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



The Jesus Program

By Bishop James R. King, Jr


Do you remember the 1957 song that includes the words:


What am I living for if not for you?

Oh nobody else, nobody else will do.?


This song probably dates me, but the words transcend generations as we seek to find a meaningful path on our earthly journey.


Although the first month of the year has come and gone, we are still here by God’s grace. Therefore, it is not too late to examine old agendas, project new goals with fresh hope and determination to live closer to the things that really matter.


With that in mind this remains an appropriate time to ask, “For what are you striving?”


Paul writes:


Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal. But, I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12–14: 



As the bishop I have the opportunity to see men at their best. I see men who are deeply committed to God and filled with the love of Christ. It is inspiring to see men build homes for the homeless, reach out to young boys through scouting, give time to pray for those who call in with heavy hearts, and go to the prisons with Bibles and caring spirits.


I am also aware of men who feel isolated and unfulfilled. Too many men are searching for skills to address issues related family, finances and health.


If the isolation of men is not addressed we will suffer the consequences. Look at the world. Look at the church. If we do not sow the things of God we should not expect to reap the awesome promises of God.


Jesus has a plan to guide us on this earthly journey into heavenly experiences. For his sake, I ask us––as men of God––to return to the ones after whom we are named.


Our name is Christian. That comes from Jesus Christ.

Our name is Methodist. That comes from our Wesleyan heritage.


For what are you striving? Toward what goals are you pressing?


I recommend the Jesus Program.


Slice it in a style and size that fits your situation, but participate in the program.


Men remember, God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.


With love,


James R. King, Jr., president

General Commission on United Methodist Men





Creating Movement

By Gil Hanke


My oldest brother, a skilled physics teacher, could do a better job of describing this, but I will give it a shot. Newton developed three laws of motion. His first and third have some meaning for us as we explore moving this men’s ministry from a stationary fixture into a dynamic movement. Newton’s Rules:


  1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
  2. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


The first law describes inertia, objects in motion tend to stay in motion; objects at rest tend to stay at rest. “At rest” seems to describe many of the men’s ministry groups and many congregations in our great church.


While some churches are booming, growing, seeking ways to intentionally serve their community, others are at rest.


Resting is good, we need rest every night, we need time off from work to rest and reset our goals and get charged up. But there comes a time for action; there comes a time for doing. We don’t act so we can rest; we rest so we can act.


If your church has a UM Men unit that meets, has fellowship and does some great work within the church that is wonderful. If that unit touches 25 percent of the men that attend your church, then most would say that it is successful. If we want to reach the other 75 percent of the men in the church, as well as a percentage of the men that are outside the church, what do we do? First, don’t throw away what is working for the 25 percent of the guys that are involved. Yes, that UM Men unit may want to change some, add some new areas of focus, but don’t abandon them.


A study of men in leadership in the UMC found that most are lonely and need some other males with whom they can relate. So, what do we do to widen our view of men’s ministry to every man in your church and community? It takes action; in fact it takes repeated action to get us going in the right direction (Newton’s third law). So what are some steps to start this action?


  1. Don’t do it alone, get assistance from the pastor and have two or three other guys helping you. I would begin this process by asking the pastor for his or her vision for the men of your church and community. Then talk to the other guys on this team and pray daily.
  2. Ask guys that come to church monthly, what they would want to see in an experience that would help them with their daily walk. Ask women whose husbands and or sons do not attend church, what would bring the rest of the family into a relationship with this church and with Jesus Christ. Ask the men that live in the 5 blocks around the church how the church could minister to them.
  3. Do it. Nike is right, you can plan, study, research, ask, reformulate, write vision statements and mottos, or design a logo. Or you can just do it. That planning-and-preparation mode can easily turn into an at-rest mode. Action and reaction gets us moving.
  4. What about the opposite nature of Newton’s law? That is good too. Let’s say you decide to begin a Bible study every week. There is action for those guys who want that and there is a reaction from the guys who do want something, but not a Bible study. If embraced, the reaction could start participation in a Habitat house, or a garden that grows fresh vegetables for a homeless shelter, or the adoption of the Scout troop, or forming a group of guys that fly fish or getting involved in prison ministry.
  5. Doing something allows you to offer to the 75% of the guys in the church and the community a place to fit in. Some will say, “Yes, that is what I want” while other will say, “I don’t want that, but I do want…” It is a win/win. But we have to act. Action is a movement, and I want in all our churches a movement of men actively following Christ.


What is your action plan for the men’s ministry at your church? How can I help?


Striving to be His servant,


Gil Hanke, general secretary

General Commission on UM Men





A Preview of the NACP Meeting

By John Dowell


In just two weeks the National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) will come together for their annual meeting in Nashville.


For those unfamiliar with the NACP, it is the top tier of the connection between all groups of UM Men.


There are local church units of UM Men, district organizations, conference groups, jurisdictional gatherings, and the NACP. We are the only denomination that has units at every level.


This year, the association will again create a learning environment for presidents.


Workshops will address subjects such as:


  • ”I am president, now what?”
  • “Implementing men’s ministry specialist”
  • “Developing connectional relationships”
  • “Balancing life in ministry and family”
  • “Planned giving”
  • “Men and evangelism”
  • “Communications”


We will also discuss domestic violence, a topic on which men must take the lead in local churches.


Prison ministry will be highlighted. Several UM Men conferences have signed contracts to teaching Disciple Bible Study in the state prisons. I hope this effort will be spread throughout the denomination.


The Society of St Andrew, and Stop Hunger Now, our hunger-relief partners, will be featured.


We will discuss the developmental needs of our ministry, along with an overview of scouting ministry. Furthermore, we will devote an entire evening for team building with all of the conference presidents. “Living a Better Story” will wrap up our time devoted to learning.


Presenters will include: Dr. Tom Albin and Dr Kwasi Kena, staff executives with the General Board of Discipleship; the Rev. Mark Hicks, executive director of North Carolina Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries; Wade Mays a staff executive with Society of St Andrew; Reggie Ponder, a leader of the UM Men Foundation; Mack Strange, one of the architects of Living a Better Story; Larry Coppock, director of scouting ministry; Gil Hanke, general secretary of the Commission on UM Men; and other leaders from the commission.


I encourage you to contact your conference presidents to find out how the information he received at the meeting can enhance UM.Men ministry in your area.


Peace and Joy.


John Dowell, president

National Association of Conference Presidents

of United Methodist Men





Stewards of the Gift of Service

By Larry Coppock



As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10


There has been much discussion over the last several years about term limits and tenure in Congress. A controversial subject, the idea has merit, but not only in the arena of U.S. politics.


Those of us who serve in volunteer or staff (paid) positions in the context of the general church should prayerfully consider our tenure in these positions. Sometimes it is better to pass the baton and pay it forward to maintain organizational vitality and integrity.


Recently, I was sent correspondence from a key volunteer announcing their replacement after having served more than a decade in one position. How can we as a church put ourselves in such an untenable position? Discovering new and vibrant leadership should be a priority.


The most refreshing part of my work has been witnessing the introduction of new faith and fervor into organizational processes. Injection of productive ideas transformed into ministry rarely happens when the same players champion the cause. To use a sports analogy, college teams experience turnover every four years. The NFL uses the draft and free agency to complement coaching and management.


It is important to honor those persons who have faithfully served our respective organizations. More important is the task of cultivating a new cadre of servant leaders dedicated to our vision and mission and who come with new assets and new energy.


Larry Coppock, national director of scouting ministries and director

 of the Strength for Service Publication Fund

General Commission on UM Men






Fellowship with men

By Mark Lubbock


A friend of mine came back from the BSC championship game in Dallas with an interesting observation. He was not a sports fan and attended the game only to watch his daughter in the half-time show, yet he found himself completely caught up in the game.


“There was just something about being in the middle of all of those people that was contagious,” he said. “You could not escape their enthusiasm.”


He was fascinated that the people who surrounded him could have such an influence on his attitude. Being in their midst made something exciting that he normally found boring.


This made me think of two weekly events that take place in Baton Rouge, La.. Two separate groups of business men from all denominations meet for lunch, fellowship and Bible lessons. A Wednesday group averages about 200 men while a Thursday group seats 50-60 men. The mid-day lunches are hosted by local churches.


What would draw diverse groups of men together in the middle of a busy week for Bible study? Particularly when it may not be their denomination or home church?


I asked several men that question. Their answers varied, but there was a consistent underlying theme. Man friendly discussions allowed them to honestly talk about real-life applications of the lessons. They began to build relationships during the table conversations.


In other words, participants enjoyed sharing their own experiences, challenges, and questions in the all-male gatherings.


There is a dynamic that takes place when men come together that cannot happen in other settings. This dynamic opens up the doors to men’s hearts and helps them to engage in active discipleship. One group has been meeting for 20 years while the other has met for over four years now. Clearly this has staying power and offers great potential to reach men.


Although we have several large UM churches in the area, to date none of these offer such an opportunity on a weekly basis. In our community, the business population is large enough to support many similar groups, and I challenge local leaders to pray about starting one in their churches.


I challenge you to do the same.


The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff

General Commission on United Methodist Men





The means of grace

by Mark Dehority


God’s grace can be defined as His power and presence in our lives.


John Wesley identified actions that can put us in God’s presence.


By participating in these practices Wesley believed that we would be in a better position to receive God’s grace. Wesley believed that a life based on service and spiritual growth helps us come closer to God. He identified these actions as the “means of grace.”


Wesley divided these means into in acts of compassion and acts of piety. He further divided the means of grace into individual and corporate acts. Corporate actions are those we do together and, of course, individual actions are things we normally do alone. This gives us four groups: service, justice, devotion and worship.


  1. Individual acts of compassion are acts of service: feeding the hungry, clothing the needy and visiting prisoners.
  2. Corporate acts of compassion are acts of justice: changing systems that cause people to be hungry, needy and in prison.
  3. Individual acts of piety are acts of devotion: prayer, studying the scriptures, abstinence, and fasting.
  4. Corporate acts of piety are acts of worship: church services, Holy Communion, and Bible study.


Wesley taught us to engage in all of these behaviors and encourage others to follow these disciplines.


A singular focus on acts of compassion while ignoring acts of piety will not produce a well-rounded disciple. And, to focus only on acts of piety and ignore acts of compassion is to live out only half of the means of grace.


The General Board of Discipleship offers an excellent class on the means of grace titled, “Opening Ourselves to Grace”. In the Illinois Great Rivers Conference this training is titled “New Streams.” These classes allow us to let God into hearts, souls and lives.


Mark Dehority, deployed staff

General Commission on United Methodist Men






By Greg Arnold


My new business cards arrived recently from GCUMM. Boy, do they look sharp. A nice, clean, crisp card with bold colors, UMM logo, and a title. We love titles don’t we?


A title defines who we are and frames our responsibilities. For instance, if your business card displays a title of CFO, you would expect to answer questions and be held responsible for financial matters in your organization. It defines you within that organization.


The title on my card reads, “Deployed Staff.” What does that mean? I must confess that I wrestled with the question, “What is a deployed staff member responsible to maintain?” After all, deployed means “gone” –– right? Where am I to go? Or do?


I'm already deeply involved in men's ministry through my newly launched online men’s magazine called “Live Bold.” Please visit (http://www.livebold.org). In addition, I've built a new model of men’s ministry, called M3 (Men, Ministry, Mission), a 3-year pilot program at my church that is ready to be rolled out on a national level.


In the midst of both projects, I asked God to open up doorways, pathways, and windows for me to reach men and make disciples. I prayed, and then I prayed some more.


“How are we going to do this?” I asked God.


A call then came to join GCUMM as a deployed staff member –– it sounded a little overwhelming. I remember thinking, “What is deployed?”


The thought of taking on another ministry project seemed too much to bear, so I asked God whether or not it was the right time. In my spirit, it seemed as if God responded: “Really?”


I prayed for the opportunity, He sent it, and I almost missed it because I was praying about the opportunity.


Sound familiar?


As a final affirmation, I met with my pastor (and friend) to describe this possibility. His response?


“I wish I were deployed.”


We had a great laugh over that. It’s more than obvious to me now that all of us who claim Christ as our King are called to be deployed in our own unique ways.


So the journey begins in full response to Christ's greatest commission to “go!”


I’m honored and excited to help my brothers across the UMC and their communities to reach men for Christ so we can all “go make disciples” and deploy them.


Greg Arnold, deployed staff

General Commission on United Methodist Men





We are Not Alone

By Neil Brown


Having recently attended the annual Man in the Mirror Leadership Summit, I was able to re-connect with old friends and men’s ministry associates, many of whom are United Methodist.


As I attended the many excellent workshops, made new friends, and caught up with former friends, it became apparent that UM Men have many allies in this business of making disciples for Jesus Christ.


Man in the Mirror is an important strategic partner with UM Men and partners with some of the finest men’s ministry organizations, both denominational and para-church.


The excellent work of Man in the Mirror in organizing the Summit was evident in the music, worship, workshops, and plenary session speakers.


UM Men is regarded in the world of men’s ministry as one of the finest and most progressive. Our men’s ministry specialist and scouting ministry specialist ministries are highly regarded. We remain as one of the few denominations to have a fully staffed men’s ministry operation.


We are in good company with other ministry organizations working together to bring more men into a relationship with Christ and growing that relationship into a deeper faith. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in moving men’s ministry forward.


Neil Brown, deployed staff

General Commission on United Methodist Men




A special invitation


In partnership with the Upper Room, Derek Maul, and BeADisciple, the General Commission on UM Men invites you to participate in the in a 10-week on-line small-group experience, based on the book Get Real, A Spiritual Journey for Men.   This is an exciting step into new technology, and I want you to take advantage of this great book and study.  For more information and to sign up, use the following link:  A Spiritual Journey for Men -- http://beadisciple.com/workshops.html#Journey.


Gil Hanke

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