ROCKFORD, Ill. –– Steve Nailor, president of Northern Illinois Conference UM Men, has been certified by the General Commission on UM Men and the Turner Center for Church Development at Vanderbilt Divinity School as a men’s ministry specialist.
He was commissioned at a March 3 service during a meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men in Nashville.
While Nailor will continue to provide leadership to UM Men organizations across the conference, he will now help area churches without a men’s ministry program discover ways to provide spiritual enrichment opportunities for men in their congregations, and he will suggest ways for congregations to reach unchurched men in their neighborhoods.
Nailor became active in the UMC following a 1978 lay witness mission at Pecatonica UMC in the Rockford District; he has since served as lay leader for Grace UMC and for the district. He teaches a weekly adult Sunday school class, and has been a member of every committee within the church. In 1980, Nailor became a certified lay speaker and later served as director of lay speaking for the Northern Illinois Conference.
He represents UM Men as a member of Northern Illinois Annual Conference, and he is a four-time delegate to General Conference and the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. He chaired the Conference Committee on the Episcopacy and served one quadrennium as a member of the Jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy.
Nailor served as president of the Rockford District UM Men for 14 years while the group sponsored semi-annual communion services attended by as many as 213 men. Prior to his election as conference president, he served as conference treasurer and conference vice-president.
He has been conference president for nearly six years was recently re-elected to a second four-year term (2012-2015).
Nailor spent three years and traveled 26,000 miles raising funds for Banco stoves and wells for villages in Niger. The effort on behalf of UMCOR through Church World Service followed a visit to villages in that African nation where he saw the need for the stoves and fresh well water.
While supporting ministries of mercy and social justice, he is also a strong supporter of spiritual formation opportunities. Following daily readings from the Upper Room Disciplines, Nailor leads worship experiences with and beyond Grace UMC, and he has been director of the Northern Illinois Men’s Spiritual Congress for the past 12 years. Prior to that, he was a member of the planning committee for eight years.
“I believe these experiences have strengthened my personal walk with God,” he said. “There is not a day that goes by that He doesn’t teach me something new.”
After 35 years at ComEd (Commonwealth Edison Company) and the last 11 years as director of public affairs for the company, Nailor retired in 2001 to begin his own consulting firm to work with Chamber of Commerce committees and economic development agencies.
He also has served as interim president and chief executive officer of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce which served approximately 1,600 members, and he chaired a $5.2 million capital campaign for Wesley Willows Town center. He also has served as president of Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Freeport Area Economic Development Association.
A recipient of many awards, Nailor is a member of the John Wesley Society and received a Rotary “Above Self Award” and an award for outstanding community service by the Rockford chapter of Rotary International. He also served as president of Freeport Chamber of Commerce and received a ComEd Presidential Award.
The city of Freeport proclaimed Jan. 19, 2002, “Steve Nailor Day” to honor his contributions to the city.
He is married to Donnette, and the couple has two adult children and five grandchildren.
There are currently 32 men’s ministry specialists across the United States. Certification takes 12 to 18 months. Candidates must participate in a No Man Left behind Leadership Training experience and a lay speaker course. They must also complete an on-line course in UMC polity and history and a safe-sanctuary course. Candidates are asked to read several books and asked to write about their spiritual history, complete a spiritual-gifts assessment, prepare a two-year spiritual growth plan, and establish a 3- to 5-year strategy to strengthen men’s ministry in their areas.
For information about becoming a men's ministry specialist, contact LaNisha Sayles (Lsayle@gcumm.org (615/620-7260).