Missing the obvious
By Gil Hanke
I was at a meeting at another agency this week, and in a small-group discussion we talked about some possible issues that face local churches in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Philippines. We had a long list of products, people with expertise, training and resources that could be helpful. We basically asked, “How do we determine what a local church might need from this laundry list of great resources. How do we determine their specific needs in specific areas?”
The answer was obvious; first we ask, second we listen carefully.
Last year, the Connectional Table had a meeting in Maputo, Mozambique. I went early and stayed late to work with the men of that great conference.
On the day of my presentation, I met with a great group of men––young and old––all active in the men’s ministry within their local churches. After some formal introductions and an exchange of gifts, the translator turned to me and said, “We are ready to hear your presentation.” I asked, “How much time do we have together today?” He replied that no one was in any hurry to leave, and the whole day was ours. So, before I spoke, I asked, “What do you want me to know about successes and struggles you have as men in your churches and community?” I listened, and learned. I tailored my presentation to address what they taught me.
Since coming to this job––with the help and guidance from staff, the board and leaders like you––the commission has made some significant changes. But, we are always seeking ways to help you have a successful ministry to men and to youth through scouting.
So, I have a question and I am ready to listen to you.
What do you need from the commission that would accelerate the mission and ministry of (and to) men and youth in your church and community?
That is the question, and I am ready to listen.
I promise, if you need it, we have it, or we know where to get it, or we will create it.
My email address and the phone number at my desk are below.
Think and pray about what you need. It could be special training, particular guidance, providing a mentor, or preparing a new resource.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I am listening.
Striving to be a servant,
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on United Methodist Men