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‘Missing in Action’ focuses on bringing men back to the church


Polly House
July-August 2016

Where are all the men?

Unfortunately, they seem to be missing in action. Gone. Unseen. Unavailable.

"Worldwide, men are missing in action; absent from Sunday morning church services and absent from community ministries," said Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men (UMM). "Most men simply do not go to church. Could this be a piece of the puzzle as to why our churches are in a state of decline?"

But, there is a ray of hope.

Churches whose congregations are comprised of 50 percent men are thriving, Swanson said.

A new video (, "Missing in Action," produced by the General Commission on United Methodist Men, offers ideas for getting men back into United Methodist congregations.

Boy Scouts – Be a host church and train Scout leaders to lead boys in scouting. Unchurched families often find a church home in the host church.

Service projects — Men who might never initially enter a church for worship are more likely to become involved with a congregation through projects, such as building ramps for people with disabilities, free car check-ups and golf tournaments. Serving through projects allows men to form relationships that can often lead to a willingness to engage with the church.

Feeding ministries – In 2015, UMM led thousands of volunteers into fields to glean thousands of pounds of unharvested food.

"Through these activities, United Methodists have the potential to bring nearly 30,000 men into a relationship with Christ," said Gil Hanke, UMM general secretary. "The General Commission on United Methodist Men is helping men grow in Christ and the local churches and the communities around them are reaping the benefits.

"Men don't have to be missing in action anymore," Hanke said. "Partner with us and experience the transformation in your church and community."

Polly House, freelance writer, Nashville, Tennessee.