PECK, Kans.–– Joe Warne, 62, was baptized in the Indian Ocean near the equator and spent a winter in Antarctica.
Now he will continue his colorful biography as a men’s ministry specialist helping churches in the Wichita East District expand their ministries to men and employ tools designed to promote their spiritual growth.
Following completion of three lay speaker courses and an Understanding Men’s Ministry course in Blackstone, Va., Warne was commissioned as a men’s ministry specialist during a March 3 meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents in Nashville.
In order to qualify for certification, the active churchman also completed an on-line course in UMC polity and history and a safe-sanctuary course.
In order to qualify for certification, candidates are also asked to write about their spiritual history, complete a spiritual-gifts assessment, prepare a two-year spiritual growth plan, and establish a 3- to 5-year strategy to strengthen men’s ministry in their areas.
In writing about his spiritual pilgrimage, Warne says he was raised in Mount Olive Methodist Church in Wichita (1949-1960) and attended Haysville Methodist Church (1960-1972) prior to his 1972 enlistment in the U.S. Navy as an engineering aid for the Seabees.
He traces his spiritual rebirth to a 1973 experience on the Island of Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territories, when he was baptized in the Indian Ocean.
Following that transforming event, he became active in the Navy Chapel program for the next nine years of his active duty. “I was the Protestant lay leader during the 1980 winter in Antarctica,” says Warne. During that time, he helped host a morning Christian radio program with the unlikely title “Streams in the Desert.”
Following his service in the Navy, Warne attended Wichita State University and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then worked for the Veterans Administration for six years, the McConnell Air Force Base for 15 years, and the U.S. Army Reserves for seven years.
As he was debating what he might do with his life following retirement, he accepted the position of president of Wichita East District UM Men and subsequently learned about Wesley Building Brothers and the men’s ministry specialist training.
“After taking a trip to Nashville in March 2011, and seeing the big picture of UM Men, I was convinced that men’s ministry is where God wants me to spend my time,” said Warne. One year later he was commissioned a men’s ministry specialist at the same annual meeting of conference presidents.
His next goal is to initiate a Wesleyan Building Brothers group at his home church of Mulvane, and then expand the program to other churches in the Wichita East District.