Photo: Johnnie Draughon (center) receives a certificate as a men’s ministry specialist from the Rev. Milt Marks, pastor of Community UMC, and his wife, Marilyn.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –– Johnnie Draughon, a member of Community UMC in Virginia Beach and director of Lay Speaking Ministries for the Virginia Conference, has been certified as a men’s ministry specialist by the Nashville-based General Commission on United Methodist Men.
In the 1960s Draughon would have never guessed he would one day be placed in a role to help churches reach out to men. “I left home and bought totally into drugs, sex and the rock-and-roll culture,” says Draughon. “For about 16 years my goal was to put as much distance between myself and Christians as I possible could.”
That attitude changed 30 years ago when Draughon met Marilyn, his future wife. “Through that relationship I realized that I had read scriptural texts from several religions and occult groups and had been extremely critical of Christians but had never read the Bible,” says Draughon. “I read through the New Testament in about two weeks and then took nearly two years to struggle through the Old Testament. That was the beginning of an amazing journey of faith, including taking and leading DISCIPLE Bible studies, and walking and teaming in the Tidewater Emmaus Community.”
Draughon has also been involved in Officer’s Christian Fellowship of the USA since 1983; that organization of Christian military officers first led him to study the Bible.
Involvement in United Methodist Men
Just prior to meeting his wife, Draughon was introduced to a group of United Methodist Men in Jefferson, N.C. “I was impressed with the incredible love these men had for each other while preparing a monthly breakfast for the church –– and they were sober,” he says. “I have been involved with United Methodist Men in some capacity ever since.”
He has served as president of the local church and district units of United Methodist Men, and he is a member of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men Board. He is also a regular attendee of annual retreats at Blackstone, Va., as a discussion leader, song leader and soloist. He also attended national men’s gatherings in 1989, 2001 and 2005.
Draughon became a certified lay speaker in 1993, and he has taught nine lay speaking courses and five mini-academies. He was appointed conference director lay-speaking ministries in 2010, following seven years as a district director.
Draughon teaches an adult Sunday school class, leads a Wednesday evening worship service, and sings in the church and men’s choirs. He plans to lead several No-Man-Left-Behind training experiences within the conference.
Certification as men’s ministry specialist
Certification for the men’s ministry specialist takes 12-18 months and is completed with the guidance of the Turner Center for Church Development at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
“It is my pleasure to affirm in writing my strong endorsement of Johnnie Draughon to be a men’s ministry specialist, wrote Dr. J. Thomas Laney Jr., associate director of the Turner Center. “His personal faith story is a compelling one that enables him to reach out to men with a wider variety of backgrounds––even those who have experience alienation from church.”
“Johnnie is well prepared and has great energy in working through his multiple connections in the Virginia Conference in an expanded role as a men’s ministry specialist,” said Gil Hanke top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “We recommend him without reservation.”
Churches that would like Draughon to help them expand their ministries to men, may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org (cell phone 757-641-0444)