By Bishop James Swanson
Believe it or not an annual conference session can be an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to guide us into great discoveries.
I was invited to the New Mexico Annual Conference and really had a wonderful spirit-filled time. While I was there conference members spent some time asking themselves a series of questions prompted by Change Your Questions, Change Your Church, a small book by J. Val Hastings, president of Coaching 4 Today’s Leaders.
Someone might ask, “Why would you write about this in a UM Men’s publication?” Well, because Val’s questions are universally fit for any ministry within the church that is seeking life, and the vast majority of men to whom we minister are in need of new lives.
Allow me to offer just one illustration of what Val offers; it’s on page 1:
“History changed when a single question changed; when we stopped asking, “How do we get to the water?” And started asking, “How do we get the water to us?”
Val’s suggestion to the church and my suggestion to UM Men in our local churches is not how do we get the men to come to us but “How can we go to them?”
This is a local question. It involves the men of your church investing enough time to study the landscape of your community or communities. It is what many of us call looking at context. What colors your ministry area? What are the joys, hopes, dreams and aspirations of the males and the significant others of these males in the area where your church is planted?
Oh, by the way, there are other questions you need to reframe, but I’m not going to provide them. Buy the book.
Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. president
General Commission on UM Men