From your partners in men’s ministry
A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff
to leaders of United Methodist Men
Let God lead and let God hold
By Gil Hanke
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139: 7-10 NKJV
On a recent flight from New Orleans to Nashville, I got a window seat. As we took off that morning, the clouds were low, and in one direction clouds and fog hugged the ground and water below. I could see the beginning of the bridge, known as the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. Although the bridge is nearly 24 miles long, all that was visible that morning was a few hundred yards; the rest was buried in fog. I could see the beginning but not the final destination.
Most of the trips I take by car, I have studied Google Maps and use the GPS on my phone for guidance. On trips that require air travel, I know where I am staying and usually have a good idea on how to get from the airport to the hotel. But some of our journeys lead us into places, into opportunities, into challenges that are not expressly clear when we begin. Like that bridge, we know we are going in the right direction, but the end is not clear or visible. For example, an unplanned conversation, leads to meeting a new person, who invites me to a meeting which leads to a new expression of ministry. That was my introduction to the amazing work being done by the YWCA in domestic violence. If I had missed that meeting or gone to a seat in another part of the room; that connection would not have been made. Even there Your hand shall lead me.
One of the axioms of business is to begin with the end mind. But sometimes we are called only to be faithful and rely on God to determine the final outcome. This year the church I attend is going to go door to door in our neighborhood and invite people to church. We are investing in improved signage at the church. We could repeat the line from the movie Field of Dreams, “If they build it, they will come.” They key here is you have to do something first, step out in faith and see what God has in store for you. We often over plan what the outcome has to look like, rather than trusting God is leading us to outcome God desires and has already planned.
And, your right hand shall hold me.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on United Methodist Men
The UM presence at the 2017 BSA National Jamboree
By Larry Coppock
“He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
––Mark 9:36-37 (NIV)
The BSA National Jamboree will be held July 19-28 at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, West Virginia. More than 35,000 Scouts and leaders will be welcomed. This will be the second time the jamboree has been held at The Summit, the permanent site for the national jamboree.
During the past 18 months, we recruited 14 pastors for jamboree service: 12 will serve as chaplains in 20 sub-camps and two at BSA headquarters. A special thanks is extended to the Rev. Jason Fry, Corpus Christi, Texas, for coordinating chaplain placement, conducting chaplain pre-jamboree training in Nashville, and contributing to the planning of the UM Communion service. Jason is a veteran of several jamborees and we appreciate his servant leadership.
An additional 30 volunteers will serve as staff at the “Duty to God and Country” UMC Scouting Ministry exhibit. The exhibit will include information about becoming a scouting ministry specialist, recognitions and awards, our mission initiative, the Society of Saint Andrew, and Strength for Service.
Jamboree officials have given us permission to present Scouts with the BSA edition of Strength for Service to God and Country. This book will be distributed at the UMC exhibit, in sub-camps by chaplains and at the July 23 Communion service conducted by West Virginia Area Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball.
Join us in celebrating the ministry presence of The United Methodist Church at the BSA National Jamboree!
Larry W. Coppock, national director of scouting ministries
General Commission on UM Men
Happy New Year!
By Rick Vance
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Proverbs 29:18a (KJV)
For years, I have read and preached on this verse suggesting that having vision and mission are essential for the work of an organization to be successful. Recently, while reading other translations of this passage, I concluded there is something more important than having a vision and mission for ministry.
I believe that the most important thing necessary for ministry is being in a healthy, close relationship with God.
John Wesley’s third General Rule was to “Stay in love with God.” To do this Wesley offered the following list:
- The public worship of God.
- The ministry of the Word, either read or expounded.
- The Supper of the Lord.
- Family and private prayer.
- Searching the Scriptures.
- Fasting or abstinence.
By doing this Wesley, felt one’s ministry and life would be centered in God’s will. Once we have made a relationship with God a priority, then we are ready to look at the vision and mission God has for us as an individual and a United Methodist Man.
Eugene Peterson translates Proverbs 29:18 this way in the Message:
If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
May I suggest that as we begin to develop our vision and mission (programs) for our United Methodist Men’s groups, we begin with an intentional move to draw close to God through prayer, scripture small group accountability and discernment? By doing this we will be moving to see what God is doing rather than telling God what we are going to do.
The commission has resources that can help you as you begin this process. Please contact us at 615-620-7277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are in my prayers as we work together to “help men grow In Christ, so others may know Christ.”
The Rev. Dr. Richard Vance, director of men’s ministry
General Commission on UM Men
Light overcomes darkness
By Steve Nailor
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
My personal devotions this week focused on light overcoming darkness, joy replacing oppression and peace banishing war. The image of light figured in several of my daily readings.
Last month I was in New Orleans for a retreat with the General Commission on United Methodist Men. It was a great experience because I had an opportunity to be with the staff and the five jurisdictional presidents.
On Sunday, we attended St. Mark UMC in the French Quarter. As 20 of us (including some spouses) entered the church, we were greeted warmly in the narthex.
As we sat down in the pews, I wondered, “Whose seat am I sitting in and who has to change where they would normally sit?”
We started the service by centering ourselves in a prayer that we would see Jesus in the scripture, and that God would give us His word, and pour out His truth on us.
As the morning progressed I learned that people with aprons were preparing food for those waiting in the narthex. This church does this every week.
This was a church engaged in ministry even before the worship service began.
Talk about light over coming darkness, joy replacing oppression... WOW! Here is a church helping people have a brighter moment in their day because members of St. Mark UMC cared enough help them when they needed it.
Are you attentive to the needs around you? Are you listening to God and then acting on what He calls you to do?
On another note, I wonder: “Is God calling you to attend the National Gathering of UM Men on July 7-8 in Indianapolis?”
Thought-provoking speakers will challenge us to respond to the call of Micah.
Please sign-up here.
Thank you for your ministry “to declare the centrality of Christ in every man’s life.”
Steve Nailor, president
National Association of Conference Presidents
So you’re becoming a servant leader, what’s next?*
By Jim Boesch
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Doing habit: Obeying and expressing God’s love
James encourages us to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers of it (James 1:22).
Therefore, the natural flow of accepting and abiding in God’s love calls us to express it to those we love and lead.
We have identified four doing habits that are central to obeying God and expressing His love and true character to others. You may think of others.
As we are transformed from the inside out, we will bear the “good fruit” of our internal change.
As we walk the talk by exercising these doing habits, all who come in contact with us and all those we influence will “see our good deeds and praise our Father who is in heaven.”
“Grace is the currency of all true relationships.” Grace has also been defined as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.”
Grace is extending unrestrained fellowship to others in celebration of their inherent dignity as being made in God’s image and as the object of His affection, regardless whether they merit it or not. Grace is at work in relationships when we:
- are present for one another;
- accept our mutual limitations;
- exchange mutual efforts to enhance each other’s wellbeing.
It is only in freely-extended intimacy that grace abounds.
God has reached out in the most profound way to restore our intimate relationship with Him. Even when we walk away from Him in our sin His grace abounds in that
“While we are still sinners, Christ died for us.”
During His season of leadership, Jesus constantly reached out His hand in unrestrained fellowship and acceptance to heal and restore people to relationships of grace and acceptance. To lead like Jesus we must come to understand the spiritual dynamics of our relationships as both leaders and followers so that we may be agents of grace in a like manner.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Forgiveness is a supernatural act, not one that we are automatically drawn to extend as a part of our natural response to being hurt or let down. It is an act of the will of one who has surrendered control to a higher court of judgment. Forgiveness is a hallmark of what it means to lead like Jesus. He taught it to His disciples; He practiced it with those who betrayed Him; and, He granted it willingly to those who participated in His death on the cross.
For a leader, the journey of forgiveness must start with oneself. Unlike Jesus, we will fall short of 100 percent in our journey as leaders. Sometimes we will make mistakes that could have been avoided. Sometimes we will say or do things in the heat of the moment that we regret. If our ego is wrapped up in our performance and the opinion of others, we will be unable to forgive our own shortcomings, let alone anyone else’s. Once we fully grasp and accept God’s forgiveness towards us, we will be able to “forgive the inexcusable” in others “because God has forgiven the inexcusable” in us. (C.S.Lewis)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Encouragement is often overlooked, and may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Encouraging words of Jesus like “you can do all things through me” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” gave His disciples the power to live their lives to the fullest and to do the impossible!
Do you recall the moment when Peter and the other disciples were in a boat amidst a storm, fearing for their lives? Jesus’ encouraging words, “Don’t be afraid, take courage” gave Peter the courage to step out of the boat. Jesus’ encouraging words enabled a fearful man to walk on water!
As we feast on God’s Word and His constant encouragement for us, let’s use every opportunity we get to encourage those around us. We never know what a “little encouraging word” can do in someone’s life!
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
––2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Community was always a part of God’s design. Going back to the Garden of Eden we see God create man and woman so they can be in community with their Maker and with one another. In Romans 12, we get a wonderful picture of how, even though we are many members, we are all part of one body, designed to work together in perfect harmony.
Christian community is simply sharing a common life in Jesus with others. It helps us move beyond the isolation of private lives to a commitment to live together as the people of God.
Community is a way for us to live out the mandate of “one another” found throughout the Scriptures. For example: Love one another, forgive each other, regard each other more highly than yourselves. Teach and correct each other, encourage each other, pray for each other, and bear each other’s burdens. Be friends with one another, kind, compassionate, and generous in hospitality. Serve one another and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Sharing this common life is where we learn to be “Jesus with skin on” for others. It’s where we can be ourselves and be challenged to be more than we are. In his book, Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado says, “God loves us just like we are but He doesn’t mean to leave us that way. He wants to make us just like Jesus.” That’s what happens in community!
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A servant leader is a lifelong learner and their role of influencing others for the benefit of building and serving God’s kingdom for His glory will be enhanced greatly through the consistent, authentic use of this arsenal of doing habits and behaviors.
*This information is included in the Lead like Jesus servant leadership equipping ministry. It introduces the final, continual area of growth undertaken by a leader as they begin to apply skills experienced in the leadership domains of the Heart, Being Habits, Head and Hands domains of Leading Like Jesus. If you are unaware of the details of this ministry, please contact me for more information.)
Jim is a master trainer in facilitating workshops for “Lead Like Jesus,” servant leadership training; “Understanding Men's Ministry,” discipling leadership training; and “Equipping Equippers” learning-facilitation training. You may host any of these workshops in your area by calling him (407-721-0416) or by e-mail
Jim Boesch, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men