From your partners in men’s ministry
A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff
to leaders of United Methodist Men
August 15, 2012
Become a Jesus follower
By Gil Hanke
I have begun to read Derek Maul’s book, The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian; I recommend it to you.
Derek states that when talking about persons who are good church-going folks, he resists the term “Christians” and instead uses the term “Jesus followers.”
The difference goes back to “being” and “doing.” If I am a Christian, it is a state of being or just a label; but being a “follower” is a state of action with a goal in sight.
When asked about your walk with Jesus, do you recount experiences in the past, or do you talk about current activities?
After all the Disciple Bible studies you have completed, do you feel you now really know the Bible, or are you still trying to figure out what Jesus is saying to you today?
Are you self-satisfied with your faith or does your relationship with Jesus challenge you and make you uncomfortable?
Do you think that you already have what you need to get to Heaven or are you seeking to know more of Him daily?
Have you arrived or are you still on a journey?
I used to work about 30 minutes away from where I lived. About one-half of the way there I would cross the Angelina River. Since I had left the house half asleep, as I crossed the river, I would try to remember the color of the socks I was wearing.
I was rarely correct.
I probably couldn’t remember the color of the socks because I knew that information was not important. But recalling and acting upon our worship and study can be life transforming and life saving.
At lunch, on Sunday, can you remember the sermon delivered 30 minutes earlier?
Can you remember the devotion you read in the morning during your lunch break?
Are you reading devotions as a part of a “to-do” list, or you truly seeking guidance?
My grandfather, the Rev. Gilbert Meyer, told a story of a man who retired after working 50 years in the Kansas City rail yard. His job was to swing a hammer attached to a rope to strike the wheel of each box car; the action created a particular “ring.”
When asked why this task was important, he replied, “I really don’t know, I just did my job.”
Are we sitting in church and reading devotional material because it is our job, or are we acting upon what we hear and read?
Are we stagnant unchanging “Christians,” or are we seekers––struggling to understand the new challenges that come to us daily as we follow Jesus?
Join me on this journey. Welcome the challenge and struggle.
Be a Jesus follower.
Let me know if you need some direction as we travel together.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
Goodbye and Thank You
By John Dowell
Four years ago, I assumed the leadership of the National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP). Today I pass the mantle to a qualified new president, Mr. Dan Ramsey from Houston, Texas. He will serve us well.
As I write my last letter to you, I realize another door has closed in my ministry to men within the UMC ––a ministry that began 26 years ago when I was elected president of my local church fellowship. Little did I comprehend where this path would take me.
It is amazing how God has blessed me as He has taken me up the ladder of leadership.
All I can say is, “Why me Lord?"
This is my goodbye letter, but also it is an opportunity to say thank you to men and women for their help along the way.
My sincere thanks to the 8,000 plus readers who receive these articles and for the many comments you forwarded to me. Writing them was a joy, even though at times I struggled to get them written on time.
Next, my thanks goes to the executive committee of the NACP––especially the five jurisdictional presidents for their support and friendship
Thank you to the GCUMM staff––Ann, Mark, Josh and LaNisha for being so helpful over the years as we worked together. And we welcome Joe as the newest staff member.
How could we have functioned without Martha Davis? She was always there watching over us, giving advice from her many years of experience. Martha you are the greatest!
To the senior staff––Larry Malone, retired director on men's ministry, and Larry Coppock, director of scouting ministry––thanks for all the help and leadership you have given.
A special thanks goes to our three general secretaries past and present––Joe Harris, David Adams and, of course, Gil Hanke. Just saying thanks to these outstanding leaders seems inadequate––their friendships have meant so much to me.
Then we have Rich Peck, the editor of these articles and the UM Men magazine, I give my heartfelt thanks. What would the national presidents do without Rich? He would take an aggregate of words and thoughts, edit them and like magic our essays were transformed into a readable form. Rich, you made us look so smart!
Finally to all I have served with over the years, my thanks goes out to you for what you have meant to me––the committees and ministries of the Southeastern Jurisdiction, the Florida Conference, the Tampa (Fla.) District and my local church––I am humbled by your friendship and support.
Another door has closed, but new ones will open. The Lord is not finished with me yet.
My work in men’s ministry with the UMC has been an experience I will always cherish.
God bless you.
John Dowell, immediate past president
National Association of Conference Presidents
of United Methodist Men
It’s A New Beginning
By Dan Ramsey
As we move into the next four years, we will do so with new people in new positions––myself included. It is with a sense of pride and excitement that I start these next four years of helping men “make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
As the new NACP president, I am joined by new jurisdictional presidents, a new UM Men Foundation president, and a new president will be elected by the General Commission on UM Men. Many new conference presidents will also join these officers in working for the glory of God in ministry.
I hope that you will join these new officers and me in working together to change people’s hearts from the inside out.
I wish and pray for you and all of the leadership at every level to;
“Trust in the Lord with all of your might, do not lean on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Men at the local and national levels can and should work as a team to make disciples and pray for each other as we do His ministry. When we get bogged down, leaders who have gone before us can be vital sources of knowledge.
All leaders should pray for men’s ministry to have a great impact on the church.
I want you to know that as I move forward as your NACP president, I will make mistakes, just as you will make mistakes. The knowledge that God is with us and gives us the courage to take a bold step for Him will make the difference.
As we begin our time together. I pray that your life will be blessed and that God will work through you to change people’s lives.
Let’s all take the “courageous” step for God’s glory together.
Dan Ramsey, president
National Association of Conference Presidents
Office of Scouting Ministry: A Variety of Roles and Responsibilities
By Larry Coppock
The Office of Civic Youth-Serving Agencies/Scouting of the General Commission on UM Men is responsible for training leaders of various youth-serving organizations and coordinating scouting activities.
The Scouting Ministry Committee of the commission establishes a quadrennial strategic plan that covers membership, training, adult and youth recognition, chaplaincy and communication.
In the midst of this planning, Christ––through the Holy Spirit––makes us aware of new ways of doing ministry. That is how scouting ministry specialists came into existence over three years ago.
Currently, 163 specialists have registered with the scouting office, which is responsible for recruiting, training and resourcing these volunteers.
These specialists fulfill many important roles including the servicing of existing Cub Scout packs, Boy and Girl Scout troops, Venture crews, and other youth-serving organizations; they may also help nearby churches start new units.
The scouting office defines the roles and responsibilities of these leaders, but flexibility is at the core of the program. These specialists may focus on Scout Sunday promotion, PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) awards, adult and youth recognition or starting new troops. They fill a void that is often left at the district level.
The scouting office is also responsible for training annual conference and district scouting coordinators and linking scouting ministry specialists to the official structures of the denomination and the goal of “making disciples for the transformation of the world.”
We are thankful for all these servant leaders as they continue to define a new and exciting discipleship-making “adaptive challenge” in scouting ministry.
Please contact our office for a copy of the 2013-16 Strategic Plan or other information on scouting ministry.
Larry Coppock, national director of scouting ministries and director
of the Strength for Service Publication Fund
General Commission on UM Men
Strengthening One Another
By Mark Lubbock
As Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
Traffic was light and I was unexpectedly early for my morning appointment so I swung into a nearby coffee shop. While catching up on work with my laptop I could hear a small group of men talking behind me.
The first man was lamenting about issues resulting from his ongoing divorce. The men in this group patiently listened to his comments, complaints and questions. Then one by one, they responded when they had something of value to offer.
What I witnessed was a safe venue where this hurting man could share what was foremost on his mind. A group of caring brothers listened to him, and where appropriate, offered suggestions. At one point he spoke of wanting to retaliate against unfair things taking place. His brothers gently and affirmingly steered him in a more fruitful direction.
The upshot was that they offered support to a hurting brother while mentoring him in God’s way. As they prayed for him I could see the weight visibly lift off of his shoulders. It was quite evident that these men had earned his trust; he received their correction and direction well.
Discipling is a life-long process that leverages Christian relationships. Small groups are important for spiritual growth, particularly where deep, trusting relationships exist. I belong to more than one such group and intentionally surround myself with men who support me, love the real me, and help me walk with integrity.
How about you? What does your church offer in the way of small groups for men? Do you model this yourself by participating in a small group? Real leaders serve as living examples for their men.
If you feel like you could use some help, take heart! GCUMM is perfectly positioned to assist you personally, and to help your church develop meaningful discipling processes. For example, men’s ministry specialists are equipped to help design, develop and implement effective ministry to men.
We can bring a customized plan to your city, church or region to help you reach and connect men to Jesus Christ.
I challenge you to step up and commit to a deeper personal discipline that includes not only time in the Word and in prayer but also in a Christian small group.
Don’t wait for someone else to do this. Do it yourself and do it NOW!
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
The Habits of ‘Leading Like Jesus’ in 2012
By Jim Boesch
We now introduce the fourth of the leadership domains, the habits––daily disciplines to keep focused on leading like Jesus.
This month we will identify all five habits and go into detail on solitude and prayer. In October, we will review the remaining three habits of “applying Scripture,” “abiding in God’s unconditional love,” and “maintaining supportive relationships.”
To recap––the four domains of servant leadership are:
“Be still and know that I am God”
Before something can be a habit it must first be practiced as a discipline.
The daily pressures of leadership can isolate and diminish a leader’s effectiveness and focus on others. On a daily basis, effective servant leaders recalibrate their commitment to their vision––purpose, picture of the future, and values––through the use of five disciplines that were an integral part of what Jesus practiced during his earthly journey.
1. Practicing solitude––spend time alone with God.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
2. Experiencing prayer––speak with God.
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
3. Applying Scripture––prepare for the challenges that were yet to come.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
4. Abiding in God’s unconditional love––proceed with confidence grounded in trust.
“A new commandment I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
John 13: 34-35
5. Maintaining supportive relationships––share His vulnerability.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
I. Practicing solitude––spend time alone with God.
Jesus modeled for us the spiritual discipline of solitude as an essential habit for spiritual renewal. We can be very sure that what He found useful for the conduct of His life in the Father will also be useful for us.
By solitude we mean being out of human contact, being alone, and being so for periods of time. Silence is a natural part of solitude and is an essential component. Silence means to escape from both internal and external sounds and noises other than the gentle ones of nature.
Some examples of Jesus engaging in solitude:
“When preparing for the tests of leadership and public ministry, He spent forty days alone in the desert.”
Matthew 4: 1-11
“Before He chose the twelve, He spent the entire night alone in the desert hills.”
“After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus went up on a mountainside by Himself.”
Solitude and silence give us some space to reform our innermost attitudes toward people and events. They take the weight of this world off our shoulders for a time and interrupt our habit of managing things, of being in control or thinking we are.
One of the greatest of spiritual attainments is the capacity to do nothing. The Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal insightfully remarks, “I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they are unable to stay quietly in their rooms.”
“The cure for too much to do is solitude and silence, for there you find that you are safely more than what you do. And a cure for loneliness is solitude and silence, for there you discover in how many ways you are never alone.”
II. Experiencing prayer––speak with God.
“Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God , which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 6-7
Just suppose prayer was your first response instead of your last resort when facing a new challenge or an old temptation.
Prayer is conversing with God. We talk to God, aloud or within our thoughts. Prayer almost always involves other disciplines and spiritual activities––especially study, meditation and worship and often solitude and fasting.
It would be a rather low-voltage spiritual life in which prayer was chiefly undertaken as a discipline, rather than co-laboring with God to advance His Kingdom.
Even when we are praying about things other than our own spiritual needs and growth, conversing with God cannot fail to have a pervasive and spiritual strengthening effect on all aspects of our personality. That conversation––when it is truly a conversation––makes an indelible impression on our minds, and our consciousness of Him remains vivid as we go our way.
*This theme and text was captured from The Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. The book is the framework of the “Lead Like Jesus” servant-leadership-development ministry.
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
General Commission on United Methodist Men
How to live bold for Christ
By Greg Arnold
All of this talk about "merging life and faith," "living bold," being a man who "lives his faith on the outside"––what is all that stuff about anyway? I had that question posed to me not too long ago. The conversation simply began with a question of curiosity about the Live Bold e-zine. So how did I answer? The grand explanation comes simply like this:
When a man fully understands that his belief in God is connected to his mouth, his hands, and his heart––a light comes on, and he becomes different.
Jesus Christ came into to the world to do for us what we cannot do ourselves, and that role hasn't changed. We can't save ourselves, and trying to do that is much like expecting a broken air compressor to inflate a flat tire by setting the device near the car.
There are things we can do to rescue those around us who make poor decisions. However, we will never be able to usher their souls into heaven. All we can do is create moments, opportunities, and roads that lead straight to Christ's grip.
Men’s ministry is primarily about creating opportunities for men to know Christ––by whatever means necessary.
As a man of faith, it’s one thing to believe in God. In James 2:19 we find that demons believe in God. So what sets us apart from them? In addition, demons fear God and shudder at His name. What about you? Do you shudder? Or do you shrug?
Belief alone is nothing special. Sitting next to a Godly man doesn't make you Godly. And going through the motions of church ritual without connecting to Christ, certainly won't repair a flat life.
The notion of merging life and faith is to take your faith to another level.
Contemplate what it means to believe in something or someone. Think about the things you hope for, have faith in, and believe will happen. The same goes for your faith in Christ. We are faced with tough decisions in our life, and choosing to follow Christ ranks pretty high on that list.
Here's where you can go with this:
Three powerful disciplines of bold faith:
- Take your connection with God with your mouth. Pray to Him and tell Him what's bugging you––what you are thankful for––and what you need help with. Then use your mouth to give Him honor when He comes through. Use your mouth to encourage others, and use you mouth as a filter so others know you respect His name and His teaching.
- Discover ways to get your hands dirty for the sake of Christ Jesus. The talents you have, the abilities you possess, and the skills you have developed all earn you a living. They also bring you joy. Use them to drive joy and hope into the lives of those around you. You don't have to build a church to do God's work–– just use them to help others who need your special skills.
- Dig into the teaching of Christ. There is no way you can be a disciple of Christ if you don't know what He teaches. The very essence of being a disciple is to be a student of the teacher. In Matthew 28:19 , we are given the sole task of going into the world and teaching others how to be a disciple of Christ. You can't do that until you learn for yourself. This connects your heart.
That's it. Do those three things and living bold for Christ will come naturally. God will set the cadence of your life and you'll find yourself caring about the things God cares about
Can you do this? Yes.
We need more men to stand up and live bold. It’s in our hands, guys. Let’s go do this, together.
Visit: http://www.livebold.org to find out more and connect with me.
Greg Arnold, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Can you save this Man?
By Mark Dehority
A young man in his thirties, asks me for help. He struggles with addictions and a God problem. He was connected with a church before he moved to our area and credits that group of people for helping him control his life. Recently out of rehab and suffering from many family issues, he asks me to help find a church. I thought about all of the churches in our area with which I was familiar. Could any of them help a struggling young man find his way to biblical manhood? Could any of them help him become and stay sober, employed, a good husband, a good father, a good friend, a responsible man and a better Christian?
No church came to mind.
Churches with which I am familiar do a lot of good. But, this isn’t Vacation Bible School or just being nice. He has no sober friends and no positive family help.
Is your church ready to help this man?
Are you ready to help this man?
Did I mention he has poor social skills? He is loud and prone to use very descriptive language. He has trouble keeping a job. He is very honest in and may question your church’s practices and worship.
Does he sound like he fits in at your church?
From my reading about Jesus, I think he would fit in with that first-century community.
I had another young man approach me about divorce. I started to look for divorce resources and help in the UMC. All I found was our stance on divorce.
Before I go further––this is not a slam of our church. I love this church and I love the way we put faith in action. It is our strength. However, we have many unmet opportunities.
Meanwhile, back to our story, I started to think about other ailments people suffer: death, bankruptcy, addiction, molestation, theft, family violence, and abortion.
In most cases I found our stance on each issue, but I found little guidance about how to help people who suffer from these painful events.
As men of Christ we have an opportunity to lead in these matters.
As men of Christ we have an opportunity to prepare our churches to help these hurting men.
Such a ministry is Christ centered, It is shows His love. It is part of God’s plan.
Now back to my first friend. He has no positive Christian influence, except maybe me. The Lord needs to help anyone down to considering me for this kind of help. I wish I knew so much more. Anyway I do need your help. Here are some prayer requests;
1) Pray for this man's sobriety, a job and a place to live.
2) Pray for his family.
3) Pray for him to find the help he needs, to find Jesus.
4) Pray for me to be able to help him.
5) Pray for me to be able to find a church that can help him.
6) Pray for this ministry, that we be able to help our churches intentionally help the millions of men is this or similar situations.
Mark Dehority deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Plan to attend the National Gathering
July 12-14, 2013