A call for men to begin serving
One to three. This was the number most often given when I asked Biola students about the gender ratio. The “Biola Ratio” has always been an area of interest for incoming students. Throughout the years, the proportion has changed, but the feeling that the female student population grossly overwhelms the male population has not.
This generalization applies even to the organizations on campus, with the percentage of men to women in regards to leadership within the Christian Formation and Ministry department being only 30 percent male, or one man for every 2.3 women. According to the United States Department of Education, however, the true ratio of the Biola undergraduate community is two men for every three women. While the difference between the ratios of males to females here at Biola and in leadership might not appear that large, the 1-to-2.3 ratio of our leadership teams in on-campus ministries and Student Missionary Union aids in propagating the myth that Biola is a highly female dominated campus.
The Biola Ratio does not excuse the lack of leadership by males in relation to females here at Biola, and reveals that the true issue is not the Biola Ratio but rather a deeper problem of how organizations work to engage with men and how men see themselves in Christ.
While there is an overriding belief in the church that men are not willing to step up and lead, ministries cannot simply lay the blame on men and be done with the issue. Ministries must be able to address men where they are and engage today’s men. This is not a cry for departments to lower their standards, which often happens in today’s church, but to do the work to find men where they are and get them involved. This work will not be easy, and Biola cannot excuse ministries from being willing to change in order to reach more men.
The simple fact is that men today do not feel a connection to the opportunities they have, nor do they understand that they are wanted, let alone called. Too often the response from men is that they never knew that they were needed, or that they did not know what needed to be done. Biola needs to make it clear to men they are wanted by the church — that Biola is in need of men, and that they having something to offer. Biola is failing to get men involved in part due to a lack of awareness of where there is need, such as short term mission teams or ministries. Men simply do not know they are wanted, because no one is telling them they are needed.
While ministries are part of the issue, the fact is that the core of the problem lies with men. Biola can only excuse men so far before they must acknowledge that men today do not understand their identity in Christ, nor do they even know where to find that identity. Many men at Biola lack a full knowledge of the Gospel, for the Gospel calls people to service. A true understanding of the service of Christ on our behalf should motivate Christians to serve, yet there is a lack of service by men on campus.
While I understand Biola is not the only place to serve, men cannot get off with the excuse that they are serving elsewhere — more men need to be serving in Biola ministries. Women are serving elsewhere, yet we still have female leaders on campus. There is no issue, no church commitment, no anything that does not apply just as equally to women as it does to men on campus in regards to outside issues. All Christians are called to die daily, to pick up their cross, to love God with all of their being, and to love their neighbor as themselves.
Apparently though, many men at Biola would rather live a fantasy life, pass the cross on to someone else, love God with their lips only, and ignore their neighbor. This is not a cry for students to drop everything and only serve at Biola. While Biola needs more males to serve, it is the church and the world that needs men who know the gospel and who are willing to live out that life.