‘Something good is going on,’ says bishop
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––“Something good is going on with UM Men,” Bishop James Swanson, president of the General Commission on UM Men, told the 20-member governing board of the Nashville-based agency.
Quoting Scripture passages that reported the disciples were unconvinced of the good news of the Resurrection, Swanson told the August 20-22 gathering that like the disciples members of the denomination seem to focus on bad news and enjoy “self-flagellation.”
He recalled how delegates to the 2004 General Conference focused on negative actions and totally ignored the fact that Cote d'Ivoire wanted to join the denomination. “No one celebrated that two million people wanted to become part of the UMC,” he observed.
“We have to find––and we don’t have to look far––to see what God has done in our lives, and we need to tell those stories. Don’t talk about what hinders us,” he said. “Look to see what God has done in your life.
“We sit in the dark––not because there is no electricity––it’s because we don’t turn the light switch on. If you can’t see how God is at work in your own life, how can you help others see it.
“We know when we get together something wonderful will happen,” he concluded. “Let us rejoice and be glad because we can do all things because God is with us.”
In business sessions, the board:
- agreed to ask General Conference to amend a resolution related to ministry to men and youth. An addition to the 2012 resolution encourages churches to form small groups of men who use the “class meeting” model of Wesley as described in the book by Dr. Kevin Watson with the same title. These meetings can either face to face or in an e-meeting format;
- asked the Personnel and Finance Committees to seek ways to fund the open position of director of men’s ministry, and continue the use of the three Deployed Staff who work part time for the Commission;
- made positive comments about the revised website which has been remastered to work smoothly with smart phones and tablets;
- celebrated contributions by UM Men to Society of St. Andrew Meals for Millions program that provided 8.2 million serving of fresh produce;
- noted there are 36 men’s ministry specialists and 30 in the candidacy program. These men are enhancing the capacity of neighboring churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ;
- agreed to encourage 303 scouting ministry specialists and conference scouting coordinators to contact churches with or without troops or packs and discover ways to help them expand vibrant youth ministries;
- established three categories of relationships with other groups. They named the National Association of Conference Presidents, the UM Men Foundation, the Society of St. Andrew and Strength for Service as affiliate partners. Six groups were named affiliates and nine groups were named endorsed ministries. They asked General Conference to eliminate references to particular organizations in the 2016 Book of Discipline as the groups can be changed at any time;
- expressed appreciation to Dan Ramsey and Ed Shytle for their leadership as presidents of the National Association of Conference Presidents and the United Methodist Men’s Foundation;
- asked Bishop Swanson to provide other bishops with information about the Boy Scout’s change in leadership policy. UM Men see this as an opportunity to strengthen the relationships between churches and their packs and troops;
- welcomed Bishop John Wesley Yohanna to Nashville and to the GCUMM Board;
- named three persons to investigate the possiblity of developing a leadership academy; and
- noted 69 women had been honored as recipients of the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence.