries program.

Though "Men and the Church" is garnering national attention, with an excerpt to be published soon in "Ministry Today," the book is just one of Crouse's methods for working on behalf of men's ministries. Each year, he organizes and leads a group of men on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He created and led a unique ecumenical initiative, "Equipping the 70," in which more than 125 Christian men were equipped to disciple 1,000 new men of faith. He also recently led a men's retreat from the parish of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Venice.

Crouse, who lives in Sarasota, with his wife, Laura, can be reached at menandthechurch.com.

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