On being ambassadors for Christ
By Rick Vance
As I was preparing to board a plane to go to my annual conference, I read that Nashville had been named the friendliest city in 2016 by Travel & Leisure. (Huffpost-July 14, 2016). On the other side of the spectrum, Miami was voted the most unfriendly.
As I began to think about the differences between the two cities, I wondered how people would rate the friendliness of our church and its men’s ministry. If we were to poll 20 people who had recent contacts with our church and the men’s ministry program, what would they say about the friendliness?
As UM Men, we spend a great deal of time discussing the next best program, best study or best group to reach men.
We believe that many men don’t make their relationship with God a priority. However, that assumption is wrong. Several studies show people do not turn away from God; they turn away from the church.
I suggest that response also extends to men’s ministry.
The Travel & Leisure article reports that even though there are great beaches and great food in Miami, “the city’s residents were less than welcoming.” Contrasting this with Nashville, the article said the “locals were eager to share their home with newbies.”
What are some of the principles we can learn from this article?
- People want to be warmly received.
- People are less concerned with programs, activities and appearance.
- People want to be included in the community.
If we apply these ideas to the church and its men’s ministry, what would change?
- Our ministry would be a place that is safe for men to come as they are. Our men’s ministry would welcome all men where they are and help them find hope and acceptance while offering opportunities for accountability.
- While we would continue to offer ministries that have worked historically, we would also be open to the reality that God is calling all people to something new. New ministries, new activities and new ideas would be prayerfully considered and enacted.
- We would allow newbies to be part of the family. Men who are new to your group do not just want to be welcomed and given a place to sit, they want to help set-up, plan, implement and celebrate the ministry.
- Ministry would be done in relationship with God and others and with some form of accountability. Time would always be made to build relationships with God and each other.
My continued prayer is that people will rate our ministry as the best in America.
One last thing, it is not too late to join us at the 12th National Gathering of UM Men in Indianapolis. Please go here for registration information.
Your brother on the journey,
Rick Vance, director of men’s ministry
General Commission on UM Men