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Veteran United Methodist Men's leader becomes top executive

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The Rev. David C. Adams
March 21, 2006

By J. Richard Peck*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) ?? The Rev. David C. Adams, former president of Tennessee Conference United Methodist Men and pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Tenn., has been elected top staff executive of the Commission on United Methodist Men.

Elected by the 23-member commission, Adams, 56, will assume leadership of an eight-member Nashville staff June 19.

In 1987, when Adams was elected president of the Tennessee Conference’s United Methodist Men, the organization occupied last place in the number of new members. By 1990, the conference led the nation in growth. Over the same period of time, United Methodist Men went from using $2,000 in conference apportionment monies to raising more than $40,000.

While serving as a conference president, Adams was elected treasurer of the National Association of Conference Presidents. He was elected to the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in 1992 and served as secretary of the men’s division during the 1993-96 quadrennium. He also served as a delegate to the 1992 General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

Working as an insurance salesman after graduating from Belmont University in Nashville, Adams said he received a call to the ministry while attending a 1994 meeting of United Methodist Men.

Following his 1999 graduation from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., he was appointed associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Shelbyville, Tenn. In 2000, he was appointed to Monterey United Methodist Church, and he was named to the 240-member Lynchburg Church in 2003.

Key challenges

One of the challenges of the 9-year-old commission is finding ways to reach unchurched men. Adams understands that challenge.

“I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church at age 12 and had no relationship with a church from that time to age 23, when I started dating my wife, Joyce,” he said. She happened to be a United Methodist, and from that time, Adams served as chairman of nearly every local church committee.

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Bishop William W. Morris
The Commission on United Methodist Men must find ways to relate to the younger generation without losing its base of older men, Adams said.

Noting the absence of young men in the pews and in chapters of United Methodist Men, he suggested following an Emmaus saying, “Make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ.”

“We must find ways to enjoin both generations in order to move forward in the ministry of men,” he said. “Finding a common purpose and goal to unite men of all ages would enable United Methodist Men to wake up to their potential for Jesus Christ.”

One of Adams’ concerns is for children who have no fathers. “We live in a culture where 50 percent of all families do not have a father in the home,” he said. “Men need to be involved as role models in the passage of boys into manhood.” The commission recently signed a partnership agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters to encourage men to mentor children of incarcerated adults.

Transition in leaders

Bishop William W. Morris has been serving as interim top staff executive for the commission since the Rev. Joseph Harris resigned last June to take a position in the Oklahoma Area as assistant to the bishop and director of communications.

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Gilbert Hanke
Adams’ election was announced by Gilbert Hanke, president of the Commission on United Methodist Men.

“The commission welcomes David as the newest member and new leader of our staff,” Hanke said. “We are excited with the energy, vision and experience he brings to this vital ministry of the church.

“I also want to formally thank Bishop William Morris, who has served as general secretary on an interim basis,” Hanke said. “He has brought calm and caring guidance as we transitioned to a new building and now to a new general secretary. He is truly a servant leader of the church.”

“ As the interim general secretary of the commission, I welcome the Rev. David Adams to his new position,” Morris said. “I look forward to his leadership in the purpose of the commission, namely making Christ central in the lives of men.”

Adams is expected to be appointed to the commission by Bishop Richard Wills at the conclusion of the June session of the Tennessee Annual Conference.

Said Adams: “It’s an honor and a privilege to work for Jesus Christ through the ministry of the General Commission of United Methodist Men.”

*Peck is the communications coordinator for the Nashville-based General Commission on United Methodist Men.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or

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