Photo:Leaders of annual conferences with an increase in the number of chartered organizations of United Methodist Men gather at a March 1-3 meeting in Nashville.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–– The National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men (NACP) celebrated an increased number of chartered organizations, agreed to purchase a 16-seat passenger bus for the Vietnam United Methodist Church, and sang hymns in the dungeon of the Upper Room building while tornado warnings sounded.
Conference presidents met March 1-4 with conference prayer advocates who brought $18,000 from their annual conferences to support the 24-hour, 365-day Upper Room Prayer Line.
Increased number of chartered groups
While membership in United Methodist Church continues to decline, the number of annual conferences chartering units of United Methodist Men continues to increase.
Thirty annual conferences reported increases in the number of chartered group in 2011 over the previous year. In 2010, 29 conferences reported increases over the number reported in 2009.
Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, presented expressions of appreciation to the 30 presidents with increased number of chartering churches.
“Most of this growth comes from your hard work as leaders of this ministry,” said Hanke.
The assembly also celebrated the certification of 34 men currently serving area churches as men’s ministry specialists. Five of 12 recently certified men’s ministry specialists were commissioned during the four-day gathering.
Bus for Vietnam
Noting the rapid growth of congregations in Vietnam, including 14 new congregations in the Hanoi area in the past few months, the men agreed to raise $35,000 to purchase a 16-passenger bus for the Vietnamese church.
Joseph Bishman, coordinator of Vietnam ministries for the West Ohio Conference, noted that the church is seeking recognition from the national government, and the bus “could help tip the Kingdom work at this critical time.” The 12,000 church members are providing orphanages, engaging in ministries to persons with handicapping conditions, and they are making new disciples across the once divided nation. “The Vietnam church is taking bold initiatives in growing generous givers within the local churches, and at the same time striving to be faithful by sharing part of their meager resources with one of our other mission partners, Laos, “said Bishman. He notes that the Vietnam War (referred by Vietnamese as the “American War”) is just a page out of a history book since well over 70 percent of the current population was not alive during the conflict.
If the men raise more than the $35,000, extra funds will purchase motorcycles to be used by pastors who take them to remote villages to start house churches. “One area started with three such apostolic leaders, and now has 41 house churches and almost 1,000 in worship in the Central Highlands,” said Bishman.
During a March 4 closing worship service in the Upper Room chapel, Hanke asked for prayers for the Vietnam church as the Vietnamese government was hindering requests to be authorized for full operation in that nation.
Leaders of annual conferences with an increase in the number of chartered organizations of United Methodist Men gather at a March 1-3 meeting in Nashville.