From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Bibles Serve as "Best Outreach Tool" for Lutheran Men

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 13 Apr 2000 13:58:47


April 13, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The distribution of the Holy Bible to men has
been the best "outreach tool" to date for Lutheran Men in Mission of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), according to Douglas
Haugen.  With that in mind, the board for Lutheran Men in Mission (LMM),
at its meeting here March 24-26, moved to distribute 5,000 Bibles to men
in the church and considered other business to support men's ministries.
     Haugen is director of LMM, the men's organization of the ELCA.
The Bibles are called "Lutheran Men in Mission -- Master Builders
Serendipity Bible" and include more than 70 study sessions and courses
containing 20,000 study questions designed to help men to deepen their
faith life, Haugen said.  The Bibles will be made available by
Serendipity House Publishers, Littleton, Colo.
     "Most men do not participate in Bible study groups because they
are intimidated by them.  The LMM Bibles include non-threatening study
questions that assist men in building relationships while learning
Scripture," Haugen said.
     William Sapp, a member of LMM from Omaha, Neb., donated 1,500
Bibles last year to LMM for distribution to congregations and other
ministries of the church committed to men's ministry.  Haugen said the
Bibles have become the "best public relations tool" for the men's
     The supply of Bibles is near depletion, Haugen said.  With the
board's approval to acquire 5,000 Bibles, the men's organization can
continue to support ELCA congregations and others starting men's
ministries, he said.
     About 200 Bibles will be allocated for the ELCA's Simba Circle, a
two-week camping experience that establishes "a safe place for healing
and restoration" in the lives of African American males between the ages
of 10 and 18.
     Lutheran men's ministries in the ELCA North Carolina Synod have
requested 240 Bibles for each congregation in the synod developing men's
ministries.  "We hope that other LMM organizations in the ELCA's 65
synods will follow with the same request," Haugen said.
     In other business, the LMM board heard from Steve Sonderman, one
of a handful of pastors in the United States specifically engaged in
men's ministry.  Sonderman is associate pastor for the men's ministry at
Elmbrook Church,  Brookfield, Wis., and is the founder of Top Gun
Ministries, a "Christ-centered ministry dedicated to preparing churches
to equip, empower and deploy men in Christian service to their family,
church, community and the world."
     "About 90 percent of men attending church today have never heard a
sermon on work.  Churches fail to make the connection between work and
Christianity," Sonderman said.  An effective men's ministry should
develop avenues that connect Christianity to elements that are important
in a man's life, such as family and work, he told the board.
     The board resolved to offer men's ministry internship
opportunities through LMM.  According to the board action, "Lutheran Men
in Mission strives to serve men of all ages.  Part of the mission of the
organization is to train men for effective leadership."
     Malcolm Carroll, a student at Trinity Lutheran College, Seattle,
completed a three-month internship with LMM in March.  In his report to
the board, Carroll offered four recommendations for ministry among young
men.  They are to nurture relationships that connect young men with
older men in churches, develop resources about men's ministry on compact
discs for young adult men, identify men's ministries that "take place in
racially-diverse settings;" and develop a "rights of passage" ministry
model for men's ministries in congregations.
     The board approved the recommendations and appointed Carroll as
LMM "member-at-large."
     The staff and board of LMM will investigate the possibility for
LMM members to visit Nicaragua in the next year.  A purpose of the visit
is to determine ways for LMM to engage in dialogue, exchange resources
and pray with men from Iglesia Luterana Fe y Esperanza de Nicaragua
(Faith and Hope Lutheran Church of Nicaragua).
     At a meeting in March last year, the board passed a resolution to
research how LMM might begin direct communication with Lutheran men in
Nicaragua and develop ways to address the specific needs of Nicaraguan
farmers and families.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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