Have faith in fearful times
By the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance
As I have conversations with men throughout our UM connection, I consistently hear them say they are concerned. Their concerns focus on their local church, their men’s unit, family, and what’s going to happen to the UMC in 2019.
As varied, as these things may seem, the one thing I hear in every case is that they are not only concerned, they are afraid.
Fear, an old English word, means “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Both Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament implore followers of God to “not be afraid.” Further, the author of Psalm 56 reminds his reader that:
When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God, I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
We live in a period when many people are afraid.
This environment of fear limits the choices people see when making decisions and doing ministry. Men, who normally would make good thoughtful, prayerful decisions, make impulsive and less thoughtful judgments out of fear.
God has called us, through men’s ministries, to be people of faith. People who believe in a reality that we have not necessarily seen. Many men fear change or fear the unknown. God, however, says:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
As leaders and men in ministry, I ask that you join me in a time of calm, rather than fear, knowing that God is in control. May we together embrace Psalm 56 and say:
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you (God).”
Your brother on the journey,
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries
General Commission on UM Men