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June-July 2021

Everyday Heroes


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Do We Still Need Master's Men?

By Eric K. Thomsen

Do we still need Master’s Men? and Does Master’s Men still exist? are the questions I hear more than any others,” Director Ken Akers admits with a shake of his head. Since the department merged with North American Ministries (NAM) in 2015, many Free Will Baptists have been under the misconception the ministry no longer exists, or worse, the underlying need for Master’s Men no longer exists.

Truthfully, this confusion is nothing new. For decades, Master’s Men battled the false notion it was only about sports fellowship activities for men, such as softball and golf tournaments that drew friendly competition from across the nation. “Those tournaments were a lot of fun and a great way to promote fellowship and raise money,” Akers notes. “But sports fellowship activities represent only a tiny part of the work of Master’s Men.”

For 65 years, the mission of Master’s Men has remained unchanged: to promote spiritual growth in Free Will Baptist men. “It is our goal to develop men of priority, prayer, purpose, purity, and passion,” says Akers. “We challenge Free Will Baptist men in churches across the denomination to be passionate about loving God, leading their families, and serving their church and denomination. Yes, we have become part of NAM, but the ministry and mission of Master’s Men continues unchanged.”

The organization is made up of “chapters” or groups of men in local churches who meet regularly for fellowship, Bible studies (provided by Master’s Men), and service activities. State and national leaders work closely with these local chapters to carry out a variety of important works: national disaster response efforts (begun in 2006), Operation Saturation outreach events that help church planters, annual IMPACT outreach events in each National Convention host city, and maintenance of the Ridge Church in New Durham, New Hampshire. Master’s Men additionally produces Direction Bible studies and, of course, continues the sports fellowship activities loved and enjoyed by so many.


“The Work Never Stopped.”

The work of Master’s Men continued in 2020, despite COVID-19 challenges and restrictions, especially disaster response efforts. “Storms didn’t stop just because the virus started,” Akers observes with a smile. “In fact, 2020 had more named storms than any other year in recorded history!” Master’s Men responded to each new disaster.

When COVID-19 limited travel, Akers coordinated with state and regional teams to meet the needs. “It just makes sense,” he says. “When a hurricane hits Texas, it is easier for a Texas group to help their own rather than a team from the East coast that might be recovering from its own disaster.” This ongoing emphasis on state and regional Disaster Response Team partnerships proved especially effective during the shutdown.

Although the national IMPACT outreach event was canceled when COVID-19 forced the National Convention to go virtual, Master’s Men challenged local church groups to adopt the event on a local basis through IMPACT Hometown. People across the nation responded, working with Master’s Men to make a difference in local communities hit hard by the virus.

Master’s Men also focused on critical repairs to the Ridge Church in 2020. Although renovations to the historical structure were completed several years ago, structural weakness to the bell tower required immediate attention. Master’s Men oversaw the $150,000 project, now completed, and the church is ready for visitors as travel restrictions lift.

A regional downturn in COVID-19 numbers during the fall allowed for the rescheduled Deep South National Golf Tournament to take place in Albany, Georgia. The number of competitors was down from previous years, but participants had a great time being together in the great outdoors. And numbers rebounded quickly for the 2021 tournament, which moved to Dothan, Alabama, and the Dothan National Golf Course.

In short, during a time when many ministries were limited in scope, the work of Master’s Men continued. So, do we still need Master’s Men? Considering 2020, the answer should be obvious: absolutely! Join Master’s Men in their efforts to make a difference in and through the lives of Free Will Baptist men.

About the Writer: Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Email:


Master’s Men exists for the following purposes:

  • Discipleship. Master’s Men facilitates spiritual growth in men. Faithful teaching of the Word calls men to intimacy with God, purity in life, leadership in the home, faithful worship, mentoring, commitment to the mission of church and denomination, prayer for pastor(s), and a burden to share the gospel.

  • Stewardship. Members are taught to support the ministry of the local church and denomination financially. They learn that stewardship involves not only giving to the Lord’s work, but giving their lives to advance Christ’s Kingdom.

  • Soul Winning. Men are mobilized out of spiritual lethargy and challenged to influence their families, communities, and workplaces with the life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Edification. Master’s Men equips men to serve the Lord through the local church by developing them into spiritual leaders.

  • Fellowship. Men need the examples and encouragement other men provide. These relationships are one of the greatest benefits of the organization.

Does your church need a Master’s Men chapter? Visit or call 877-767-8039 to learn more.


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists