Johnnie Draughon spent 16 years running from God

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –– Johnnie Draughon, a men’s ministry specialist and director of Lay Speaking Ministries for the Virginia Annual Conference, has been an EMS (every man shares––evangelism, mission and spiritual life) member for 23 years and a legacy member of UM Men for five years. Legacy members are persons who pledge at least $120 a year ($10 a month).

“I have been an EMS member since 1990, following my first national conference at Purdue in 1989, and I became a legacy member in 2008,” said Draughon, “I pledge by having the money deducted from my checking account. It’s a painless way to give.

“I support men’s ministry because I have come to believe that if we are going to be successful in, ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,’ we have to start with men,” said Draughon.

Venture into the spiritual wilderness

In the 1960s Draughon said he left home and bought totally into drugs, sex and the rock-and-roll culture. “For about 16 years my goal was to put as much distance between myself and Christians as I possibly 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.

Breezy trip through the New Testament

“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. He says that organization of Christian military officers led him to study the Bible.
He has served as president of the local church and district units of UM Men, and he is a member of the Virginia Conference UM Men Board. He is also a regular participant in 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, and he is registered to attend the 2013 conference in Nashville.

In recommending Draughon as a men’s ministry specialist, Dr. J. Thomas Laney Jr., associate director of the Turner Center, said Draughon’s 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.”

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