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



Looking for a few good men

By Gil Hanke

Well, it has been a busy few months here at the GCUMM office. We hosted the first full commission meeting since I became the general secretary, and I have a busy fall travel schedule to men’s events and to meetings for the general church.


We have entered into a new partnership with Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries to expand UMM work in prison ministries. We have hosted three national webinars for men at the district and local level and the response from the participants has been very positive. We have several large mailings being prepared, and many of our resources are being updated.


I want to thank the individuals and groups who supported us financially and, in particular, those folks who gave funds for the roof of our building. As you know, the heavy rains in May forced us to address long-standing problems. Small occasional leaks became regular occurrences, and new leaks appeared with each new rain. The work is complete and your gifts covered about 25 percent of the cost. Thank you for that support.


As you know, Larry Malone will be retiring at the end of the year. The GCUMM Board approved filling that position with four deployed volunteer staff with multiple skills sets that include speaking and leading. These volunteers will enable us to impact men’s ministries in more conferences, districts and local churches. So –– as the title of this piece suggests –– we are looking for a few good men. They will volunteer their time, but the commission will cover their expenses. If you are interested, please send me an email to begin the application process.


If you have kept up with my writings, you know I find great inspiration from beginning each day with the Upper Room Disciplines and the associated Bible readings. As I read and pray, additional strength comes from knowing that men across this country are doing the same thing –– we all are literally on the same page. The Upper Room and the commission are working to get these books in the hands of more men in the UMC. There is an order form with a special discounted price on our website (www.gcumm.org). Please consider this as a great way to begin 2011, and invite others to join us on the journey.


Please stay in touch, and if I don’t respond to your email, send me a reminder. I know that what you are doing in men’s ministry is vital to this church and it would be my honor to assist you in any way I can.


Gil Hanke, general secretary

General Commission on UM Men




Affirm men and their ministries

By John Dowell

Recently we had a special night for television –– a night we remembered and discussed for several days. No, it wasn’t the Super Bowl, not even Monday night football. It was the Academy Awards, Where we saw Hollywood at its best. It was night showing “beautiful people” honoring each other as the best in their profession.


Glamorous actors and actresses stepped from sleek limousines onto a plush red carpet. Million-dollar jewels and exquisite fashion adorned them. Eager fans clamored at the entrance, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. Photographers and TV cinematographers jockeyed for positions, trying to get the best angles for their newspapers and networks; of course, the paparazzi were everywhere.


Around the world TV viewers sat transfixed as the most beautiful, talented and famous people in Hollywood gathered to see who would receive golden statues we call Oscars. This night later became the subject of conversation in the break and lunch rooms throughout the country.


Now let’s shift gears and think about the men in our churches –– the pastor, maybe the youth director or men who serve in so many ways. How do we recognize those who sacrifice much to serve the Lord and who make an eternal difference in the lives of others?


When they step onto the scene, where are the sleek automobiles, red carpet, bright lights, enthusiastic fans and the TV cinematographers? We can be sure the paparazzi cannot be found.


In every church, we see men doing ministry to which God has called them. Many of them have literally given a lifetime of service and so often they are taken for granted. Maybe the church should have its own Academy Awards; while that may be a little much, we need to remember these men.


A special Sunday to celebrate men’s ministry would help. Another way could be to offer special recognition by presenting a John Wesley Society award, a life membership in UMM or, for men in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, a James Award.


We must affirm individual contributions, praise them publically and celebrate their accomplishments.


John Dowell, president

National Association of Conference Presidents

of United Methodist Men




Forgiving the Family Curse

By Larry Malone

I am writing this on Oct. 1, 2010, a good day to relive my past and address my family curse.


Right now, I am in heaven. Later, God will knit me together in my mother’s womb. My future mom is the youngest child in her family. She is struggling in college, and has a binge drinking problem from our family curse. She has not married yet, and I have not been conceived yet.


Let me tell you about the family in which I will soon be born. My great grandpa was a mean drunk, and so were the men before him. He singled out my grandpa among many kids for special harsh treatment and abuse.


Grandpa grew up and became an alcoholic. Grandma told him to choose between the family and booze, so he stopped drinking. He started recovery, but his heart never healed from the curse. Now he is a dry drunk with a broken heart. His 37-year marriage ends this year.


Now, let me tell you how the family curse continues in the present.


My uncle has a big hurt in his life that separated him from all the family. His marriage is rocky, and my two girl cousins suffer emotionally. The curse consumes my uncle’s family.


My aunt married an alcoholic, and they have two boys. Their marriage began with an agreement that he would not drink, but last week, after nearly five years, he hit the bottle. Overnight he became scary and potentially violent, so my aunt took my boy cousins to a safe house. They are scared and upset. My uncle has a family curse as well because he was a child of neglecting, abusive parents. Lots of families have this curse, and they sometimes marry others who have it.


All of my family members are Christians, so it is difficult to understand how this curse can continue in our family. I asked Jesus about it, and he told me all human fathers fail, but that our Father in Heaven never does. He said generational curses must be fought by family members who are brave and committed enough to come together in His name to oppose the powers of hell that sent the curse. I pray this will happen.


There is ONE master relationship key that unlocks the power to break the curse, and heal our family’s hearts. Forgiveness unleashes a river of love that cannot be resisted or overcome by the enemy.


Forgiveness River headwaters are in Heaven. God is forgiving; we are forgiven –– and none of us deserve it. Our challenge and opportunity is to let God’s forgiving love pass through us to everyone else.


Our family curse has caused wounds so great that we cannot forgive those who inflicted the harm.


We can’t do it!


The good news is that God knows that we can’t do it by ourselves, but Christ will do it through us if we will let him. We daily receive forgiveness from God that we don’t deserve; God asks that we allow that unmerited forgiveness to pass on to others who don’t deserve it. Then we are set free to live and love in Christ’s love and power.


Larry Malone, director

Men’s ministry

General Commission on UM Men



Heart, soul and spirit

By Larry Coppock

It takes a tremendous effort by a team of dedicated volunteer leaders to ensure that our Scouting Ministry Committee and Office of Scouting Ministry, GCUMM, administers and promotes scouting as a ministry to 34,000 UM churches on an ongoing basis. It takes a heart for the ministry, a modicum of soul-searching and a spirit endowed by God. This team is currently led by three men who serve as the heart, soul and spirit of our ministry.


Dr. John Bright Cage serves as chairman. A cardiologist, his life work is caring for hearts. He is a long-time volunteer leader in the Middle Tennessee Council, BSA, Nashville, serving in a variety of key roles. He is the newest of the three. We have already come to appreciate his heart for ministry.


The Rev. Greg Godwin, vice-chair, is a UM pastor from southern West Virginia. His business is caring for souls. He aptly demonstrated his caring nature while serving as one of our lead chaplains at the national BSA Jamboree this year. He had the job of coordinating chaplain activities with many denominations and faith groups.


Phil Howard, also vice-chair, is co-owner of an architectural design firm in Indianapolis. Phil and I first served together in 1998 as co-directors of a newly configured UM Scouters Workshop, Philmont Training Center. He exuded a spirit of leadership since coming to this committee a few years ago.


All three men are special to me. Working with them allows me to serve as director with full confidence that when we make decisions that affect God’s kingdom that these decisions are made with a heart, a soul and a spirit at the forefront.


Larry Coppock, national director of scouting ministries and director

 of the Strength for Service Publication Fund

General Commission on UM Men





Called to heal a hurting world

By Bari Watson


On the way home from a recent trip, I read Max Lucado’s new book, Out Live Your Life. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It has had a profound impact on me as I am in the midst of making important life decisions.


The book is a reminder that while we live in uncertain and devastating times, we are each designed with a purpose. We are called to serve a hurting world.


Some of the statistics Lucado uses to explain the devastation in the world are pretty unbelievable.


“There are 1.75 billion people who are desperately poor. One billion people are hungry, and millions are facing slavery and pandemic diseases. Additionally, half of all Africans don’t have access to modern health facilities. Because of that, millions die each year from preventable causes. It is hard, hard times in this world in which we live.”


I was reminded through my reading that God often called the common man and woman to do extraordinary things to further His kingdom. With that in mind, I encourage you to reflect with me on the following:


  • We must “get out of our shells” and get uncomfortable in order to serve in a more significant way.


  • We must look beyond denominational lines to find ways to partner with other believers and address the issues of poverty, slavery and disease.


  • We must open our homes to individuals of all walks of life so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need. I like it best when Lucado says, “Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community.”


  • We must “stand up for the have-nots.”


  • We must remember the One who holds us.



Bari Watson

Director of marketing and development

General Commission on UM Men


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