· Ministry to Men, Church Renewal


By Bishop Swanson

John Maxwell has written another great book on leadership titled Developing the Leader within You.

One sentence really caught my attention: “We have to be intentional about our lives and the path we choose to walk.”

Many of us approach our walk with Christ as if we eventually will become the disciples Jesus envisioned us to become when he gave his life for us on Calvary. We assume that this will happen with little or no effort on our part.

Of course, you are familiar with the old axiom. “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” How intentional are you about maturing in Christ? To use John Wesley’s words, Are you “going on to perfection?”

Bishop Ernest Fitzgerald served as my episcopal leader for one quadrennium when I was a young elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference. During our Pastors’ School, he said, “The people you serve may never rise to the level of your expectations, but they certainly will not rise if you have no expectations.”

I would paraphrase Bishop Fitzgerald’s words and say, “You may not reach perfection or Christian maturity, but you certainly will not, if it’s not what you’re aiming for intentionally.

Do you have an intentional plan to grow in Christ?

I realize that in this climate especially for Baby Boomers, this may not be very popular, but it is refreshing that many Millennials, though often criticized for their lack of spiritual depth, demonstrate a remarkable desire to be serious about their walk with Christ. Many of them are seeking mentors to help guide them in this quest.

You can’t lead where you haven’t gone or you are unwilling to go.

I leave you with this: Elisha got a double portion of Elijah’s spirit because both of them were intentional (2 Kings 2).


Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. president

General Commission on UM Men


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