Don Archambeau, Michigan’s new UMM President, is looking for men interested in scouting, ministry with military personnel and the power of prayer to help rebuild the Conference United Methodist Men.
Michigan Conference Communications
According to recent membership reports, the organization known as United Methodist Men (UMM) is going strong in Michigan on the local level. But, says Don Archambeau, the new president of Michigan Conference UMM, a lot of urgent work needs to be done in order to create the kind of vitality the conference organization had only a couple of decades ago. Because of his involvement in UMM of Greater Detroit, Don recently volunteered to take the position of Conference President when leadership was needed.
Archambeau is a layman living in Livonia. He points out that of 402 United Methodist Men charters in the North Central Jurisdiction, The Michigan Conference has 92. That’s the largest number of any conference in the ten-conference region. Illinois has 139 units, but split between two conferences, Northern Illinois and Illinois Great Rivers.
“The UMM appeal is there across the country. We’re #1 in Scouting since the pullout of the Mormon Church,” Don says. “The national UMM programs are strong, but the state leadership needs to be redeveloped. Our conference leadership really needs to get back out and work with the local chapters.” His hope is to build those chapters up and reunify them under an organization that will appeal to all ages, but especially with the younger generations of men. Archambeau adds, “The future of UMM is service.”
“It does not matter what you perceive United Methodist Men is or was. What matters is what it can be. Through Christ all things are possible.”
He looks back, saying, “We may fondly remember things the older generation loved like ‘Bud the Spud’ and potato drops for the Society of St. Andrew. And, we may also like the old message of ‘when the men go to church the children will follow.’ But, it is critically important for us to realize that our growth is now being driven by web sites and youth. We now need to turn to some of our vital younger churches, led by such persons as Matt Hook and Brad Kalajainen, to see what seems to be working well with them.”
Hopefully, says Don, younger leaders will emerge from churches like those, who we can be developed for leadership on the district and state levels. “And they don’t have to worry about being left out, because the leadership baton may come to them fairly quickly once they are up to speed and willing and ready to go.”
Don realizes that the job ahead will be a challenge because he is stepping in from what he calls “a distance” without a deep leadership base to draw from. He believes the real starting point for him will be at the next jurisdictional UMM meeting in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in mid-September. There, he will have the opportunity to meet with general church and jurisdictional leaders.
“It’s early in the game, right now. But what’s driving me is knowing that what’s going to work isn’t simply what’s worked in the past.”
Don’s message is loud and clear: “With so much that can be done and needs to be done in men’s ministry and with such a small core from which to begin, I seek God’s hand in providing much needed direction.” He looks to Christ’s model in building his team. “I see the answer, and that answer is invitation,” Don says. “To build the team needed for this ministry, I pray and call for any men from men’s groups, UMM chartered groups, or even those who just want to develop a men’s program, to contact me with their thoughts, gifts, and ideas. Together we can build a team from local churches, districts, and the Michigan Conference.”
Don invites men with skills in social media, scouting, prayer ministry, or ministry with military personnel to contact him: Don Archambeau, Michigan Conference UMM President, by phone (734) 422-2227 or email DonArchambeau@Gmail.com.
“It does not matter what you perceive United Methodist Men is or was,” Don says. “What matters is what it can be. Through Christ all things are possible. It’s early in the game, right now. But what’s driving me is knowing that what’s going to work isn’t simply what’s worked in the past.”