Centered on bringing men to Christ
By Gil Hanke
I recently attended an extraordinary meeting with men who do what I do in different denominations. The meeting included men’s ministry leaders from the UMC, the Southern Baptist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Episcopal/Anglican Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and a Mennonite Church member who works in an independent church.
We shared meals, offered personal prayer requests, talked about our ministries, and we were taught by John H. Armstrong, a missional-ecumenist and author of Your Church is Too Small.
We are men of different ages, different races, and we have different beliefs about Communion, Baptism, clergy credentials, and what is and is not the role of bishops. We participate in different styles of worship. Our first languages are different. We live in different parts of the U.S. Some are volunteers and some are full-time employees.
We met for a day and a half, and there was not an unkind or harsh word spoken. No one boasted, “We do this better than you.”
There were several new faces at this meeting, and it was simply amazing.
So, what made this such an extraordinary meeting? Simple- we centered ourselves on finding better ways to bring men into a new, on-growing relationship with the living Christ. We centered our thoughts only on the discipleship of men.
I do find it interesting that as members of the UMC, we have “make disciples” in our mission statement. Do you or I ever attend meetings where that is the sole/soul focus of our attention? It does make for a great meeting.
I pray we learn to do that on a regular basis in each of our churches, districts and conferences.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on United Methodist Men