April 2012 Leader Letter
April 17th, 2012
From your partners in men’s ministry ––
A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff
to leaders of United Methodist Men
April 17, 2012
Things I learned this week about ‘fishing’
By Gil Hanke
So, I spent Tuesday night through Thursday noon at a beautiful camp owned by the Texas Conference. It is a special place of transformation for me. I really needed some R&R. I read and wrote a little, walked the trails around the lake, took care of some emails and a few calls, and fished. I know there are bass and catfish in the lake, but I enjoy catching sunfish and perch. So that was my intent and the fish cooperated greatly. As I did this, I had time to think about “fishing” and learned a few things I’d like to share.
- Although you think you know what kind of fish you are after, you sometimes are very surprised with what you catch.
- Some fish are big and some are small. Some small fish seem to have more energy and fight than bigger fish; it is as if they don’t know they are small.
- The condition and appearance of the bait matters. If it is old and looks dead, the fishing is not very good. If it is a plump fresh worm, the fishing is better.
- Grass on the bait hides the bait from the fish, so they are not interested.
- Some fish are attracted to the bait when it hits with a splash, others run from a big splash.
- You have to check your bait to make sure the fish can’t see the point of the hook. Fish don’t want to do something that they can see from the start is going to hurt them.
- Some fish are far from the dock and some are right next to the dock. Some are in grass or weeds near the shore and some in open water.
- Sometimes when I try to catch a fish, I pull too hard.
- Sometimes a fish will hit the worm as soon as it lands but other times I have to wait.
- For me, it doesn’t matter how big the fish is, what kind of fish it is, whether it was in deep water or shallow, close to the dock or in the middle of the lake. Catching fish brings great joy.
Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” It appears to me these same lessons apply. Read them again thinking about how you fish for men. Let’s continue to fish, for it does bring great joy. It is what we are designed to do; what we are called to do. Let me know if you need more ‘bait’ or what you are using that is working well.
Striving to be His servant,
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
The Main Thing
By John Dowell
Our purpose is as follows:
United Methodist Men shall be a creative, supportive fellowship of men who seek to know Jesus Christ, to grow spiritually and to seek daily his will. Our primary purpose is to declare the centrality of Christ in the lives of men and in all their relationships.
I wonder how many UMM units stack up to the above stated purpose.
- How creative is your unit?
- How supportive is it?
- How much of a fellowship does your UMM provide?
- How does your group help you to know Jesus Christ?
- How does it help you to grow spiritually?
- How does it encourage you to seek daily His will?
- How does your group declare the centrality of Christ in the lives of men?
- How does it encourage the centrality of Christ in all your relationships?
The primary purpose of the UMM is to encourage men to experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Our primary propose is NOT:
- to hold fish fries
- to raise money to help the Scout troop
- to get workers to take care of the church grounds
- to be responsible for ushering and directing parking
Even though these may all be things the UMM does
It is important for UMM to focus on the main thing which is “to declare the centrality of Jesus Christ in the lives of men and in all their relationships.” It is important to remember this in regard to:
- our programs
- our projects
- our activities
- our meetings
There are six major concerns that I believe pertain to the UMM unit which I am going to forgo and zero in on the three personal objectives to which we are asked to commit ourselves - they are intended to help us fulfill the above purpose.
1. To engage daily in Bible study and prayer.
This is one of the basic Christian disciplines that every disciple of Christ should follow. Many Bible studies both personal and group are available.
2. To bear witness to Christ's way in daily work and in all personal contacts
through words and actions.
So easy, so simple––yet so difficult. Almost every day affords us ample opportunities to bear witness to our faith in words and actions, but all too often we let them slip by.
3. To engage in Christian Service.
What in the world are we doing for Christ's sake? How are we involved in Christian service? So many ways are available to serve the One who gave His life for us.
As I see it, this is what United Methodist Men should be all about. If your UMM organization is only a “meet and eat” club or if it is a religiously oriented men's civic club, then there may not be a critical need for it. There is a critical need for the kind of Christian men's fellowship I have described in every UM church, whatever the size. Let's strive to have a "creative supportive fellowship of men seeking to know Jesus Christ, seeking to grow spiritually and seeking daily his will" in every church throughout our domination. What a blessing to our churches that would be!
John Dowell, president
National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men
By Larry Coppock
Amachi is an African word that means “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.” It is a program of Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of our youth agency partners. The word Amachi also implies that the child or “little” has a parent (s) that is in jail or prison. Research has shown that children of an incarcerated parent have a 70% probability rate of following them into a life of crime without intervention, or a mentor.
Two Human Relations Day grants, administered by the General Board of Church and Society, underwrote the cost of travel/related expenses to initiate the project. The purpose of the meetings was to introduce this one-on-one mentoring model to the men’s leadership in 18 annual conferences. The primary aim was two-fold: (1) Identify an Amachi coordinator to promote the ministry beyond the grant term and (2) Identify two to four churches in which to recruit mentors. African American males are at higher risk; therefore, the focus has been on the recruitment of men.
In the meetings, I was able to share my own story of mentoring Calvin, a young African American boy. When we started he was 10; now he’s 15. I strongly believed then as I do now, that in order to promote this ministry I needed to be actually involved. Calvin is my third “little.” While I hope and pray that Calvin will reap some meaningful benefit from our bi-weekly outings, I receive back much more than I give. Calvin provides for me a little brother that I never had when I was growing up. Many of our activities reflect brotherly actions and fellowship.
My prayer is one of thanks, that United Methodist men are making a difference in many of these conferences. My prayer of hope is that many of the conferences where we have not been will reach out and initiate an Amachi ministry by being a “Big.” You’ll find the experience truly rewarding.
Larry W. Coppock
Director, Scouting Ministries
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Support your pastor
By Mark Lubbock
Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power.
f your pastor was asked who might be considered one of their strongest supporters, would your name arise in the conversation? Why, or why not?
“Man in the Mirror” performed research to identify characteristics of churches that are effective in discipling men. One key indicator of successful churches is that senior pastors believe that the men of their churches support them and their vision. In other words, the pastors do not see their men as obstacles or in opposition, but rather they see their men as important members of the mission team.
One of the most vital roles that men can play in their local church is to pro-actively undergird their leadership, and in particular, their pastor. When Promise Keepers was formed in the 1990s they focused on seven important things that men can do to make a positive impact on their spiritual life. Here is what they said about the church:
A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.
If you want to impact your church in a productive manner become a man who prays for your pastor(s) and demonstrate a heart to serve. In other words, do not take the approach that your pastor is there to serve you, but take the initiative to become the servant of your pastor. Rather than pressing your agenda, get behind the leadership’s agenda.
Demonstrate your love for the church by uplifting your leaders. After all, they are there at the pleasure of our Lord according to scripture. That does not mean that they are in any way perfect, or infallible. But it is far too easy to look at deficiencies and fall prey to Satan’s temptation to focus on failure and assign blame. Pastors can take a pretty nasty hit under those circumstances. Don’t fall for this trick! Instead, become part of the team and part of the solution.
When men line up in prayer for their leaders & offer themselves in humble service under the authority of pastoral leadership – change happens!
As you earn respect as a faithful servant you also gain the ear of the leaders giving opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas for ministry. You will find that with a history of being a reliable servant and an advocate of your pastor that they will be inclined to listen to your heart.
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff member
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Lead Like Jesus
By Jim Boesch
This month we will review the second leadership domain, the “Head” – beliefs about leadership and influence.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Lead Like Jesus Principles
Leadership - Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior or development of another person, you are taking on the role of a leader. An act of service to the highest purpose for the highest good – to glorify God!
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
People – The objects of God’s affection to be treated as such. To be loved, not used.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12: 30-31
Work – An integral part of God’s plan for the fulfillment of man’s highest purpose – to glorify God. All work done unto the Lord is sacred.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3: 22-24
- What is your Purpose/Mission – Key question is “What business are you in?”
- What is your Image – Key question is “What will things look like if things are running as planned?”
- What are your Values – Key question is “What do you stand for?” “How do you want people to behave?”
- What are your Goals – Key question is “What do you want people to focus on now?”
Two parts of leadership – Vision and Implementation.
1. The Visionary role is about doing the right thing:
- Leadership is about going somewhere. Effective leadership begins with a clear vision, whether for your personal life, your family, or an organization. If your followers don't know where you are going and where you are trying to take them, they will have a hard time getting excited about the journey.
The traditional pyramid hierarchy below is effective for the visionary aspect of leadership. People look to the leaders for vision and direction. While the leader should involve experiences people in shaping direction, the ultimate responsibility remains with the leader and cannot be delegated to others.
2. The implementation role is about doings things right:
- The implementation role is where most leaders get into trouble. The traditional pyramid is kept alive and well, leaving the customers uncared for at the bottom of the hierarchy. All the energy of the organization moves up the hierarchy as people try to please the bosses at the expense of the customers.
Effective Implementation requires turning the pyramid upside down so the customer contact people are at the top of the organization, are empowered and can be responsible – able to respond and soar like eagles while the leaders can serve the needs of the employees helping them to accomplish goals and live according to the vision and direction of the organization.
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Understanding Men’s Ministry the Deep End
By Mark Dehority
The deep end of that continuum is the men in Christ’s church we identify as leaders. They are experienced mature disciples that have a heart for God, are ready to build the kingdom and their personal walks with Christ. “These are guys that are committed not only to their own spiritual growth, but to help other men grow spiritually as well,” said Brett Clemmer, vice president of Man in The Mirror. This is all great work, but for me this is the really fun stuff. It really is the deep end of the pool when comes to men’s hearts.
First, back to the basics of the model. If you are not familiar with the model, it starts with these precepts:
- We start by building Godly male leaders
- The spiritual growth of men is essential to church renewal.
- Growing faith moves our heart toward Christ and hands to serve.
- Global needs are calls to action
One of the strengths of the system is identifying men and the where they are in their walk with Jesus Christ. The five groups listed above require different opportunities or tools to assist them. The way you develop a leader is different from the way you develop a new Christian. This is similar to the courses for a college freshman versus a graduate student.
My contention is that these “leaders” as their name implies should be about leading others to Christ. We are all given gifts by the Holy Spirit. God expects us to use these gifts to build ourselves and others. Through prayer, conversation with God and some basic tools that help us identify these gifts, we can start to understand our personal call. God has a personal ministry for each and every one of us.
Being with some one that is seriously asking God, “What is it that you want me to do?” and at the point when they say “Is it I God? If you lead me, I will follow.” Is it a great experience? It is serious, holy and really funny. This is where the tire meets the road. I don’t believe I need to explain the last two sentences to those have been through it. I also don’t believe you have to be very sick at all to appreciate the humor.
The list of ministries is endless. The opportunities that fit our natural gifts are also. Our gifts can be identified as; apostleship, compassion, discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith, giving, healing, helping, interpretation of tongues, knowledge, leadership, miracles, prophecy, servanthood, shepherding, teaching, tongues and wisdom. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355371/k.9501/Spiritual_Gifts.htm.
One of the keys to successfully making this step in your walk with Jesus is intentional spiritual development. In our men’s ministry specialist certification process we are required to have a spiritual director. This is a relationship with a spiritual mentor. The relationship is based on our walk and our development. The United Methodist Church General Rule of Discipleship is
To witness to Jesus Christ in the World, and follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotions, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2008 Book of Discipline ¶1118.2 a
Our spiritual development is about us becoming a disciple. Coaching and leading each other to develop our ministries to this rule is our task. How we personally develop our lives through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion, is our spiritual development. All leaders in Jesus Christ’s church should follow this development. All leaders in Jesus Christ’s church should lead other individuals in this development.
May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.
General Commission on United Methodist Men