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April 18, 2011

From your partners in men´s ministry A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff to leaders of United Methodist Men

Clearly on the Grow
By Gil Hanke

Part of my responsibility as general secretary is to measure changes that take place because of our ministry to men and through scouting.

Sometime those results come to us in a letter or email, thanking us for materials or presentations we have provided either in person or through a webinar. Sometimes growth is seen as we see participation in some of our large-membership ministries. For example, last year we had more boys in scouting through the UMC than we did the year before — even in the midst of decline in BSA overall.

In early March, we welcomed conference presidents of UM Men and conference prayer advocates for training and worship. To hear them describe their increased participation in missions, in small-group ministries and prison ministries was a special blessing.

We hear from Man in the Mirror that there are increased sales of the Advanced Lay Speakers Course, Understanding Men's Ministry which is available through the GCUMM website.

Not only are we growing numerically, but we are producing new leaders with new skill sets.

I thank God for the hard work of our great staff and many volunteers like you.

Rich and the rest of the staff have put together the document below that shows growth in the last year, "by the numbers." So, yes, I am pleased with these increases, but I am even more pleased when I see men and youth growing in Christ. With all the talk of decline, we are clearly on the grow.

United Methodist Men by the Numbers
Growth in 2010

22 Number of certified men's ministry specialists

29 Number of annual conferences that increased the number of chartered organizations from 2009 to 2010.

40 Number of "big brothers" matched with boys who have at least one parent in prison through efforts by the Commission on UM Men

50% Percentage of Scouts meeting in UM churches that come from unchurched families

52 Number of annual conferences that increased the number of EMS members in 2010

107 Number of Scouting Ministry Specialists

78% Percentage of General Commission on UM Men funds raised by UM Men for national and international ministries. Only 22 percent comes from World Service apportioned funds.

1,000 Number of volunteers that serve the Upper Room Prayer Line in 300 groups around the world

8,000 Number of e-mails received each month by the Upper Room Prayer Line

$11,500 Amount of money raised by prayer advocates and UM Men groups for the Upper Room Prayer Line in 2010

$17,500 Amount of money collected for Nothing But Nets by UM Boy Scouts attending the national jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia

266,014 Number of calls in 2010 to the Upper Room Prayer Line

371,499 Number of Scouts in troops and packs sponsored by 6,700 UM churches

443,000 Number of Strength for Service books distributed by the General Commission on UM Men

1,920,000 Servings of fresh surplus food provided by UM Men through Meals for Million of the Society of St. Andrew in 2010

8,400,000 Servings of fresh produce provided to the hungry through the Society of St. Andrew Potato Project by UM Men in 2010

$14,121,321 Amount of money raised by UM Men groups for missions in 2009


Gilbert C. Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men


NACP Members Respond to Mission Opportunities
By John Dowell

This year's National Association of Conference Presidents provided several mission opportunities.

The first one began at last year's meeting when Wayne Custer, president of the Northeast Jurisdiction UM Men, challenged members of the association to put 25 cents each day in jars he provided. He said if we were faithful in doing this, by next year, each of us would have set aside $91.25.

Twenty-four men took jars and promised to fill them. Throughout the year, Wayne would remind us where we should be at those times.

One year later, 24 men brought a total of $2,190 to the March NACP meeting. But, the story doesn't end here. God intervened and His math is not the same as ours.

From the total donated, $450 was used for Faith Sharing New Testaments. The $1,000 we allocated for Haiti became $2,000 when matched by funds from the UM Committee on Relief, and the $750 we provided for the Society of St. Andrew became $1,200 when matched by the Feinstein Foundation.

Our original $2,190 had become $3,600. Praise God!!

Another mission opportunity was introduced to the group when Larry Malone gave a report on Stop Hunger Now packaging event to be held during the August World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa. He asked each annual conference UM Men organization to provide $200 for the hunger-relief effort. If 50 conferences respond, $10,000 would available to support the event. NACP gave its support and a number of checks were immediately given for this effort.

During the NACP meeting, participants answered calls to feed the hungry and aid earthquake victims in Haiti. But, this is what UM Men have been doing for generations. They see a need and they respond.

To the members of the NACP and UM men everywhere, I say thank you and I salute you.

I'm proud of all of you.

John Dowell, president
National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men


SFS — Ten-year Progress Report
By Larry Coppock

It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since the first books came off the press of the re-publication of Strength for Service to God and Country (SFS). From its beginnings as an Eagle Scout service project, this little devotional book first published in World War II, has been given to thousands of public-service personnel, including members of every branch of the military. SFS is a wonderful example of how a grass-roots ministry can take on a life of its own. Some interesting notes about SFS include:

  • 443,000 books distributed as of February 28,2011 toward a goal of 1 million
  • 11 printings
  • $1,672,000 raised (all funds plowed back into the project)
  • 5,400 donors (approximately 50% are UM Men's groups/UM churches)
  • Commemorative BSA edition introduced in 2007-over 14,000 sold through BSA Council Scout shops
  • New partnership with the UMPH in 2007
  • Over 1,000 separate chaplain distributions
  • Virtually every annual conference has raised funds for SFS
  • L. W. Smith, SEJ men's president, is the SFS task force chair. Greg Godwin and Wayne Custer are members.
  • Every member of our staff devotes some percentage of his or her time to SFS

Continued need

This spring, GCUMM is partnering with United Methodist Communications on a special September 11 tenth anniversary all-church mailing. An attractive brochure describing the SFS project, is being sent to every pastor and conference president. The packet specifically requests that churches consider a fund-raising campaign that recognizes firemen, policemen and other public service personnel in their communities. Additionally, chaplains continue to request books for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Please make very effort to participate.

On behalf of L. W. Smith as well as our staff and board of directors, thank you for your gifts of time, talent and treasure that have made SFS a significant outreach ministry.


Larry Coppock, national director
Scouting Ministries and director, Strength for Service Publication Fund
General Commission on UM Men



168 Hours
By Mark Lubbock

The missing element in many churches is the male parent.

Somewhere between 18 and 45 years of age, this fellow is rarely seen in church. Oh yes, you might catch a glimpse of him dropping off a child, or maybe coaching a team — but he won't be in a worship service very often.

Ever wonder why?

Take it a step further — how come you don't know why?

If you were a close friend of his, he might tell you that there just is not time in his weekly schedule. If you pressed him he might give you the churches-are-full-of-hypocrites excuse.

Yet, polls consistently show that the vast majority of people who attend church first came at the invitation of a friend. Why doesn't it work with your friends?

The George Barna research organization sheds some light on the topic:

. . . Church is not intellectually challenging for them. Men look around and see how poorly run the ministry is—ways they could never get away with in their businesses. They're not willing to put up with that on their free time. And they don't have any meaningful relationships arising from their church.

Studies reveal that folks who do connect with a church form six or more meaningful relationships with members.

It follows, that you and I should spend a little time with guys who aren't connected.

But, who has the time to do so?

Here is what I do — I take just one hour each week to spend with a guy I don't know well. There are 168 hours in every week. We all can find a way to set aside one of those hours to get to know another guy.

Grab a meal or coffee together. Take a ride to the hardware store. Watch a game together. You can figure it out.

And when you've done this often enough—invite him to your church. Don't take the first few "I-don't-think-so" responses personally. Continue to lift him up in prayer, build a real relationship-your occasional invitations will eventually result in a willing reception.

The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men


Men's Role in the Church
By Mark Dehority

It's no secret. Almost twice as many women as men belong to UM churches. The women take most leadership roles. This is evident when reading any church bulletin.

Point 1: We do not have too many women working in the church. More women need to take an active role in Christ's work. Men have a strong role in welcoming women leaders and providing support for their ministries.

Point 2: Men need to stand beside them in leading the church and leading the world to Christ.
To strengthen our churches and our men we need to look at their role in its entire context. How men interact with our families, churches and communities. The new role (last sixty years) for most of us is that we work, we provide and we try to make an impact by dedicating ourselves to some kind of secular gain. This is often at the cost family, church and community. As one who has at times relinquished his role at church to his spouse, I understand and am part of the problem. The role of UMM local groups is often focused the same way. We cook, build, give, usher and leave what spiritual development that does happen to our women.

These are the basics of our faith and some questions I ask men to pray about.

UM Men's Mission

"To create disciples of Jesus Christ"
"To assist men to know Jesus Christ, to serve him, to grow spiritually and to seek to do his will daily."

Personal Questions:
How am I getting to know Jesus?
God has a plan for us and Jesus will show us the way.
How am I going to serve Him in my church, family and community?
How am I growing spiritually?
How do I seek to do His will daily? What behaviors have I changed?

John Wesley's Question:
"How can I be the kind of person God and I want me to be?"
We as men must assume our role in the church at every level. We as men must evaluate our God-given gifts and then use them in His work. Successful men's lives must include appropriate relationships with Christ, our families and our communities. But, we have only 24 hours in a day and something has to give. We must put something down to accomplish God's role for us. Through daily prayer and scripture God will guide us. God will give us the strength to do the work.

Successful men's ministry is easy. We just need to lead, coach and help men to do the above items. The world is transformed, the kingdom is established on earth and everything is good.

Successful men's ministry must include intentionally making disciples, growing leaders, and walking with Christ. New ideas? No, these are the ideas given us by Jesus Christ. These are the ideas that founded our denomination. UMM have tools and processes to help us. All men, all clergy, all leaders must make men's ministry a priority for the success of God's work.

Mark Dehority, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men


They Are Waiting on You
By Greg Arnold

Two men stand on a sidewalk of "Skid Row," one of the poorest and toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Hundreds of homeless and hungry people are nearby. But the two guys standing next to a van are different. One man, a millionaire, and the other, a store owner - both of means, empty a van full of clothes, toiletries, shoes, and various sundries to give away to the community.

The effort was new to the millionaire but a normal routine for the store owner. The millionaire, in this case, was undercover as he was researching ways to give some of his money to deserving people and change their lives.

As you would expect, the tables were turned.

You may have seen the television show that profiled this scenario. I watched and could not escape the echo of Jesus' teaching for the rich young ruler in Matthew's Gospel (19:16-26).

One homeless gentleman slogs forward with shoes soiled with human excrement — not a pretty picture. The store owner, without hesitation, asks the homeless man what size shoes he wears. "Eight, I wear size eight." The store owner grins, slips off his own shoes and hands them to the man. "Perfect fit" the man says with a smile.

The millionaire's jaw drops and a tear rolls down his cheek. "Man, you just gave him the shoes off of your feet—that's amazing." This act of kindness overwhelms and changes the rich man.

The millionaire found a new purpose, a new joy, and a fulfilling answer to his questions of what to do with his money.

I recall Jesus telling us to take care of those around us who need help. I recall God telling us in His word that joy is found when we give ourselves away. I recall the story of the rich young ruler who walked away in tears, because he worked so hard his whole life and missed the point entirely. And I freshly remember the site of the millionaire's face as he witnessed love in action.

It's not about the stuff we gain, it's about how we give ourselves away.

Isn't it amazing how people are changed when they learn how to love like Christ taught us? Have you had that experience lately? I hope we aren't experiencing the love of Christ by watching television.

I hope we are all doing it everyday. Personally, I hope it's the norm. It's why we are in ministry—to teach other's the truth of Christ and to make disciples. Amen?

They are waiting on you.

Greg Arnold, deployed staff
General Commission on United Methodist Men


Is your men's organization planning to participate in May 14-15 Change the World?
Please send your plans to Gil Hanke (




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