Neil Brown of Spruce Pine, N.C., describes the on-line learning center for presidents of annual conference units of United Methodist Men
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––United Methodist men may soon be able to walk to their home or office computer instead of boarding an airplane and booking a hotel for expensive training in men’s ministry.
The National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men, meeting March 3-7 in Nashville, learned about the proposed creation of a web-based “Leader Learning & Development Center” where participants can receive advanced training in men’s ministry, scouting ministry, prayer advocacy, and hunger-relief ministries.
The General Commission on United Methodist has already developed a 12-hour, 16 segment training course titled "Understanding Men's Ministry."
The course is based upon content and materials used in the No-Man-Left-Behind training offered by Man in the Mirror in a 2½-day learning seminar.
This course, which will be included in the virtual learning academy, will help qualify men for the position of “men’s ministry specialists” and improve their skills as local, district, and annual conference leaders. Other courses include the “History and Polity of the United Methodist Church” and “Safe Sanctuary and Sexual Ethics,” already available on-line.
Neil Brown, one of the architects of the learning center, said participants will be able to major and minor in subject areas. Upon completion of specific leader tracks, they will receive certification papers.
“We hope to find a financial sponsor for the entire center,” said Brown. “Other agencies and individuals will be able to sponsor particular courses.”
Brown also called for volunteers to serve as content owners to provide materials and individual counseling for program participants.
The concept of the on-line learning center was tested by 25 participants in a December webinar. When it is complete, it will be available 24 hours a day for self-paced learning at the commission’s website (www.gcumm.org).
“This is a better way to reach young people,” said Brown. “It will always be under development.”
During the Nashville meeting, six new men’s ministry specialists were commissioned, bringing the total of specialists to 16.
Those certified were Herman Lightsey, Irmo, S.C.; John Dockery, Elwood, Ind.; George Ramseyer, Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Allen Shaver, Hillsborough, N.C.; Mark Bramson, Mansfield, Texas; and John Hall, Durham, N.C. The first three were present for a certification ceremony. The other three were commissioned in absentia.
Fifty people have been certified as scouting ministry specialists.