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Contributed photo by Jeremy Rowland / Members of the Blueprint for Men ministry and some of their children climbed Mt. Rainier in 2016. Founder Marty Miller is far left.

When a member of the Ooltewah-based Christian ministry Blueprint for Men saw a woman's online appeal for help getting a wheelchair, he sprang into action.

More than just making a small donation, the man arranged payment for the woman's $800 insurance deductible and delivered the wheelchair to her house the next day.

"Man, I was in disbelief," the woman wrote in her online thank-you note. "I have literally been stuck and unable to get around due to my health, and now I can keep up with my kids and my husband."

It's just the kind of faith-based, action-oriented good deed Blueprint for Men founder Marty Miller probably envisioned when he started the organization in 2014. The nonprofit has a board of directors and is funded through member gifts.

Miller, a former school teacher and church-based men's ministry leader, pivoted to lead the independent Christian group, which originally sprang from a small-group men's Bible study at Collegedale Academy.

Miller said he felt like many are qualified to be teachers, but he felt a calling to lead a group that could help men grow in their religious faith.

"Even though there are a lot of guys with good intentions, there was not a lot out there about being a godly male," he said.

The "blueprint" metaphor is apt because it suggests people find different paths to faith, and a blueprint implies an outline, a helpful guide, for building godly men, Miller said.

From that small beginning, Blueprint for Men has grown to several hundred active members with groups meeting in Ooltewah, Nashville, Atlanta and Calhoun, Georgia, among other places. Many, but not all, of the men are part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Miller said, but anyone is welcome to join.

In fact, the group aims to be a bridge for men who are not attending church but might be attracted to learn more about faith through outdoor gatherings, adventure treks, service projects and peer support.

"Coming to church is a lot for people, if they are unchurched," Miller said. "It's a big step."

Miller said that when younger men were asked in a survey if they would like to have an older man as a mentor, all of them said yes.

" We are pushing [to find] guys who are strong in their faith and want to reach out and mentor and encourage other men," he said.

Members of Blueprint for Men often invite non-members to lunch and pray with them. Then, if they choose they can join group activities such as mountain climbing expeditions, father-children events and/or spiritual retreats.

The group recently formed a rapid-response team to help churches with building repairs in emergencies. They have also partnered with the Samaritan Center to provide hands-on assistance with projects led by the Seventh-day Adventist Church service organization.

About 120 men recently attended a multi-day retreat in Cohutta Springs in North Georgia. In the final sermon the men used swords and torches as symbols in an outdoor ceremony and called out to God in prayer.

"It's a sobering and sacred experience," Miller said.

Traditional masculine traits are considered by the group to be both biblical and virtuous, Miller said.

"God created men to be physically strong and to be protectors and providers," he said. "We have moved away from a rural environment where men found their domain, to a more domesticated environment where we live in apartments and go to coffee shops."

For more information on Blueprint for Men visit blueprintformen.org.

Life Stories is published on Mondays. Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.

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