In early 1942, the Methodist Publishing House wanted to provide devotional material for soldiers and sailors departing U.S. soil for battles across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They asked Army Chaplain Norman Nygaard to recruit 365 church leaders to write one-page devotions for a book of daily devotions to be named Strength for Service to God and Country. Local church groups provided World War II and Korean troops with one million copies of the pocket-sized books. The publication was discontinued in 1953. In 2001, Evan Hunsberger, a California Boy Scout, saw a tattered copy of the book on the night stand of his grandfather. He was impressed by how much the book meant to the former World War II corpsman. Evan republished the book as an Eagle Scout project. With the assistance of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, Evan's modest effort to provide books to men and women in a California naval base, has resulted in the publication of 470,000 copies sent primarily to military chaplains for distribution to their troops.
Goals & Objectives
With fewer headlines about military action, the need for the books continues, but the commission has not been able to fulfill all requests from chaplains.
Our goal is to provide an additional 500,000 free copies of Strength For Service to God and Country to our military by 2016.
1. Since 2002, Strength for Service to God and Country has been distributed to more than 470,000 people.
2. The Strength for Service website (strengthforservice.org) includes the devotionals from the book.
3. In 2013, military chaplains continue to request large numbers of books, but because of declining interest, few chaplains receive the number of books requested.
4. Strength for Service is a member of America Supports You, a Department of Defense program recognizing citizens' support for our military.
5. Strength for Service volunteers travel to events informing chaplains about the book and encourage churches and individuals to fund the effort to provide free books to the military.
6. The Strength for Service team provides posters and bulletin inserts for local churches to develop A Strength for Service Sunday to raise funds for the devotional books.