Single women comprise the bulk of western missionaries. In some agencies the disparity can be as high as 3 single men to every 16 single women. More commonly it is closer to 3 men to every 6 women. Why is this ?
Part of the answer may be that the ratio distortion of women and men in the church is similar with most denominations reporting many more women attending than men. However, the imbalance at home is not nearly as wide as on the mission field.
Considering many evangelical churches put emphasis on the leadership of men, does it make sense then, that single men are conspicuous by their absence in cross-cultural ministry? Most organisations recruit and commission people regardless of gender, trusting God that, through his sovereignty, he will accomplish his plan and purpose for the Kingdom.
Does the fact that single women far outnumber single men on the mission field suggest that the men are less obedient to God’s call? Or maybe women are better conditioned to accomodate the struggles and challenges of working under difficult circumstances?
And….does it matter whether we send out more single female missionaries than male ? Biblically, it matters if the reason is that there are men who received a legitimate call from God to serve him in this way and don’t obey. Trusting in the providence of our Creator should preoccupy all of us regardless of gender or status.
It would be good to read people’s opinions and experiences in this area of experience.
(This post has used some thoughts from the blog of Tim Laitinen who comments on a range of observations and perspectives on American church culture)