Welcome to the Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Men. I hope you find our website helpful and informative. If you have questions about Men’s Ministry in the United Methodist Church, feel free to email me at (

Criag McGregor

NICUMM Conference President

(630) 346-2239


Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Men

Annual Report for 2023

President George Groves

The year 2023 had the NICUMM continuing to recover from the COVID shutdowns within our new districts organization while reaching out in ministry and mission to help others to know and grow in Christ.  At the NICUMM Lenten annual meeting, the Rev. Britney Isaac, Lake North District Superintendent, shared her message – Living by Faith and Mark Dehority, North Central Jurisdiction UMM President, discussed the District Summit meetings, a system being developed to re-energize the men’s leadership in the districts (and churches).  A beta version District Summit was hosted by the Prairie South district in May.

Our Spiritual Congress and our mission efforts continue to be focal points for our men.  The topic of Spiritual Congress 2023 was “Relevant Conversations”.  Our keynote speaker, Major General John L. Borling (USAF ret.) was a highly decorated fighter pilot, POW at the Hanoi Hilton, served 33 years in high-level command and staff positions, is an author and public speaker.  Other noted speakers for the weekend included Mark Dehority, NCJUMM JP, Rev Fabiola Grandon-Mayer, Rev Char Hoffmann, Ken Hudgins, Rev Mark Lubbock, Deployed Staff GCUMM, Gene Williams, and Mark Manzi.  Dan Holmes provided us with special music Saturday evening.  There was an undertone of Small Group ministry as the Mighty Men of Prayer study was started for the entire group, and some men continued with the study after the retreat.

Over the last few years, the GCUMM launched a new brand and website at  These new programs were presented at NICUMM conference, district and local unit meetings, as well as, at the NICUMM display at the annual conference.  Many men started using the Live Bold app as part of their individual spiritual journey.  With the resignation of the General Secretary of the GCUMM in late 2023, these programs have been put on hold.  The NICUMM is awaiting outcome of these changes.

District Activities are reaching men for Christ.  Some of our 2023 highlights for the conference and common in all districts are:

  • The Conference and District UMM are having in-person meetings, with some ZOOM or livestreamed meetings.
  • Continued the 2018-2021 plan of work for the NICUMM, with minor changes for 2022 and 2023.
  • Held the 63th Spiritual Congress at Williams Bay Wisconsin in September.
  • Men’s Ministry Specialist: NICUMM have four men certified as MMS. 
  • EMS/Legacy Builders & Charters, were a major emphasis to invite men to become involved in Men’s Ministry, especially past due memberships.
  • Meals for Millions/Society of St. Andrews (SoSA), continues as a major Mission Program and the NIC was recognized again as the 2023 Top Conference for donations to SoSA,.
  • Scouting Ministries Programs and Reaching out to younger men and women. The United Methodist Men Supports, with National Memorandums of Understanding, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.  As the BSA was working toward a settlement of its bankruptcy case, Our Conference Scouting Coordinator worked to develop a new relationship that could still involve our churches in serving the youth and young adults in our community with Scouting and other youth serving organizations.  We developed an SSPCC, NFP which is a Small, Single-Purpose, Community Corporation as a Not-For-Profit corporation.  This corporation would charter 3 to 10 units from various churches and sign Facilities Use Agreements for meeting space and storage with the individual church.
  • The Conference Scouting Coordinator worked with the conference insurance broker to submit the BSA Youth Protection Training program to the Conference Liability Insurance Carrier, Philadelphia for evaluation.   The result is that our Conference and our Churches can consider Adult Members of BSA as Youth Protection Trained and that there should be no need to require additional Safe Sanctuary of Safe Gatherings training.
  • The Scouting Coordinator met with Bishop Dan Schwerin twice during the year to discuss Scouting in our churches. At the Bishop’s request the Scouting Coordinator has formed an Ad hoc Committee to provide resources to those churches and individuals requesting help in discerning the amount that they should pledge to the Conference for the BSA Survivors Fund,
  • The conference Prayer Advocate is working with the District Presidents to establish district Prayer Advocates in the effort build a team to establish Prayer Advocates in churches.  We have reached the point of realizing that helping men learn to pray and to seek to become a disciple of Jesus, is every man’s responsibility and not the province of a special few.  The Mighty Men of Prayer small group study is being pursued by men in the conference.
  • At Spiritual Congress 2023, Herb John, NICUMM Prayer Advocate and past Aurora District President, received the Jean Bush Award for leadership in men’s ministry.  His family members were present for the awards ceremony.

Lake North District: President, Open

  • The LN district hosted the NICUMM Annual Meeting on March 25, 2023 at the Kingswood UMC in Buffalo Grove, IL.
  • The district has 6 Chartered churches and 12 EMS members.
  • The Lake North District has no district UMM officers.

Lake South District:  President, Jim Simmons

  • Continued a Monday evening District Men’s Bible Study.
  • A District Celebration Dinner Event was held in August to honor three men and one woman, plus 31 years of the Bible Study Program.
  • Seven District meetings including the Celebration event were held in 2023.
  • Thirteen churches have active United Methodist Men Chartered Units in the District and across the district 54 Men have active EMS memberships.
  • A Special Event was held in October that included a Potato Drop sponsored by the New Lenox Men.
  • The New Lenox Men Gleaning ministry in conjunction with the Westmont Farm and Garden Center distributed 1131 crates of various vegetables and 127 bins of sweet corn (approx. 70,000 ears) to various local food pantries.  Additionally they distributed the surplus from the New Lenox Food Pantry to local pantries.

Prairie Central District:  President, Jim Nelson

  • Continued to re-establish an Executive Committee
  • Many of the men’s groups are struggling to get back to normal since the pandemic. They are slowly developing a “new normal”.
  • The district has 15 Chartered churches and 44 EMS members.
  • Developed Faith ministry through bible studies.
  • Supported SoSA, through fundraisers and donations, and collected food for a food pantry.  Produce from a church garden used to feed the hungry.
  • UMM unit participates in the local community by donating time material and talents in the form of handy man jobs for the homeless shelter program for women and children. The men are also involved in mission work through the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) in Tennessee

Prairie North District:  President, Dave Hilton

  • March 22 The Prairie North District had their Spring Communion and worship service hosted by Grace UMC Approximately 30 attending.  The guest Speaker was DS Rev. Fabiola Grandon Mayor.  During this session the district Constitution and By-laws were voted on and accepted.
  • March 17 2023, they held the Harmony for Hunger Concert raising $3,472 for the Society of St Andrew Meals for Millions.  They also raised $13,000 for local food pantries in the Prairie North District.
  • October 28th Prairie North District and Grace UMC hosted a Potato drop.  Distributing 40,000# of potatoes in 90 minutes,
  • November, Grace UMC, hosted the District Fall Communion Service.  The guest speaker was the new DS Rev.Dr.Hwa-Young Chong.  There were 40 in attendance.  The offering raised $3964.23 for Society of St Andrew Meals for Millions.
  • The Prairie North District will be sending a total of $7,500 this year to Society of St. Andrews Meals for Millions program.  The Society of St. Andrews noted that the Prairie North District would have been second on the list of conferences for contributions to the Society in 2022. 
  •  The district has 8 Chartered churches and 16 EMS members.

Prairie South District: President, Open

  • The district and Rev Brian Gilbert, DS hosted a beta version of the NCJUMM District Summits on May 13 at Trinity UMC in Yorkville IL.  Approx. 20 men, laity and clergy, attended.
  • The district has 8 Chartered churches and 8 EMS members.
  • Continued to provide hunger relief through various pantries and gleaning sweet corn, and countless garden vegetables.

With the shutdown of our churches in March of 2020, most of our Men’s events that were based on meetings, fellowship and/or group missions were put on hold at our local churches.  During this time many church charters and EMS memberships lapsed.  Men have dropped away from the UMM organizations and our churches.  In 2022 and 2023, our churches got back to normal, however many of our UMM units lost momentum, leadership and members.  For 2023 we worked to reestablish, renew and/or replace our men’s ministries with the use of the new Men’s Ministry products.  

For the NICUMM,

George Groves

Conference UMM President


Small Group Ministries

Small groups may be one of the most frequently touted and often underutilized tools for spiritual growth. There are thousands of resources available on small groups and many hundreds of resources for small groups. Early in the Methodist movement John Wesley recognized the need for laity to disciple laity. The United Methodist Men support this discipling effort by having men disciple men through small groups.  The following are a few resources used by the Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Men.

One book for a group that is recommended and used by national UMM leadership, and that I strongly recommend, is The Class Meeting by Kevin M Watson. This is an eight-week book study based on the first Wesleyan small groups, called class meetings.  Not only does this book talk about the history of the Methodist Church and the importance of class meetings to the growth of the church but it teaches how to run a small group or class meeting with guides and questions at the end of each chapter.  At the end of eight weeks, you’ll be in a class meeting. You can find information and order the books at the publishers –  You can run this study with just the book, or you can get some videos from to use each week.


Another small group recommended offering is an eight-week prayer study developed by the Mighty Men of PrayerMighty Men of Prayer – The Mighty Men Movement. This study leads men through weekly videos and a study guide that teaches men how to pray with discussions and some easy, yet powerful activities. We UMM in the North Central Jurisdiction are concentrating on becoming men of prayer and are working to get small groups of men through this prayer study.  Many of the NCJUMM and NICUMM leadership have been through this study.  The Mighty Men Movement, “A California Network of Ministry To Men” a prayer driven ministry, has been formed to utilize the power of synergy, and to become a catalyst for building disciples as we partner with, and to become an asset for, the church. Working together in unity, men’s lives can and will be transformed to become men of legacy; impacting their families, churches, communities, and the following generations.  Though this is only an eight-week study, we know one group that extended another 17 weeks as they also went through the book on which the videos were based Transforming Prayer by Daniel Henderson (available on Amazon).

MIGHTY MEN OF PRAYER WEBSITE – Gulf South Men (No coupon code required to order)

There are many other small group resources out there to choose from. For example, you can do a short-term small group on the book Three Simple Rules – A Wesleyan Way of Living by Ruben P Job. At the end of each chapter there are study questions that you can use to lead the group discussion.  Don’t be confused, even though it’s three simple rules I recommend that you allow for four or five meetings to cover the introduction and conclusion sections. Another book I recommend is the pocket guide John Wesley’s Message Today by Levitt H Weems, Jr.  This is a twelve-week course and again at the end of each short chapter there are three questions that can be discussed by the group.  I found this booklet extremely valuable in explaining some of the more basic Wesleyan principles.  Both of these books are available through Cokesbury (Bibles, Books, Church Supplies, Curriculum, Studies | Cokesbury).

If you need help facilitating or setting up a small group, Cokesbury has many resources to choose from – just search ‘small groups’ on their website.