Speakers selected for 2013 National Gathering of UM Men
January 13th, 2012
Photo: Don Davis
An 11-year veteran NFL player, a UM bishop, the president of Man in the Mirror, and the pastor of a growing congregation will headline the 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men.
Don Davis, 39, a regional director of the National Football League Players Association and an 11-year player with four different NFL teams, will be one of four major speakers at the July 11-14. 2013 event at Belmont University in Nashville.
After registering 238 tackles as a student athlete at the University of Kansas, Davis played for the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots. He played for the Patriot when they won two Super Bowl championships in 2004 and 2005.
After retiring from the Patriots in 2007, Davis joined Patriot Coach Bill Belichick’s staff as assistant strength and conditioning coach and team chaplain. The following year, he became director of NFL programs for Pro Athletes Outreach, a ministry to pro athletes. In 2010, Davis was named regional director of the National Football League Players Association, the organization responsible for the players’ wages, hours and working conditions.
“When people think of ministry often times they think of a church,” said Davis. “That is not what ministry is. I believe ministry is sharing your life with others so that each party can benefit from the experiences, life lessons and mistakes that have formed ones thinking.”
Davis loves to quote a Baptist preacher who told him, “It is a sin to bore people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“I am dedicated to keeping the message cool and relevant, but at the same time making sure that the message is completely Christ-filled and doctrinally sound,” he says.
Don and his wife, Yanette, have two daughters.
David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror, has a great talent for helping people remember vital truths from God's Word. His use of humor, illustrations and unique visual aids help men apply biblical principles to life.
He is the author or co-author of five books, including The Marriage Prayer, The Dad in the Mirror, and No Man Left Behind. He has had articles published in numerous magazines.
Delk was named emerging leader of the year by the National Coalition of Men's Ministries, and he has served as a visiting lecturer in biblical studies at Reformed Theological Seminary.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Furman University and the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Fla., Delk was formerly a senior consultant with Energy Management Associates where he developed software and managed consulting projects with large public utilities.
He lives in Orlando with his wife, Ruthie, and three children.
Bishop James Swanson
The Rev. James E. Swanson Sr. is a graduate of Southern Bible College, Houston, and C. H. Mason Seminary, ITC, Atlanta.
The bishop was ordained an elder in the South Georgia Conference and served as pastor of St. Mary’s Road UMC in Columbus, Ga., for 14 years. Under his leadership, that church grew from 16 active members to 950 with an average Sunday morning attendance of 525.
While at St. Mary’s Road, he was a co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Activity where he helped erode the influence and growth of gangs. In 2001, he was appointed superintendent of the Savannah District.
Swanson served as a delegate to the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 General Conferences, and he was elected to the episcopacy in July, 2004, by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and was assigned to the Holston Area.
He is a trustee of Emory & Henry, Hiwassee, Tenn.; Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga.; and Andrew College, Cuthbert, Ga.
He was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the Convocation of Pastors of African American United Methodist Churches.
He is married to the former Delphine Yvonne Ramsey. They are parents of six children, and they have ten grandchildren.
The Rev. Shane Bishop
The Rev. Shane Bishop was named the Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church in 2010 by the Foundation for Evangelism. A former history teacher and coach, the Shane is pastor of Christ UMC in Fairview Heights, Ill. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta.
Under his leadership, since 1997, the number of people in worship at Christ UMC increased from 200 to over 1,600. In the last three years, almost 300 people have joined the church by profession of faith.
During that 15-year period, Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference has recognized Christ Church with its Award for Church Growth and Evangelism for Large Churches six times. Bishop was presented the Denman Evangelism Award in 1996 and was inducted into the World Methodist Evangelism Council’s “Order of the FLAME” in 1999.
“The church is not an institution among institutions, a charity among charities or a good cause among good causes,” says Bishop. “We are the hands and feet of Christ entrusted with the transformation of the world.”
Shane and Melissa have two grown children and three grandchildren.