UMM PRESIDENT GEORGE GROVES SAYS “WELCOME! ” AND INVITES YOU TO SPIRITUAL CONGRESS 2022 (Access materials from Laity Convocation 2022 here as well – “The Class Meeting & Mighty Men of Prayer”)

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 in the United Methodist Church feel free to contact me at (

MEN OF THE NORTHERN ILLINOIS CONFERENCE, I’m excited to invite you to join the Northern Illinois Conference UMM for the Spiritual Congress (annual men’s spiritual retreat) to be held September 16-18th in Williams Bay, WI on scenic Lake Geneva.  Spiritual Congress is presented by the NICUMM for spiritual development, training and fellowship with brothers from around the conference.  After two years of not being able to meet because of COVID, I’m proud that this year we are returning to meeting in person.  The topic of this year’s Spiritual Congress is “Making Spiritual Life Relevant and Sustainable”. 

This year we will have multiple noted speakers on a variety of topics, including:

  • Rev. Dr Norval Brown, Senior pastor at Cary UMC, a favorite spiritual leader of the NICUMM
  • Rev. Nancy Blade – Leader of the Northern Illinois Conference Green Task Force. How to have a relevant and sustainable church life from an environmental standpoint.
  • Rev. Chris Walters – President, United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference. Encouraging lifelong generosity through sustainable investing.
  • Rev. Char Hoffmann – Senior Pastor of Hebron UMC, a spiritual leader of our NICUMM and the spiritual leader of the NCJUMM Executive Committee.
  • Rev. Jeffry Bross – Prairie Central District Superintendent
  • Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff of the GCUMM, a national speaker, trainer and leader in men’s ministry will talk about the new United Men’s Ministry Programs and direction of the UMM.
  • Steve Nailor, Past National President of the UMM and current President of the UMM Foundation and GCUMM Board Member
  • There will also be information on Youth Services (aka Scouting), Prayers at the Point, Mighty Men of Prayer, and etc. 
  • Special Music will be provided by the Alleluia Quartet

Saturday afternoon we will all be mass packing 10,000 nutritious meals for Kids Around the World to be shipped to needy kids around the world.

COVID:  Mask wearing is not required.  Seating in the session will have a section for those attendees who prefer to wear masks.  The area and dining hall is open for social safe distancing.

Please prayerfully consider committing to this weekend of spiritual rejuvenation. For those of you who have attended before, you know that it is sure to be a spirit-filled, life-changing weekend, so bring another man with you –  Every Man bring a Man.  Older men should bring their sons or younger men from their church.  Younger men should bring their dads or other men from your church.  You don’t need to be an active member of the UMM to attend.  The cost for attending this for the weekend, Friday evening through Sunday morning, finishing with church, is $190.00 which includes everything – lodging, food, some outdoor activities and the conference. (Friday/Saturday and Saturday rates are available.)

Mike McIntosh, St. Andrew UMC, has testified about Spiritual Congress: “It’s cathartic and recharges my batteries every year.”… “This is a non-judgmental gathering, where I get to be me around other men.”… “I am thankful for the time and the conversations with other men at the Spiritual Congress that has helped cement my faith.”… “I (first) went to Spiritual Congress, a broken man. There I met men who were diametric opposites from me. They accepted me for who I am.”… “Every year some part of me grows.”

This is an event you won’t want to miss.  Print out the Flyer and put it on the bulletin boards in your church.  Invite your friends or a group of men and bring a carload for the weekend, or for a single day.  Please register each attendee by September 9 so we can have housing and meals available.

 See you at Williams Bay!

George Groves, Northern Illinois Conference, UMM Conference 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.