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
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.
Gilbert C. Hanke, general secretary
NACP Members Respond to Mission Opportunities
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
SFS — Ten-year Progress Report
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:
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.
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:
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
Men's Role in the Church
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.
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"
John Wesley's Question:
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
They Are Waiting on You
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
Is your men's organization planning to participate in May 14-15 Change the World?