From your partners in men’s ministry
A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff
to leaders of United Methodist Men
Can you afford Christmas?
By Bishop James R. King, Jr
When you think about your best Christmas ever –– what do you recall?
Was it during your childhood, during your youth or as an adult?
What made Christmas so special to you? Was it the number of gifts you received or the quality of gifts you were able to give?
Were you laughing and playing or hugging and sharing?
Was your best Christmas ever due to who you were with or what you were doing?
Was your house filled with laughter and gleeful noise or quiet with a deep sense of peace?
Was it finding the right gift just in time, the joy of feeding a homeless person, or the giving a gift to a child who was feeling isolated and lonely?
The real question is how much does it cost to experience the wonderful presence of Jesus Christ in your heart? Should not the essence of Christmas be about duplicating and introducing the experience of Christ-like birth moments in our lives and in the world?
As a bishop in the church, I get the opportunity to see and experience the best of the church –– faithful Christian men who are committed to growing a Christ-like world. And yet, I am also painfully aware many men are hurting –– not only in the world in general –– but particularly in the church. The source of unhappiness varies, but the source of true peace comes from the same source and that is the love of God through Jesus Christ.
I love the prescription for the best Christmas ever that is rooted in the book in Luke 2:8-20. The birth of Jesus comes first to the least….what was their status in society? They heard the greatest news anyone could ever here and that is the God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth has come to them: “To you is born this day…a Savior…” Wow! What an awesome love. What does it mean to you and the world to be a disciple of Jesus Christ with the gift of love in your heart?
I hope that sales are up this Christmas and the market place is flooded with financial success. I hope that all families will be blessed with delightful news regarding health, jobs, and bundles of goodies during this Christmas season
However, when we think about a person, family, community or nation that receives the life and love of God through Jesus Christ our values change and what we could not afford before is now obtainable to all.
With the love gift of Jesus in our hearts we become different people.
Our gratefulness extends love to others!
Our high blood pressures decrease!
Our sorrow becomes joy!
Our aching hearts are healed!
Our credit cards are not abused.
Our schedules have space for fun, sharing, and rest.
Men of God, we may not be able to give silver and gold this Christmas, but all of us can afford to give the gift that does not cost a cent –– the gift of love which is priceless and its source endless.
This is a Christmas all of us can afford. Have a blessed Christmas
Until next time remember, God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
James R. King, Jr., president
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Men Matter…. version 2
By Gil Hanke
In my first draft of this e-letter, I included research that quantifies declining men’s attendance and participation in churches and how that affects them as fathers and husbands.
On the way into work this morning, I changed my mind.
I was listening to a news story from Portugal, which –– as its neighbors –– is facing a second round of financial uncertainty. Portugal has a proud history of men who sailed great distances –– men of courage and adventure. But, one women in the interview added, “We don’t have great men anymore.”
Had I stuck with my first draft, you might have felt I was saying the same about the UMC –– that because men make up a smaller percentage of worship attendees, we lack great men.
Let me tell you about some great men of our church. There are men in scores of churches here in Nashville –– and in many other cities –– who welcome a dozen or so homeless men into their churches on an assigned schedule. With other church members, men cook dinners for their guests. They provide hot showers, offer guests a chance to wash their clothes and provide them with a warm, dry, place to sleep. The great men of these churches spend the night with the guests and fix them breakfast in the morning.
There are great men within the UM Men’s movement that meet at 6 or 7 a.m. with other men once a week –– not to eat –– not to network –– but to pray and hold each accountable on their Christian walk. For them, that hour is one of the most valuable in their week.
There are many great men who applied for a volunteer position within the GCUMM –– each willing to give time and personal resources to move our message across this great church. Four of the most talented were “hired” and have already begun to work together as a team. Greg Arnold, Neil Brown, Mark Dehority, and Mark Lubbock expand our abilities at the commission to assist you in bringing men to Christ.
There are also great men in your church –– preparing Sunday school lessons, working in local mission projects, planning mission trips, teaching Bible study classes, working with the youth, visiting hospitals, and praying daily for their pastors.
Some lead in public –– many more in private.
My guess is one of the great men of your church is the guy you see in the mirror every morning.
Here is your homework: Make a list of at least five great men in your church. Pray for them, and thank God for their continued leadership. Thank them for their work, and be open to working beside them. In this season of giving, the great men of our church are gifts to God that grow His Kingdom.
Thank you for all you do.
Striving to be His servant,
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
Serving Christ at work
By John Dowell
A number years ago a young woman employed as a housekeeper had accepted Christ as Lord and Savior and requested membership in a local church. The church process called for candidates to be interviewed by a membership committee.
The pastor asked her if there was any evidence that she had truly repented of her sins. She replied without hesitation, “I no longer sweep dirt under the rugs in the house where I am employed.” The pastor turned to the committee and said, “This is enough. We will receive her.”
Her answer illustrates the difference Christ makes in the way we understand ourselves and our work. Without Christ we tend to be self-centered and work is a way of meeting our own needs. With Christ we are God-centered and others-centered. Our work now becomes a way of honoring Jesus through our service to others, especially our employers and the customers they serve.
Being God's servant in the work place is not easy. Too often our workplace is filled with tension and office politics, including petty jealousies and personality conflicts. It becomes a dog-eat-dog environment as co-workers are encouraged to compete against each other. The workplace attitude becomes “every man for himself,” and “may the best man win.”
The Bible calls us to be a different kind of person. Paul tells us to:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.
–– Philippians 2:3-4
As Christian men can we do otherwise? We need to strive to build up our fellow workers. We need to find ways to go beyond our job descriptions to make our supervisor or co-workers look good.
A wise businessman once said he looked for three qualities in a person when he considered them for employment: attitude, enthusiasm and a zest for life. He said he can nurture the skills, but a person's attitude is a matter of choice. Attitude determines a person's potential within a company.
I pray our attitude reflects the love of Christ in each of us, not only in the workplace, but throughout all areas of our lives.
John Dowell, president
National Association of Conference Presidents
of United Methodist Men
By Larry Malone
I was hired on October 1, 1997 as director of men’s ministry for GCUMM. Three days later, in my very first “official” role, I attended Stand in the Gap on the mall in Washington DC with more than 1,500,000 men. When I arrived, I was escorted to a VIP booth and given a special name tag; Mr. Larry Malone, United Methodist Church. The event leaders and speakers prayed together before the event began, with each holding the hearts of the body they represented. It hit me hard right then that my prayers held more than 14 million Wesleyan hearts worldwide.
What a ride it has been! What an honor and privilege to be entrusted with. I knew from day one that this was a job I did not earn nor qualify for; it was a gift given me by God in Christ Jesus who has a great sense of humor. Since I was not “qualified”, my only option was to stick close to Jesus, and fly good tight formation as Christ’s wingman.
I am a grateful and blessed man to have had the opportunity to do what I love as a full time career. I am very thankful for the wonderful team of persons on staff that I have walked and worked beside, and who have become an important part of my family.
All along the way, there have been key UM Men national leaders who have offered extraordinary support and valuable talents as together we laid down new track for effective men’s ministry. For each and all of you, please know that “you’re God’s best” in my book. I will communicate that to you personally as well.
Christ is not finished with me, you, or the UMC yet. I believe many leaders within this denomination know that ministry to men is essential to the health and spiritual vitality of men, families, congregations and a hurting world. We have built a good case for men’s ministry within the UMC, and offer excellent resources to help churches reach more men, and grow men spiritually.
Seven words that best “say it all” are “the ministry of Jesus Christ through men.” Jesus wants our help reaching the hearts of men, so men can become ministers of reconciliation. Nothing is more important for families, churches and the culture. Few things are more difficult than men’s ministry; both the stakes and price are high.
I will continue to be a passionate advocate of men’s ministry, and stay connected to our mission through the staff office. My official role ends December 31st, but I will support Gil and GCUMM operations as I am needed and available.
For many years I have greatly enjoyed speaking and leading retreats. I will continue serving in this role through events scheduled through GCUMM. I also welcome opportunities to communicate and respond directly through contact at email@example.com. Thanks to God and each one of you for allowing me the honor of serving in the ministry of Jesus Christ through men.
Your brother in Christ,
Larry Malone, director of men’s ministry
Scout Sunday 2011
By Larry Coppock
Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them for such belongs the kingdom of God…As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms.
–– Luke 18:15-17
As we wind down 2010, how thankful we are to have Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. Jesus had a special love for children. This is season to be thankful for the gift of children and youth in our lives through joyful recognition.
Let us carry the giving spirit of Christmas into the New Year in advance of Scout Sunday, the second Sunday in February.
With some advance planning, Scout Sunday can be a memorable day for troops and groups affiliated with your church and for parents, some of whom will be members of your church and some of whom are searching for a faith community. Special recognition and awards may be considered.
One of your young people may be nominated for the Good Samaritan Award for acts of mission and ministry. The age range has been revised to include children and young adults (ages 6-30).
Also, please remember the servant leaders who “train up” our youth through scouting.
The Cross and Flame may be given to adults with three years of service. The church may apply for the Shepherd Church Charter for its sponsorship of any one of the youth programs mentioned.
The plans you make today will make your Scouting Ministry Sunday a meaningful one.
We want to hear about your Scouting Ministry Sunday. Please send us a paragraph about the event along with an action photo for potential publication in Scouting News.
For more information about scouting ministries visit our web site: www.umscouting.org.
Larry Coppock, national director of scouting ministries and director
of the Strength for Service Publication Fund
General Commission on UM Men
Four persons selected to lead men’s ministry in 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Four persons with decades of experience will soon be available to assist local churches, districts and conferences expand their ministries to men.
Following the announcement that Larry Malone, director of Men’s Ministry, would retire at the end of 2010, Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, recruited four volunteer leaders to assume the responsibilities of the 13-year veteran staff member.
The four volunteer leaders begin their service in January, and they are presently enrolled in electronic training experiences in order to ensure they will be able to provide consistent and powerful messages to annual conferences, men’s retreats, district rallies and local churches where they are invited.
Malone assisted Hanke in the selection process. “We had many excellent applicants, but these men each have unique skill sets that will broaden our ministry,” said Malone.
“Each is heavily involved in men’s ministry and will remain active within their local settings,” said Hanke. “The commission will pay travel expenses when the host conference or district is unable.”
Hanke notes that last May and June, he represented the commission at four annual conference sessions; he hopes the four deployed staff will increase that number to twenty at 2011 sessions.
Deployed staff of men’s ministry:
Greg Arnold, Vancleave, Mississippi
A graduate of the University of Alabama in communications, Arnold worked for 10 years as an on-air broadcaster and program manager. He developed a pilot program on men’s ministry called M3 (Men -.Ministry -.Mission). He has written for several Christian publications and recently released his book for men titled, DIRT: Uncovering Authentic Faith. He serves as a roster speaker for GodMen and president of his local UM Men unit. Arnold serves as operations director for Stein and Associates, and is an equity partner in several healthcare and technology companies.
Neil Brown, Spruce Pine, North Carolina
A graduate of Cleveland Community College in operations management technology, Brown is a two-time president of his local UM Men unit and vice president of the Western North Carolina Conference UM Men. He is a certified men’s ministry specialist who serves on the Men’s Ministry Advisory Team. He worked for three years in disaster recovery with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and he is active in prison ministries. Brown received the highest award given by the state of Kentucky as he was named a “Kentucky Colonel” by Governor Paul Patton in 2002.
Mark Dehority, Moweaqua, Illinois
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois, Dehority is in process of fulfilling requirements for certification as a men’s ministry specialist. He served as president of a local unit of UM Men, president of a district, and he currently serves as vice president of the Wisconsin and Illinois area of UM Men for the North Central Jurisdiction. He is a key presenter in the area of intentional discipleship, active in national missions, and has professional experience in organizational development. He operates a construction company specializing in in-ground pools.
The Rev. Mark Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
A local pastor in the Louisiana Conference, Lubbock formerly served as pastor of three congregations. As a certified men’s ministry specialist he now helps churches in the conference establish effective ministries to and with men through Louisiana Men of Christ, an organization he founded. Before becoming a pastor he served as president of a local unit of UM Men and is current secretary of the District UM Men. He has led Man in the Mirror, Promise Keepers, Men at the Cross, Kairos Prison Ministry, and Men Mentoring Men events. The self-starter served as chief executive officer and president of a technology company since 1987; the organization is now called Louisiana Data Systems.
To request the presence of a director at any event, call 866-297-4312, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org