From your partners in men´s ministry
A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff
to leaders of United Methodist Men
Changes and challenges
By Gil Hanke
I expect some of you have read or heard something about the Call to Action, an effort launched by the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table.
Over the past two years, several committees have moved the Call to Action from research to several recommendations and a proposed new structure to be considered by the 2012 General Conference.
I strongly encourage you to follow these developments at www.umc.org; add your comments to news stories posted there. I also encourage you to express your opinions and concerns to members of your conference delegation to General Conference.
As I write this, Bishop James King, Martha Davis and I have just completed a week of meetings where this "reordering of the church" was debated. There is no doubt our denomination must make changes that will result in more vital congregations, the debate is how that can be achieved.
A Call to Action committee and the Connectional Table are recommending a massive reordering of all general agencies. How that translates to needed reforms within the local congregation is unclear.
Under the proposed plan, only the UM Publishing House and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits would continue in their present structure. The governing boards of all other agencies, including GCUMM, would be discontinued. Under the proposed structure, the functions of these agencies would be guided by a 15-member board of directors.
It is not clear how the functions of UMM and UMW will fit in this organizational model. Harriett Olson, deputy general secretary for GBGM and top staff executive of the Women's Division, and I have been asked to propose ways in which the work of our organizations might be included. That proposal will be completed in the next few weeks.
No one is questioning the functions of the GCUMM. Men's ministries and scouting ministries do help create vitality in congregations.
Please continue to pray for me and for the other general secretaries as we go through this process. We know that our funding from World Service apportionments will be reduced by 6.5 percent beginning in 2013. If the plans from the Call to Action are enacted at General Conference that reduction is projected to be 16 percent. Such a reduction would affect the staff and the core functions of every agency, including GCUMM.
In the midst of all this, I have hope. God's hand was on the creation of the GCUMM, and He is not done with us yet. Readings in the Upper Room Disciplines remind me that we can do more together than we can do on our own.
Along with these meetings there has been a lot of writing for the upcoming magazine, webinars, the new edition of Guidelines, and a report to General Conference. In each, I get to relate God sightings as we journey together.
I am thankful that my work and prayer have led me to more work and more prayer. Please let me hear from you.
I am honored to be of service to you, your congregation and the men in your community who don't yet know Christ.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
Bumps in the road
By Glenn Wintemberg
We all run into bumps in our life road. Some may cause severe damage to our spiritual or physical chassis; others are only annoying, and some are amusing. They are usually surprises.
I recently encountered a two life bumps.
First, my 87-year-old mother has been dealing with dementia/Alzheimer's for a few years.
Second, on June 30th I retired from the Parkway School District after 33.2 years of maintaining HVAC equipment and serving as the lead man of the HVAC/Plumbing Departments for the last 12 years.
At the beginning of March, Parkway made their employees a Godfather offer that was difficult to refuse. They offered a retirement package that included the three-year payment of our medical, dental and vision insurance.
At 56 years young, they only gave me the month of March to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life. As you can imagine I had to answer a lot of questions about what I was going to do when I retired. I knew that I would be spending more time with my mother and catching up on 28 years of deferred maintenance at the house.
With one month in retirement under my belt, I find myself spending five days a week at Mom's house providing companionship and making sure she is eating and taking her pills. I enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with my mom and am blessed that retirement allows me to do that.
There are times in our lives when we all need someone in whom we can confide when we encounter surprise bumps in life. One of those questions we have asked men is: "Do you have another man that you can call a close friend — A man that knows you inside and out?"
There are men throughout out our denomination that have encountered a few bumps in the road. Today presents an opportunity for us to help repair the damages.
Glenn Wintemberg, vice president
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Supporting A Brother's Victory
By John Dowell
At a competitive event such as a track and field meet or a spelling bee, it isn't difficult to recognize the families of the individual participants. They are huddled together living each victory or defeat. Their emotions mirror what's happening on the field or the stage. They are as engaged in the competition as their loved ones. Often, the parents take as much, if not more joy in the victories of their children than they do in their own.
Isn't that as it should be? Isn't that the design of the family of God? Isn't that what God intends for His children? Isn't that what Paul tells us?
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (I Corinthians 12:6)
This is God's design for the church and therefore His design for small groups, which includes the United Methodist Men.
I see this frequently happening with UMM fellowships where members have, in many cases become closer than blood brothers by friendships developed over many years.
To illustrate this, the five jurisdictional presidents and I participate in monthly conference calls to share problems and to discuss pressing issues. This hour or so has provides quality time for all of us.
Over the months, personal concerns have surfaced. One member and his wife had simultaneous health problems. The father of a president suddenly passed away. And one member experienced difficult issues in his local church.
In each case—even though the group was spread across the country—the men came together through e-mail and phone calls to support the distressed brother with prayers, encouragement and yes, sympathy.
The support these men shared is no different than family members huddled together cheering on a son or daughter on the field of competition.
This is what the church and men's ministry urgently needs today—men who are in tune with the heart of God, who take great joy when a brother achieves a victory and who support him when he is disappointed or injured.
We can do this can't we?
Peace and Joy.
John Dowell, president
National Association of Conference Presidents
of United Methodist Men
Mothers are treasures to be adored
By Larry Coppock
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her
My mother has lived with my family for 23 years. That covers moves from three cities and two states, watching our youngest son go from first grade to being married. Her progeny includes seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. My mom is 87 and drove the same Plymouth for 25 years. She obviously represents the thriftiness of her generation.
When my war-veteran father was dying from chronic kidney disease in 1960, she was not only a loving wife but the care giver; somehow, along the way, she managed to raise me and my two sisters. Mom made sure we were in church every Sunday, drove me to baseball games and—with that motherly touch—put a damp wash-cloth on my forehead when I was sick. She worked as a sales clerk and helped me get my first job selling men's clothing where I worked alongside her.
I mention my mom and describe these seminal events as 18 months ago she was diagnosed with cancer. Recently, she was in Louisiana visiting my oldest sister when we got word the cancer had spread. The doctors give her 3-6 months to live. We have found a hospice care facility and made final arrangements.
I ask you to lift up my mother in your daily prayers. Many of you have been through difficult times like this with your own mothers. These events serve as a reminder to cherish these special memories and reflect on the grace God gives us through the gift of a Godly mother.
While we as men are often compared to our fathers in terms of stature and strength, perhaps we can attribute other positive traits to the one who gave us life.
Today is a good day for all mothers to be celebrated, remembered and adored.
Larry Coppock, national director of scouting ministries and director
of the Strength for Service Publication Fund
General Commission on UM Men
Keeping the vision
By Mark Lubbock
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.
Before launching anything new The Rev. Trey Harris, pastor of NewSong UMC in Baton Rouge asks, "Why are we doing this?" He reasons that before starting anything, it is important to have a clear, concise vision of where we are going.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
How can you "press on toward the goal" without establishing the destination? Yet, way too often we embark on personal and ministerial tasks without taking the time to discern where God is leading us.
Think about a recent work day. The men were motivated and energized because they were working toward a specific goal.
Now, think about your ministry. Do you have a vision statement setting the course and direction for your entire effort? Do you have a defined end in sight? Is everybody in your group aware of this vision?
When you have developed your vision, share it with men who seem uninterested in your group—the guys who decline to join.
Upcoming generations of men aren't interested in taking time out to attend a meet-and-greet breakfast. But, they will support an activity when the vision is clearly explained.
If you face challenges in your men's ministry I recommend asking Pastor Trey's question. Before answering that question, take time to pray and listen to God! Then share the vision and let it lead the way for everything that you do.
Finally, ask yourself, "Where am I going in this life? Do I have an overriding goal toward which I will never cease to reach?"
Remember, God has a plan for a "future and a hope" for us all.
Seek and you will indeed ... find!
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Effective meetings - Process vs. Content (Article 2)
By Mark Dehority
This is the second in a series about your role in leading effective meetings. It is about process vs. content. The process for the meeting is the structure. It comprises the steps the meeting is to go through to reach its desired outcomes.
The content of the meeting is produced by the structure or process. If the process includes creating a list of agenda items for an upcoming conference, the items listed are content. In this case how you decide to compile the list is the process.
Effective leaders own the process and keep the heck out of the content.
The leader needs to create a plan to accomplish his/her task. The following are some "process" steps for our meeting with explanations, examples and a definition of the "content." In the first article we defined the first three steps:
|Step #1 Expected Outcomes.
What exactly do you want to accomplish.
Step #2: Choose Participants.
Include everyone needed to get the job done and no one else.
Step #3: Meeting Introductions.
Clearly explain why the participants are there, what the expected outcome of the meeting is and their part in accomplishing it.
Process Step #4: The Agenda
Explanation: In "Step #1" we decided on the expected outcome of the meeting. Now we need to clearly define the agenda of the meeting with the express purpose of accomplishing those goals. We need to guide the participants step by step through the meeting to accomplish all of the tasks. This is the core of the meeting "process."
Example for our meeting: An agenda clearly outlining the steps of the meeting.
Content: The items on the agenda.
Process Step #5: Make assignments.
Explanation: Before sending the agenda examine it and decide if you need any special information. Are there items which require presentation by the participants? Will they have them ready?
Example for our Meeting: A complete list of assignments to support the desired outcomes and agenda steps.
Content: The assignments, information and presenters. The process is you enabling their presentation of the information the team needs.
Process Step #6: The meeting logistics.
Explanation: The meeting itself is a form follows function determination. What you need, who is coming and what they need. The place, time, length, equipment and refreshments are all a function of the prior steps. Estimate the time for presentations, discussion and decision making. Include breaks and meals, if necessary. This is pure process. You need to control this part to ensure all objectives are met. You are focusing on the process. You are allowing the participants to provide the appropriate content to ensure the objectives are correctly met.
Content: The information, presentations, discussions and decisions.
We will continue this list in our next article.
Mark Dehority, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Using Social Media in Ministry
by Greg Arnold
Our children will never know what it means to live with rotary dial phones, three television channels, life without cell phones, or feeling like the world is gigantic. In fact, they will grow up with a computer in their pocket that is more powerful than the first room-filling supercomputer. They will also feel perfectly empowered to have friends on any continent through social media.
The youth, young adults, and mature adults who have embraced technology and welcomed its allure have found out something that the rest of the "non-tech" universe has yet to discover…that social media actually brings us back together from a wilderness of declining relationships.
I would like to offer a reminder to those of us in leadership inside our grand church that Christianity has always been centered around communication and relationships. Jesus Christ delivered His message and communicated what He wanted us to do… to go make disciples. The disciples were told to go into the world, telling the story of Christ and all He taught us… all of which are communication events.
Don't forget that social media has always existed. In fact, throughout history and well into the late 1990s, social media existed on front porches, in church pews, and at family reunions. The well-advantaged in society knew how to work the connections and "network" their contacts to gain momentum in their social life and careers. It was often done face to face.
The message of Christ hasn't changed in over 2000 years, just the technology used to spread it. Social media is simply a re-tooling of the front porch and the local community church… just bigger. Consider this new technology an amazing partner that can very well bring about a revival of unprecedented magnitude. Never before has it been so easy to share one's faith or demonstrate a fruitful life.
What to do with this technology? Well, rest assured, this is no "Field of Dreams." Just because you build the portal, it doesn't mean the masses will come. Social media is much like your old-fashioned relationships that require an investment of time and nurturing. As any good pastor can tell you, just because you have a microphone doesn't make you a compelling speaker. It only amplifies your oratory skills or lack thereof.
Social media requires restraint, patience, and authenticity. If you are using the technology to run "advertisements" or "commercials" rather than engaging your social network, your success will fade quickly.
Here are three basic tips to get you started with social media:
- Build an on-line persona that is consistent with you and your organization.
- Design an editorial calendar that outlines what you will communicate and when
- Engage your audience as individuals, regardless of the size. Respond personally.
BONUS TIP: Know how to use each media. The users understand what to expect from each platform, and so should you.
We are currently working on revamping and developing our social media strategy at GCUMM. We must engage our constituency in relationship building. Just think of it as one gigantic small group.
If you would like assistance with your organization's social-media strategy, contact me at CORE12 Ministries where we offer consulting to ministries, churches, and agencies. firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to visit one of our projects - a men's ministry magazine built on the rails of social media – www.livebold.org
Greg Arnold, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Webinar on Missions, September 1, 2011, 7:00 p.m. CDT
Scouting Webinar: "Exploring 4-H as a Scouting Ministry," October 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m. CDT
United Methodist Men's Foundation Meeting, September 7, 2011
GCUMM Board meeting September, 8-10, 2011