Act Like Men
Men’s Leadership Podcast
#2: History and Why of Men’s Ministry Catalyst
The Need: Out of Dr. Jim Grassi’s personal life transformation, God called him to help other men who were pursing success over significance — especially with the cost of that pursuit being his wife and two sons. Hear about his radical life transformation.
The Reason: Men typically pursue that which can be measured — success at work and our hobbies. God is calling us into relationship with Him and Spiritual leadership in with our family, our community, workplace and of course our church — all of which is very difficult to measure success or check a box.
The Resources: Dr. Jim Grassi, our Founder has written 18 books at this time. However, one that really speaks to this life transformation is “Act Like Men”. It was written to address the socially changing model of the Biblical man.
The Result: We are called to proactively make a difference in the world around us as authentic, biblically based men of God.
- What one thing am I doing in my family, neighborhood, and workplace to share God’s love that the Holy Spirit can use to transform their life?
- What men do I have — or could I have — around me that I need to be more intentional with?
00;16;16;25 – 00;16;56;22
Welcome to act like Men, Men’s Leadership Podcast. A podcast designed to be a resource to pastors and men’s ministry leaders alike. As they build out an engaging ministry with their men. Why do we do this? Well, we do it because every man deserves an opportunity to become an authentic, biblically based man of God. Act Like Men Podcast is sponsored by Men’s Ministry Catalyst a ministry in its 41st year and designed to do exactly what we just said guide church leadership as they build out an engaging ministry with their men Good day, everyone.
00;16;57;06 – 00;17;08;09
My name is Wendell Morton. I am the executive director of Men’s Ministry Catalyst. It’s great to have you here today. I also want to introduce you to my co-host, Dale Eudy. Hi, Dale, welcome to the podcast.
00;17;08;15 – 00;17;14;24
Great to be with you, Wendell. And so looking forward to hearing Dr. Grassi tell us about where it all began.
00;17;16;04 – 00;17;41;05
Hey, man. Today, we are blessed, as Dale alluded to, have the founder and president of the Board of Men’s Ministry Catalyst. With us today, Dr. Jim Grassi. Jim has a lot of accolades behind before and above his name. He’s a hall of Fame fisherman. He’s a record bow hunter. He’s written seven who has written 18 books, 80 about to be published.
00;17;42;03 – 00;18;08;29
And ultimately, God changed his life. And he started what we now know today is men’s ministry catalyst. So we’re excited to have Dr. Jim on the call with us today. Jim. Dr. Dr. Grassi, why don’t you just share for those who may not know, and I’m not sure who that would be, but for those who may not know you, your background growing up years, early career, some of the things that have happened in your life that they would be interested in.
00;18;10;00 – 00;18;41;17
So, first of all, it’s a privilege to be with you and Dale two of my favorite people in men’s ministry. Thank you for the opportunity. Yeah. I grew up in East Oakland during a tumultuous time in that area of the country. And through those early experiences in life, there were many things I had to learn about relationships and getting along with folks and a number of things like that.
00;18;41;18 – 00;19;22;05
I met my wife in high school and we married five years after I met her. And I had a number of jobs in the Bay Area. I was a park administrator for ten years and then a city manager for ten years. And through those experiences, I realized that a lot of the guys like myself, grew up with a kind of a distorted image of what Christianity might be and what certainly how we define success.
00;19;23;06 – 00;19;52;08
My dad was a blue collar worker. He grew up in a very dysfunctional family. He had no notion, nor did my mom, who also grew up in a dysfunctional family of what parenting was all about. Near they have this first born male on either side of the family with a distinct, inquisitive mind and a desire to slay the world.
00;19;52;08 – 00;20;20;00
And they they were really challenged. I’m sure but that all that led to realizing that there were things in my life which were right and that most importantly, God was calling me to to look at my life through his perspective rather than my own.
00;20;21;24 – 00;20;42;21
What a story. Dale, I know that as we’ve gotten to know Dr. Grassi, it’s been interesting to see based on what he describes as his history, how we know his presence and how what we believe to be his future. And it’s a it’s a work of God and as you’ve seen in many other people as well, right, Dale?
00;20;43;01 – 00;20;54;29
That’s right. You know, and again, Jim starred in nature itself and organizing that park and then leading in the city. And you see his leadership skills came out real early in his ministry, that’s for sure.
00;20;55;17 – 00;21;14;25
That is that’s a fact. Jim, I know you’ve you had a major transformation period in your life. These are led up to that. Even with all the success you had and married to a wonderful sweet lady and couple of young boys. Do you want to describe any of that? Tell us what happened.
00;21;15;09 – 00;21;46;16
Sure. I again, as I said, I had the wrong perspective, perspective of what success might be. I was looking at it from more worldly standpoint because many of my colleagues were very successful men, and it was about having more building bigger, outdoing the neighbors. It was about possessions and power, fame and fortune. And I got hooked on that.
00;21;47;03 – 00;22;22;23
And so my career blossomed very quickly because of the education I had and master’s degree in business. And on and on. And as I pursued fishing and hunting and TV and teaching out of college part time and all these things that I thought were so important to build a career and build a name that I was really striving to be important rather than do what was important.
00;22;23;20 – 00;22;46;08
And so in 1978, my wife said, I looked at your busy calendar and I found a weekend. You weren’t doing anything, you know, I signed us up for a parenting conference and I go, Who wants to go to that? You’re doing a great job. He, you know, because she was doing most of the work. She was doing the heavy lifting.
00;22;46;26 – 00;23;16;03
I was the absentee father or what I call a flashlight parent. I’d come in and after night meetings that I’d have and get the flashlight on in their bedroom and see how these twins were growing and what they were doing and believe that having quality time was enough that, you know, whether we went fishing or whatever we did, we did well and heartily and with great vigor.
00;23;16;27 – 00;24;10;27
And then then they wouldn’t see me for a few days because I was trying to be important. And so we went to this conference. Jim Dobson was a speaker. He was early in his ministry. And I left that conference, a changed man. I no longer saw life as trying to be important but to do what was important. So everything that I just mentioned of my past, I quit cold turkey I remember writing personal letters to 24 sponsors I had in the fishing industry saying I was no longer going to be doing TV and fishing tournaments and trying to essentially be involved in promoting their brands.
00;24;11;11 – 00;24;42;16
The brand I was going to be promoting was Jesus Christ, and that he had led me to start a new ministry called Let’s Go Fishing to help equip and challenge men that were just like me, guys that were broken, that had the wrong sense of priorities. And it would be a father son ministry. And it was interesting that about 20 of those sponsors came back and said, No, you’re doing something that we actually commend.
00;24;42;16 – 00;24;48;15
There’s enough pro fishermen out there. We want to continue to sponsor you. So that was amazing.
00;24;49;01 – 00;25;16;24
That’s amazing. That’s great. That’s great, Jim. And I know you went through a transition period of you left Park Rec, you went to the city, you started the ministry. Talk to me about some of the early days what were you doing from a ministry standpoint? How did how did that develop and what kind of support did you have, not just financially, but, you know, people that would come alongside of you to try to help?
00;25;16;24 – 00;25;21;12
You already mentioned 20 of the sponsors stayed with you. What else happened there?
00;25;21;26 – 00;25;56;14
Well, I soon found that fishing for fish and doing sports shows and I mean being in front of crowds of five 10,000 people still doing my fishing thing. I even know that most of the funds went into the ministry was not really what my calling was. My calling was to be a fisher of men Matthew for 18 when Jesus said Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
00;25;57;13 – 00;26;51;09
And so I pretty much began to drop all the the fishing components fishing for fish that is including sports show appearances and all that kind of thing, which was early part of our ministry but probably the most transformational experience was that in 1981 when our ministry first started, I found out I had a non malignant brain tumor that was five centimeters pressing on my brainstem, causing my heart to stop and I had to go in for a major surgery, nine and a half hours and then a three and a half hour follow up surgery and I mean tell you when you’re 37 and they’re having you sign papers saying you may not make it and
00;26;51;09 – 00;27;24;21
I’m going but gee God I just found out the real secret of life and that’s a relationship with you. And being the great husband and father that you’ve told us to be. And in your word, and here I am about ready to check out and to hug those twins twin boys that we had for the last time, I thought, and going to a hospital and undergoing that surgery was transformational.
00;27;24;21 – 00;27;41;21
And it just underscored everything that God had told me about life in about living in priorities and balance and what truly is success. And that’s following God’s plan for your life.
00;27;43;13 – 00;28;07;12
That’s great. Good story. I love how God got a hold of you. It was a 360 pivot in your life. You recognized going into a weekend that this is who I am or this is what I do, and I’m not sure I really need to be here. Walk it out now. If I don’t make some serious changes, you know, God is not going to be a happy man with me.
00;28;07;12 – 00;28;24;21
So good for you for doing that. And thank God the surgery went well and you’ve you’ve lived a tremendously full life and a lot more to come. So we’re, we’re really grateful for all that. We’re blessed with the result.
00;28;26;29 – 00;28;56;04
I remember a window after my surgery and during recovery, reading that verse in the Bible that Paul wrote when he was going through a lot of suffering, a lot of physical stress. We don’t know exactly all the things he had, but he said, I would like to live on, but if I am to do so, I want to do so for the Lord.
00;28;56;24 – 00;29;31;13
And he basically underscored the fact that he said it would be better to go home and be with Jesus. But if I am to live on, I want to make my life count. And so I took the passion, the wisdom God gave me, the experiences he’s given me to underscore those and to live on and to try to do it, for God’s sake, where the glory of God rather than the glory of myself.
00;29;33;14 – 00;29;49;15
What a great insight, Jim. You know, that that aspect of kind of humbling before God and realizing the way I’ve been doing it has been my way. I want to focus on your way in, and the overall thought is I’m still glad Jesus calls Fishman to follow him.
00;29;50;03 – 00;29;50;23
00;29;51;14 – 00;29;53;17
Remember you, man.
00;29;53;19 – 00;30;02;01
Let’s do a pause. The doggone dogs out here, I got my door closed, and she’s working on.
00;30;02;03 – 00;30;02;24
That can be done.
00;30;04;23 – 00;30;24;05
In the gym. I know. One of the fun things you had early on was your sons to be involved with you. I I know they’re both musicians. Talk a little bit about that. What was I like as a dad? And and you give some hope to some men who don’t have their kids involved in their lives?
00;30;25;06 – 00;31;03;25
Yeah, as as a youth, I wasn’t musically inclined at all. I tried six different instruments, couldn’t play any of them. Well, and so but I had a ear for music, and I loved music. I loved taking in college music appreciation classes and all that. And so God blessed us with twins after we lost to before birth. And come to find out at an early age, I noticed that these boys had a unique harmony.
00;31;04;19 – 00;31;26;14
They’d sing along with Bert and Ernie Records initially, and it got into country music and we’d be working on my boat polishing my boat, and they’d be singing these country songs in perfect harmony. And I realized that was a gift from God. I thought they I was hoping they’d be an athlete because I never had a chance to do that.
00;31;26;14 – 00;32;16;25
I started work and went to 13 to get out of the city but I could I knew that they had a gift, and so we embraced the gift. God used it by the time we started the ministry, they were 11 and they were already doing leading the worship time and it wasn’t just a cute thing. They were actually doing it and doing it well and they had a lot of coaching from some excellent Christian artists and worship leaders and I’m proud to say that God bless them and both those boys now or songwriters have been at Carnegie Hall twice.
00;32;18;02 – 00;32;48;23
I lead two different churches megachurches in their worship, and they do a great job, but they were a big part of our ministry and we did a, I think it was 142 father child conferences during their first part of the ministry. 142 at different conference centers up and down California. And the boys did a lot of those with me.
00;32;48;23 – 00;33;18;11
In fact, we sort of stopped doing them when they went off to college because the modeling of a dad who preached and had a heart of loving his kids. Yeah, the kids loving their dad and using their gifts in ministry together was powerful. And we would tell people we’re not perfect. We, we have our bad times and bad days is but we were real and authentic and transparent.
00;33;18;29 – 00;33;41;15
So people saw us that when we work together for the Lord, not for ourselves, but for the Lord, the impact that had on others. And so consequently, we saw several fathers and sons try to emulate that model and their relationship and that that’s a God thing for sure.
00;33;43;13 – 00;34;05;16
A great story, Jim. I’m I’m glad you took the time to share that because, you know, a lot of a lot of dads don’t have that kind of a connection or something’s happened in that relationship. And or maybe there’s no doubt in the picture. And so great modeling and great encouragement for all of us who have children and I think that’s an important factor.
00;34;07;17 – 00;34;46;21
If I could just interrupt in Proverbs, there’s adverse proverbs 20 to 16, I believe it is. It says train up the child in the way he should go when he’s old, not part. And often times we misunderstand what that proverb which is in a covenant or isn’t a contract it because we know great dads that have had kids go sideways and we’ve seen fatherless homes or kids end up good and it’s a God thing in a spirit thing but I just like to say that it is important.
00;34;46;22 – 00;35;27;13
I wanted my kids to be athletes because I never had that experience and I love that politics. I wanted to play football all this. I just couldn’t do it because of the need to raise money to get out of the city, so to speak. But God had a different plan for me. And so training up the child the way he should go or she means find out what God has and plan in store for that young person and help cultivate that dream that those aspirations versus trying to make them into something that we want them to be.
00;35;27;25 – 00;35;51;09
You know, my forte was business and management and all that, and it would have made sense to try to create a situation where the boys would follow our ministry and take over the leadership and all that. But that wasn’t their gifting. And so we have to explore what it is that God has in store for our kids.
00;35;51;27 – 00;36;14;17
Because that’s very, very good. One of the statistics we talk about as we wrap up this session is that there are a lot of children who end up in trouble because there’s an absent father or no father in their life. What did Let’s Go Fishing do to address some of that early on?
00;36;15;15 – 00;36;44;07
Well, one of the things we did, we put two single parent moms on our board of directors for guidance and for understanding their hearts and how hard it is for a woman to try to raise kids, especially a son secondly, in our country today, shift over 50% of the young people will be raised in her home. And there’s no biological father in the inner cities where I came from that number.
00;36;44;07 – 00;37;12;09
72%. And so when there’s no father in the home and let’s also say that there are some dads who are at home but they’re not they’re either either abusive or they’re not participating in the father process of the 50% or so that are staying home. We have a lot of broken kids, a lot of kids with father wounds.
00;37;12;27 – 00;37;45;22
And so consequently it’s really important that we wrap our minds around what is biblical manhood how do we act like men, how do we raise our young boys and girls to be ambassadors for the Lord? And that’s one of the key things that our ministry does. Men’s Ministry Catalyst is now equip, inspire, encourage men and especially men to be those loving fathers.
00;37;46;01 – 00;37;49;27
The kids need to be that’s great.
00;37;50;06 – 00;38;18;26
Thank you, Jim. Listen, it’s been fun to have you on this session. We’re going to do another session, which will air in two weeks. So we look forward to having those of you who are listening today join us again in a couple of weeks. We we’ll have part two of this discussion with the founder, Dr. Jim Grassi. Certainly, if you want to get a hold of Jim or want to get a hold of the materials, just go to the website.
00;38;18;26 – 00;38;42;01
Of Men’s Ministry, Catalyst dot org. And if you want resources, it’s forward slash resources. Just a reminder that our episodes are launched on the first of third Thursdays of every month. If you’ve not yet subscribed, you can do so on the website or wherever you consume your your local podcast thank you again for joining. You are the reason we exist.
00;38;42;16 – 00;38;52;12
We do all this for pastors and leaders of men. Again, because every man deserves an opportunity to become an authentic, biblically based man of God.
About Wendell Morton
Rev. Morton graduated from Western Evangelical Seminary with a BA in Religious Education and a Master of Counseling Psychology, Rev. Morton was in full-time ministry for 17 years with both small and large churches. He spent four of those ministry years with Promise Keepers. He was the the US representative to PK Canada – serving on the PK Canada Board.
Wendell also spent 23 years in Corporate America. He built and led sales teams that worked with very small businesses and other groups that worked with Fortune 500 companies. He is gifted at helping identifying the next generation of leaders as well as helping those around him being successful.
Rev. Morton has a passion to help pastors and church leaders build growing churches. Having men come alongside the vision of the pastor, build a dynamic team, create a plan, and execute the model of “each one brings one” has been proven effective for more than 2,000 years. This approach is a great way for every local church in North America to grow while helping men better understand biblical manhood.
About Dale Eudy
As an advocate for ministry to men, Dale Eudy brings a combined background of leadership skills developed in the marketplace along with senior leadership experience in the Church.
Following military service, Dale earned his undergraduate degree and gained valuable systems and operations experience working for two prominent Fortune 50 companies. Responding to God’s leading in his life to focus on leaders in the body of Christ, he went on to complete seminary and served as a pastor for 16 years in a large church in the Denver area and as a denominational leader at the regional and national levels. With his background, Dale knows the heartbeat of the local church.
Dale’s passion is the discipleship (spiritual reproduction) of men. That passion is what drew him to partner with Men’s Ministry Catalyst. In his words, “The simple call of Jesus to follow him and to make fishers of men is the most foundational call in my life.” Using his spiritual gifts of leadership and exhortation, Dale is a great coach and cheerleader for those involved in the arenas of life.
Dale and his wife Kathy live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado and serve their home church, Cherry Hills Community Church. They have two grown children and a caring extended family.