· Strength for Service

Answering the bell


By Larry Coppock


In the summer of 2002, Strength for Service to God and Country devotional books rolled off the presses. Responding to 13-year-old Life Scout Evan Hunsberger’s request to serve as the sponsor for his Eagle Scout project, the commission answered the bell to help create a new and exciting chapter in the book’s well-documented history.


The pragmatic nature of the SFS ministry has been apparent. The SFS team responds to requests from military chaplains or books for the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen they serve. Their testimonials may be found on the SFS website.


Much of the success has hinged on chartered men’s groups and UM churches who raised funds to cover the cost of free book distributions.


As we celebrate the 16th anniversary, let us reflect on some 2017 accomplishments:


  • The 12-member SFS board met for the fourth time.
  • The ministry distributed 13,500 SFS books, including 3,500 to the Boy Scout Jamboree; 30 military chaplain distributions; 1,000 for Florida Annual Conference hurricane relief; 100 to Sisbee, Texas for hurricane relief; and 52 to Southerland Springs, Texas, following a church shooting.
  • The board completed its first audit and first annual report,
  • More than 3,800 copies of a BSA edition of SFS to God and Community have been sold since 2013
  • One dollar from SFS books sales goes to the commission.
  • Four people joined the Strength for Service Society, indicating they will remember this ministry in their wills.

To “answer the bell,” and for more information on how your church may participate, click here and download the 2018 Initiative forms.


On behalf of SFS President L.W. Smith, thank you for your gifts of time, talent and treasure that have made Strength for Service a significant ministry of the UMC.


Larry W. Coppock, director of scouting and top staff executive of SFS Inc.



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