ยท Leader Letters

From your partners in men’s ministry

A bi-monthly e-mail letter from agency officers and staff

to leaders of United Methodist Men


Yes you can

By Bishop James King


Not long ago I heard about an older man who picked up the back end of a car to get it off his grandson’s arm. What seemed like the impossible became possible.


Yesterday I prayed for two women who were scheduled for surgery on the following day. These two did not know each other. They lived miles apart but were going through similar situations at the same time on the same day.


Yesterday I heard about a man whose family member had lost their job.


Yesterday I heard about hundreds of students who are being blessed on one of our college campuses because you have generously given.


Yesterday I heard how our Foundation is a blessing to men’s ministry.


Yesterday I heard one of our pastors share a story about a clergy person who seems to have had little financially but at his death left one million dollars to several agencies that are caring for the least among us.


Yesterday I heard a parent talk about being grateful as she led her son to the store to purchase supplies for a health kit for Haiti. This little boy was amazed that there are some in Haiti who do not have water to drink. For every tragedy there are equally as many good news stories of how the faithful have partnered with God to be light in the world. When an earthquake occurs in our lives as in Haiti it frames our circumstance but it does not define who we are.


Paul writes in Philippians 4: 12-13: “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”


I am so thankful for men’s ministry. So many men are doing an excellent job in making disciples of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged over the situations and circumstances that fly in the face of God’s promise.


As president of the General Commission on UM Men (GCUMM), I am deeply committed to being a part of the church that is breaking through the lifeless and lost parts of the mission of the church. I join many of you men who are prepared to put it all on the line in the hope that a Christ like world is possible. What we hope for requires an unshakable faith in God to do what God said God would do in Bible.


Every time I hear or read about what God is doing through men of faith, I am reminded that all things are possible when we forget about what we can’t do and focus on what we can do.


I ask you what is going on in your life where your current situation is getting more attention than your faith in God to do great and marvelous things.


I am willing to say “Yes We Can” because I believe our congregations can catch on fire and turn the world to God who saves.


Are you willing to say, “Yes I can” in spite of some health problem?

Are you willing to say, “Yes I can” in spite of some financial barrier?

Are you will to say, “Yes I can” in spite of the some who say it can’t be done?

Say to yourself today, “Yes I can” and then get started or keep going or cross the finish line. Because God is with you, it can be and it will be done. Glory to God! Yes you can!

Well, until next time remember, God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest. 

Bishop James King, president

General Commission on UM Men




A new beginning

By Gil Hanke


This has been an exciting, emotional, and challenging few weeks. I have resigned from my jobs in Texas, packed up what I needed from my home and offices and have begun a new career as the general secretary of GCUMM. As I have said goodbyes to many close and wonderful friends from church and work, I have been humbled by their kind words and actions.


During this time of transition, I have also grieved for Haiti. As many of you know, I have led about 20 teams to Haiti over the last 25 years, and so the destruction is very hard to watch. I have applied to return to Haiti on a Volunteer-in-Mission team as soon as possible.


My journey to Nashville has been wonderfully planned and supported by our grace-filled staff and members of the commission. Just to make sure I knew I was leaving the heat of Texas, they arranged to have a snow storm in Nashville 48 hours before I arrived; so thoughtful. They really have been great and are helping me a great deal.


I am so honored to have this opportunity to serve God and to serve the men and their families of the UMC. Our ministry for, to and through men is vital to its participants and to this great church.


As you know, men’s ministry is the hardest task facing the church today. As a group, regardless of age, we are stubborn, isolated and lack close relationships that hold us accountable to our spiritual growth. But, I see that our Wesleyan heritage prepares us for the tasks ahead.


Wesley saw in his studies of the Bible that balance of needs that are so vital for us today.


On one hand is the need for spiritual growth and renewal that is a journey rather than a moment in time.


On the other hand are needed actions of love, mercy and social justice. Both place us where we need to be as men, as a valued agency, and as a church. Our focus will continue to be on helping men see that the leader that God calls them to become has that Wesleyan balance of a growing faith and action.


I am here to serve you and this great church. I want and need to hear from you. I want and need to hear your struggles and your stories of success. I have been where you are, and I may not have the answers, but with His guidance, I am sure we will find our way together. May God bless our work for His Kingdom.


Striving to be His servant,


Gilbert C. Hanke, general secretary

General Commission on UM Men




Overcoming Failure

By John Dowell


When we see successful people, we often assume that they "got all the breaks"–– that they were always in the right place at the right time, that they've never failed, never been rejected. If the truth were known, very few people accomplish anything worthwhile the first time they attempt it. In fact, even the most successful people generally have a checkerboard career of both success and failure.


For years, Alexander Graham Bell was a failure –– at least he suffered one humiliating setback after another. He spent much of his life being laughed at and ridiculed as he crisscrossed New England trying to raise capital for the production of his invention –– the

telephone. Today, nobody laughs at Bell, but he had to overcome failure in order to succeed.


When Walt Disney went around Hollywood with his little "Steamboat Willie" cartoon idea, he was bankrupt and by all normal standards ––a failure.


Johnny Carson's first effort at his own network show was a terrible flop and for years he was a forgotten man. Today he is the standard by which all T.V. personalities are judged.


 I once read an article that said the two saddest words in our vocabulary are "if only;” the article went on to explain that many people are trapped in their failures and spend a lifetime saying "if only": If only I had tried harder. If only I had been a better dad. If only I hadn't been unfaithful. If only ....


It was suggested that we substitute the words "next time": Next time I will use better judgment. Next time I will be a better dad, a better husband. Next time I will try harder.


"If only" focuses on past failures and sentences us to a lifetime of regret. "Next time" turns our attention to the future and inspires us to try again.


As men –– even Christian men –– we can experience painful failures, if we do examine them and learn from them. Then forget about the failure.


Dare to dream again. We need to ask God to inspire us to attempt great things. Remembering failing doesn't make us a failure, giving up, accepting our failure, refusing to try again, does.




John Dowell, president

National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men




Website and Korea

By Larry Malone

Welcome aboard Gil! It is a new day for UM Men’s ministry in the UMC.


Staff recently received a tour of our new website, and there is a feature that will change how we connect and do business. Every UM Men leader and men's group at the local, district and conference level can have their own high quality website –– right now, right here, free.


To see what I mean, click http://www.gcumm.org/connect/, and search for those who have already set up with us. Just imagine the power of all of us doing this! Now what is holding you back??? Go to http://www.gcumm.org/connect/register.html, and create your very own identity and place within the powerful spiritual movement of UM Men.


In 2006, in South Korea, I was elected president of the World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Church Men (WFMUCM) the World Methodist Council men's affiliate. Korean Leaders who serve on the WFMUCM executive team invited me to speak at their semi-annual Korean Methodist Men winter national gathering.


January 18-23, I attended Korean Methodist Men gathering in Gyeongju, South Korea. I was accompanied by Yooeui Sohn, a Korean UMC elder who resides in Atlanta. He was my co-speaker, translator, guide, and now friend. We spoke to 2,000 Korean Methodist Men, and encouraged them to establish a Stop Hunger Now facility in South Korea in 2011. There is great need for such a facility to serve hungry people in that region, particularly in North Korea. Your prayers are welcome.


See news article on Korean response –– http://www.gcumm.org.


 Larry Malone, director of men’s ministries

General Commission on United Methodist Men




Strength for Service

By Larry Coppock


Many of you know what a blessing Strength for Service (SFS) has been sent to thousands of deployed and stateside military persons. Testimonies continue to come to us from chaplains who use and distribute the book. We consistently receive requests from chaplains for additional books. We honor those requests to the extent that we have available resources. Books are provided free to the military because of generous donations from donors. To date, we have distributed 410,000 copies.


This spring the GCUMM will again be partnering with United Methodist Communications (UMCom) on an all-church mailing packet. An attractive brochure, including a letter describing the SFS project, is being sent to every church pastor. The letter specifically requests that each church consider a fund-raising campaign this spring.


Some of you may know that Gil Hanke, new general secretary, has taken 20 mission trips to Haiti where he has conducted hearing tests for children and youth at several schools for the deaf in Haiti. Additionally, he has told the Texas Conference that he would like to be included in the first conference team that will be part of the reconstruction effort in that nation.


Gil hopes all the team members of that group will be able to pack copies of Strength for Service for their devotional reading during the mornings or evenings, and hopes that his team is no different from scores of others.


It is our hope and prayer that you will consider either leading your own church campaign or facilitating some appropriate level of participation.


Thank you in advance for your prayers, your gifts and your servant leadership.


Larry Coppock, national director

Scouting Ministries and director, Strength for Service Publication Fund

General Commission on UM Men




The Spirit of Giving

By Bari Eason


It is a joy for me to travel and meet men of the UMC. In my short time with the commission, I have met men who have inspired me, challenged me, encouraged me and ministered to me. I would like to share one particular meeting that really spoke to my heart.


A few months ago, I called a “top legacy builder” donor to schedule a meeting. In the meeting, I was planning to thank him for his faithfulness in giving over the years. I was also going to ask him to consider increasing his gift by becoming a member of the newly established Circuit Riders Society. When I called, this gentleman communicated to me that he really didn’t know anything about GCUMM. I was perplexed to say the least! How could it be that he was a top donor, but didn’t know much about our organization?


Regardless, he agreed to meet me. My first question to him was, “Why have you given so generously to Legacy Builders over the past three years if you don’t know much about UMM?” He proceeded to tell me that a few years ago, while on the Walk to Emmaus, someone approached a group he was with and told them of the commission’s need to increase financial support. He didn’t know much about us, but he trusted and answered the call. He has given every month since.


I genuinely appreciate this man’s willingness to step out in faith to answer a call that he didn’t even understand. Isn’t that exactly what God wants from each of us?


By the end of the meeting, he had agreed to become a Circuit Rider. He also understood the vision and mission of GCUMM. It was a great meeting that I will never forget.


Bari Eason

Director of marketing and development

General Commission on UM Men



Bishop Wilke prepares DISCIPLE study guide for UM men


Bishop Richard B. Wilke, the principal architect and author of DISCIPLE Bible Study, has produced a “Meditation and Action Guide” for UM men studying DISCIPLE II. The guide offers personal meditations for men and weekly calls to action.

Nearly two million people in 10,000 congregations have completed at least one of four DISCIPLE courses. The men’s guide is designed to accompany DISCIPLE II “Into the Word and Into the World, a 16-week study of Genesis, Exodus and a 16-week study of Luke-Acts. Participants are encouraged to evaluate and reorder their priorities in response to God’s call. The study guide suggests weekly actions that provide services to others.

To access a free copy of the study guide, visit the resource section of GCUMM.org (http://www.gcumm.org/ministries/men/resources.html). It is the fourth from last item.



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