The Free Methodist Church –USA announces the appointment of Gateway Conference Superintendent Ben Tolly as the new director of Men’s Ministries International. Tolly served previously at Crossroads Community Church in Michigan and was the founding pastor of the Bridge Church in Illinois.
“Men’s Ministries International has a venerable history of mobilizing the church, and especially men in our churches, to share the good news of Jesus with skill and joy,” Bishop David Kendall said. “I am appreciative of the leadership of Dr. Jeff Johnson over the past years, and now, in this time of transition, I am excited to anticipate the shaping of MMI with the vision and gifts of Superintendent Ben Tolly. I am praying for a new fruitfulness in discipling men for Jesus in ways that will bless their homes, churches, communities and the world.”
Tolly received his master’s degree in leadership and ministry from Greenville University. In April, he was elected to a second term as the superintendent of the Gateway Conference. During the first term, Gateway Conference experienced three straight years of worship attendance growth, planted new churches, began new Latino ministries and Central African ministries, and achieved affiliations with African-American churches. Tolly has served as a Greenville University trustee and currently serves on the Greenville Briner School of Business Advisory Board and the Edwardsville YMCA Board of Directors. He also coordinates the Wesleyan Holiness Connection for the Missouri Illinois Region.
His wife, Julie, is employed by the U.S. Defense Department, and they have two daughters in college, Willow and Winter. They enjoy beach vacations with both sides of the family every year. Ben regularly competes in the Masters Division of the Scottish Games throwing cabers and other heavy objects for fun.
When asked what he sees in the near future for Men’s Ministries International, Tolly replied, “We will have a renewed emphasis on providing guidance and resources for creating men’s small groups at the local level, support indigenous ministry personnel in new world regions, employ men from diverse regions and culture, and create an online app that positively supports spiritual development for men.”
He also emphasized the importance of collaborating with existing men’s ministries organized by likeminded denominations and parachurch organizations that emphasize a Wesleyan view of Scripture.
Interestingly, Tolly also stated, “It is important that we set forth the ideals that our denominational founder B.T. Roberts upheld in regard to women’s leadership in ministry as well. Any reading list we promote for our men will include the updated ‘Ordaining Woman’ book. Wesleyan men seek to lift the lives of all, not some.”
Tolly expressed thankfulness for the foundation that Mid-America Conference Superintendent Jeff Johnson has laid as the previous director. Men’s Ministries International will continue to promote Johnson’s books and devotionals as well as utilize him as the evangelism and discipleship director for MMI.
Men’s Ministries International will have a booth at General Conference 2019 in Orlando, Florida. At GC19, MMI will also elect officers and board members for the next quadrennium.