A bi-monthly e-letter by agency officers and staff
of the General Commission on UM Men
By Bishop Gary Mueller
I try to avoid getting political and that’s not easy for someone who has a degree in political science.
But as tempting as it is to pontificate politically, I’ve discovered that people don’t need another political talking head. They need a spiritual voice, so that’s what I do my best to offer.
Sometimes, however, employing a spiritual voice means addressing moral issues that lead to discomfort for both the speaker and the hearer.
The plight of the Haitians at the U.S. border near Del Rio, Texas is an example of the type of moral issue you and I have to face exactly because we claim Jesus as Savior and Lord.
While I don’t have answers about what we should do, I know what we shouldn’t do:
Respond with overused religious cliches.
Claim there are simple answers any intelligent person can figure out.
Believe that either Democrats or Republicans are agents of Jesus’ public policy.
So how should you and I respond to any moral crisis that confronts us?
Read the Gospels. Let them shape you. Pray deeply. And then start asking yourself questions:
How would Jesus react watching the video footage showing outrageous treatment of the Haitians by a small group of U.S. Border Patrol agents?
What would Jesus tell his disciples to do when untold numbers of people are huddling under a bridge for shelter?
How many tears would Jesus shed watching as thousands are shipped back home to a nation devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes?
Yes, it’s time for us to go spiritual. But beware. Going spiritual is not just about finding the right answers. It also means you are willing to hear what God wants you to do.
Bishop Gary Mueller, vice-president
General Commission on UM Men
By Gil Hanke
Some have asked me, “What will you miss when you retire?” That list is too long to write. The better question is “What will you do, when you turn in the keys to this wonderful position?” I have promised my wife Sher, that we will not make any big decisions on what is next for at least a few weeks. There are some travel plans that have been long standing. There is a granddaughter who needs more spoiling. There is a national park system that needs some more exploring.
I don’t think I want to be in charge of anything or be in a place where I need to make important decisions. Sher and I take turns selecting a local restaurant to support once a week, and even that is a decision I attempt to avoid.
I know we will remain active in Antioch UMC, and in some of the online Class Meeting groups that have guided me over the last 16 years. I think I will pray more in a non-stressed manner and read more. I also may write letters again and reconnect with some friends from college and with others from my former life as a speech language pathologist. If my skills are needed as a speech pathologist to an underserved population, that would be fun. I do have plans to return to Haiti, once the violence is more controlled.
But, since you asked, I will try to answer the first question. I will miss this talented, amazing, supportive, caring staff, our wonderful board, and each of you!
You are loved.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
Will we use what we have created?
By Dr. Rick Vance
The other day I was looking at some articles I had filed away. One of the articles spoke of a tall hotel that had never been used.
“At 1,080 feet, North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang is the tallest unoccupied building in the world, according to Guinness World Records. The 105-story ‘Hotel of Doom,’ which is also North Korea's tallest building, has never hosted a single guest…”
As I looked at that unoccupied hotel, I wondered how often we plan, train for, and build ministry only to move to the next thing without living out the ministry we developed.
How many opportunities for ministry go unused?
It is essential that we develop life-changing ministries, but it’s also essential that these ministries be used.
Our website contains scores of videos, material, and training opportunities, but many of them are unused.
It doesn’t much matter how good the training opportunities are if they are never taken off the shelf.
It doesn’t much matter how inspiriting the videos are if they are never viewed.
It doesn’t much matter helpful an article is if it is never read.
Please visit the resource section of the commission’s website
Everything we do in men’s ministry must be evaluated for its impact on making disciples, coaching men to thrive, and supporting a process that enables deeper relationships for men with God and other men.
James 1:22 reminds us “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
May we allow ourselves to be equipped and go out to share Christ with the world.
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries
General Commission on UM Men
Respond to the alarm
By Steven Scheid
“Besides this you know the time that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”
––Romans 13:11 ESV
Each day I set two alarms. The first provides gentle music. The second is a rasping knock.
The intent is to avoid a jolt into consciousness. Most of the time, the second is turned off before it starts. On rare occasions, the second alarm brings me to an adrenaline-induced consciousness.
This pattern also lives in the pages of the Bible.
In Deuteronomy 8:11-14, the alarm is gentle: “Be careful that you do not forget . . .”
We hit the snooze button. We prosper as life becomes easier. It is a comforting alarm.
Then comes the harsh call of John 3:18: “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
We must wake up. God is calling; salvation is at stake.
The problems of our day seem daunting, but they are nothing compared to eternal consequences.
Once awake it is time to live as a disciple.
One man awake
Can waken another;
The second can waken
His next-door brother.
The three awake
Can rouse a town,
By turning the whole
Place upside down.
The many awake
Can make such a fuss,
That it finally wakens
The rest of us!
One man up,
With dawn in his eyes,
The mission of the church is to make disciples for the transformation of the world. Are you in mission?
Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministry
General Commission on UM Men
What are the standards for Godly leaders?
By Herman Lightsey
“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”
Without clear guidelines, goals, visions, values, and accountability we end up doing a lot of “stuff.”
While this may be good stuff, it may not be focused on making disciples.
The five jurisdictional presidents and I, with the help of Jim Boesch (a deployed staff member of the commission), have been working for months to establish clear guidelines and processes to help men and their families become disciples of Jesus Christ.
This is a slow process and, as men, we have to resist the temptation to rush in and start fixing things immediately.
Edward H. Hammett in his book, Reaching People under 40 while Keeping People over 60, said, “An organization never moves beyond its leadership.”
Leadership is our glass ceiling.
He suggests we enlist and train leaders to:
Be present. Attendance, involvement, and consistency of leadership are critical. We learn from leaders through consistent involvement with each other.
Be prepared. Leaders must be trained, mentored, and mentor others. They should mentor and train their replacements.
Be disciple-makers. He/she should look for potential leaders who are disciples to mentor and encourage others.
Be engaged in spiritual-life disciplines. Prayer, a personal ministry, a strong witness, and Bible study are essential.
Be accountable to other capable, trusted, and mature spiritual leaders for carrying out their functions for the body of Christ. We must find ways to strengthen the Body of Christ through loving and invited accountability. Thanks to Gil Hanke, thousands of men are doing this through The Class Meeting, by Kevin Watson.
What are the standards you look for in a leader?
What will it take for you to be a better leader?
God calls us to be about his work of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
Remember, this ministry is not about where, or if, men and their families attend church; this ministry is about where men and their families will spend eternity.
Grace and Peace,
Herman Lightsey, president
National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men
Support your foundation
By Steve Nailor
Your support is vital to the expansion of our ministry to youth and men.
The foundation annually provides $155,500 to the Center for Men’s Ministry and the Center for Scouting Ministries and $8,000 for our prayer advocates.
As it stands today, we can only continue to support the above ministries at the same level for five more years.
It is important that we increase our funds to enable us to continue and grow the ministries. The foundation board has made a commitment to protect the corpuses in these accounts and only use the growth from the accounts to provide whatever ministries are needed.
One of the goals is to expand the focus on ministries for helping educate men in ways to address domestic violence and promote racial justice in their local communities. If you believe there should be other topics of concern, please email me.
In our last newsletter there was information about taking advantage of specific ways for reducing your tax burden and making contributions that will make a difference in people’s lives. Several men have begun taking advantage of this financial pathway.
There are three reasons why folks give to an organization:
Because they believe in the organization’s mission.
Because they have faith in the leadership of the organization.
Because they realize that lives are being
changed or affected by the ministry
United Methodist Men are doing all the above.
Thank you to the men who have recently given. The Heritage Fund increased by $10,000 in the last three months. Won’t you join them in donating today?
Please visit our website and make your donation.
invite you to take note of the back page of the fall edition of UMMen magazine or go to www.UMMMF.org. There you will find our mission statement and a link to the United Methodist Men Foundation.
Steve Nailor, president
UM Men Foundation
––1 Peter 2:9
Changing men’s identity
By Mark Lubbock
““But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
––1 Peter 2:9
From childhood, we seek a personal identity that draws the respect of others.
God’s plan is for us to be taught as children of God and to live into our destiny as mature members of the faith community.
Unfortunately, few parents were taught rightly, and they are unable to provide helpful guidance to their children. Their children, therefore, spend much of their lives trying to discover who they are or should be.
Consider the men in the news who have been hurtful. Consistently these men’s profile shows a pattern of negative self-identity.
How then can we find our personal identity and then teach others to do likewise?
It is more than simply stating, “I am a child of God,” and bingo––I have a new identity.
John Wesley used Scripture to craft a method that sparked decades of revivals. His method was so well recognized that his followers were eventually called Methodists.
What is this forgotten method?
Glad you asked.
The commission staff is positioned to answer that question. They can equip you with the ability to teach and sustain a widespread awareness of the time-proven method.
The principles are simple, and the tools are readily available.
Why not start with yourself and your church?
Drop the commission a note and we will link you with a facilitator to get you started on a fruitful and transforming experience.
Mark Lubbock, deployed staff member
General Commission on UM Men
A self-test to determine the effectiveness of your small group
By Jim Boesch
Have everyone in your small group take this assessment in order to determine if spiritual growth is occurring.
In each of the two categories, indicate whether the statement is “true,” “somewhat true,” “somewhat false,” or “false.” Write that response in the blank.
I. Know each other
It is impossible to determine whether spiritual growth is happening if you don’t know each other well.
____________. I talk with and/or meet with one or more of my small-group members outside our planned group meetings.
____________.I have shared my life struggles and victories with at least one member of my small group.
____________. We know each other’s life- and faith-journey stories.
____________. I feel the free to be honest and authentic with my small group.
____________. Our group members are comfortable enough to ask questions without fear of being judged by other group members.
II. Know our progress
The foundational purpose of men engaging in small group-environments is to enable them to grow spiritually into the men God is calling them to be as men, fathers, sons, brothers, and friends in Christ. Are you seeing progress?
____________. Our small group discussions are deeper now than they were three months ago.
____________. Our small group has been meeting together consistently for the past six months.
____________. I can give at least three examples of how our group life has changed and developed because of the spiritual growth of our members.
____________. I can give specific examples to illustrate the way members of our group have grown in biblical and life-purpose knowledge.
Tabulate the responses from each member of your small group, then discuss:
1. In what two areas is our group the weakest? Why? How does that knowledge impact our potential for growth?
2. In what two areas is our group the strongest? How have these become strengths? How have these strengths shaped the group?
3. What adjustments can we make to our group’s life, in order to maintain our strengths and address our weaknesses?
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
The General Commission on UM Men