Photo 1: Edmund Spieker discusses the development of the new ministry during the official kickoff of Champions Arise.
Photo 2: Joining Spieker as the primary foundational staff are (from left) Andy Napier, Foster Braun, Kent Darcie and Paul Amos.
“We men need so much help,” said a Mozambican whose words helped inspire the TWR men’s discipleship initiative called Champions Arise.
The story of that touching encounter was told by ministry founder Edmund Spieker during the official kickoff of Champions Arise recently at the Cary offices of TWR (also known as Trans World Radio). And just what kind of help for men are Spieker, that earnest audience member in Mozambique and other supporters of the new initiative talking about? They believe that men need focused prayer and Bible-based coaching to become the husbands, fathers and steadfast “champions” that God wants them to be.
“In cooperation with other men’s ministries, we utilize Christ-centered, grace-oriented content and emerging technologies to develop, translate, produce, distribute, and use radio and other media for teaching and coaching men throughout the world,” Spieker said.
Champions Arise not only is a radio program but also is a multifaceted discipleship initiative steeped in prayer and “connecting on the ground with churches and other men’s ministries,” said Spieker, a former TWR international director who now leads pastor-care conferences and is the husband of Marli Spieker, founder of TWR’s Project Hannah women’s ministry.
He was joined on the speakers platform by Foster Braun and Kent Darcie, writers and hosts of the ministry’s radio program; Lauren Libby, president of TWR; and Lonnie Berger, whose Every Man a Warrior books form the basis of several episodes of the radio program. Paul Amos, Champions Arise administrator, said 19 of the 52 pilot episodes of the radio program are already playing on the ministry’s website and on twr360.org. TWR national partners in the Netherlands and Canada are cooperating financially with the ministry, and multilingual pilot projects are underway in South Africa, Brazil, India and Indonesia.
Berger emphasized a paradox also cited by Spieker and others during the kickoff: Effective men’s ministry often develops in response to women’s concerns. He told about a day when he took time to pray and try to understand why his Bible-study series had sold nearly 50,000 copies in 3½ years even though the publisher had projected sales less than half that.
“And the Lord spoke to me and said, seriously now, he said, ‘Lonnie, it’s not you. Millions of Christian women have been begging me for decades, “God, would you please help men. Help them to be better husbands, help them to be better fathers, help them to be the spiritual leader of the family.”' … It’s really not us but God who is involved in it.”
Berger cited statistics to help make the case for why outreach of this kind is critical: Of every 10 men in the Church, nine have children who leave the Church; eight are not satisfied with their jobs; six are not able to pay the minimum on credit-card bills; at least five have major problems with pornography use; and four get divorced.
An oft-quoted observation may be true, Berger said, that all of the world’s problems can be traced to a group of men or even one man who didn’t “man up” and be who God wanted him to be. Champions Arise is privileged to help train millions of men to guide their children, love their wives, manage money wisely, fight to stay morally pure and do what’s right in hard times, he said.
More information about the initiative is available on the ministry’s website, championsarise.org.