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Maximized Manhood and the Christian Men’s Network thirty years later

Joann Cole Webster © D.P. Clarke
Joann Cole Webster © D.P. Clarke
Joann Cole Webster © D.P. Clarke

Dr. Edwin Louis Cole is known as "the father of the Christian men's movement." At the start of his men’s ministry, Cole’s daughter Joann told him she thought sex sins would be the “problem of the church in the ‘80’s.” What has become of his quest to train men of God to be all they could be for Jesus? How did it all begin?

In February 1980, Dr. Cole was impressed with the idea that Israel’s five sins, listed in Isaiah 41:15, were keeping men from their own promised land – specifically the sin of fornication. He shared those concerns at a men’s conference in Oregon. Those present were so moved that within weeks they held a citywide rally for men. Thus a movement was born. Four years later the first National Christian Men’s Event took place in Houston, Texas, drawing over 7,000 men.

Dr. Cole summed his mission up this way, “I have been called to speak with a prophetic voice to the men of this generation and commissioned with a ministry majoring in men to declare a standard for manhood, and that standard is that ‘Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.’”

To help men become like Christ, Dr. Cole wrote Maximized Manhood. He also founded the Christian Men's Network (CMN), whose focus is on building churches, especially abroad. According to Rev. Paul Louis Cole, Dr. Cole’s son and current CMN President, the reason for this focus is because CMN believes strong men will foster strong families which in turn will create strong churches. It was through CMN that another leading Christian men’s ministry, Promise Keeper’s, was started.

In 1997, Dr. Cole introduced the MAJORING IN MEN® curriculum. It includes ten of his books with a corresponding workbook. In addition to his signature work, some of the titles are “Courage,” “Power of Potential,” Real Men,” “Sexual Integrity,” “Unique Women,” and “Strong Men in Tough Times.” The curriculum has been used by over 8,000,000 men.

A few months before Dr. Cole passed in 2002, he updated Maximized Manhood. In “Maximized Manhood: a Guide to Family Survival” there are five additional chapters he believed would strengthen the work for the next generation. Now, through the efforts of Joann Cole Webster and her brother, their father’s legacy is ongoing. CMN continues to host men’s conferences around the world. To see a list of their upcoming events go here.

On the eve of Father’s Day, it is fitting to look back on the man and ministry which have helped millions of men become better husbands and fathers. Dr. Cole’s wife Nancy once said, "This is a book [Maximized Manhood] to men but for women – because when a man changes, the entire family is blessed. Every woman should read this book." Wives, mothers and children can be grateful to his family for keeping the movement alive.

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