· Scouting, Ministry to Men, Legacy Builders, Leadership Development, UMMen Foundation


A bi-monthly e-letter by agency officers and staff

of the General Commission on UM Men


October 2020


Become a reconciler

By Bishop Gary Mueller

Do I behave any differently than I otherwise would because I am a Christian?

While it may be an appropriate question, it’s also a discomforting one because it brings me face-to-face with the reality that I may not be as different as I would like.

This is not merely a theological question to ponder. It is rooted in real life in these days of deep divide, increasing polarization, and a highly partisan presidential campaign. So let me rephrase my question, this time for all of us.

Do we behave any differently in the midst of the deep division all around us than we otherwise would because of our relationships with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

To be clear, I am not telling you what to believe or how to vote. Rather I am making a passionate plea to let our identity as Jesus’ followers cause us to act differently in the midst of the divisiveness that has engulfed our nation. Pay close attention to how the Apostle Paul puts it so simply, yet so eloquently:

In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.

­­––2 Corinthians 5:19 CEB

We know God is at work in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. We have experienced that reconciliation first hand through our relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. And now we have the opportunity to help others experience how a relationship with Jesus truly leads us to become involved in the Kingdom work of reconciliation.

Bottom line: Jesus is calling us to work diligently to avoid becoming yet another divider.

Instead, become a reconciler.

Bishop Gary Mueller, vice president

General Commission on UM Men



Right words, right time

By Gil Hanke

Last Saturday, I had a full day––an on-line commission board meeting from 8-10:30 a.m., followed at 11a.m. by a 3-hour-virtual “Prayers for Unity,” with about 300 men and women from the UMC, the Africa Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

The board meeting and the Pan-Methodist meeting were outstanding and groundbreaking.

But, in truth, there was another event that opened the day and opened my heart.

It was a private moment––not earth shattering––but a moment that warmed my soul and set the stage.

For many years, I begin my days by reading a devotional from the Upper Room Disciplines and the accompanying Scripture. In the past month or so, I have had so much on my mind that I sometimes forgot to read the devotion. I made it up the following day. Saturday––with all that was going on––I made it a priority to begin with the word, a lesson, and a prayer.

These devotions follow the lectionary––only one verse: Psalm 78:1.

Marie A. Kane, the author, describes herself as “an Episcopal priest, historian, proud Godmother, and Texan residing in Maryland.” Her words were exactly what I needed: “Listen to my teachings . . .”

Her words were written 18 months ago, printed a year ago, and were perfect for that day.

“Indeed, when we stop to be still in God’s presence, we can recognize that all that we need is not on TV or our smartphone, but in the cross of Christ, calling us to a life of forgiveness, beauty and grace.”

May today be a great day, filled with forgiveness, beauty, and grace.

Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men



Being and doing

By Dr. Rick Vance

There is a fine line between being and doing.

Our being begins with following the advice from the psalmist “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

A state of being allows us to hear from God’s messages of acceptance, hope, love, purpose, and direction. A state of being is where we are renewed, fed, and empowered to go into ministry.

On the other hand, doing is where we live out the ministry and mission to which God calls us.

In Mathew 28:16-20, Jesus is clear: the disciples must live out their mission of making disciples.

Their doing is in direct response to their being disciples.

As men’s ministry leaders, we may get stuck in either being a doer or in our being.

God calls us to be both.

Our works, service, and charity are our responses to being in relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Our doing by engaging in actions of justice, love and mercy is the result of walking humbly with God.

This is the theological foundation for our ministry.

As UM Men we are called “to coach men to thrive through Christ so others may know Him.”

 That action begins with being in an “on-growing” relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ask yourself, “What am I doing to enrich my being a disciple of Jesus Christ? And what am I doing to fulfill God’s call in my life and the life of men’s ministry?

Finally, I would like to thank so many who have already given to our second annual Give Day.

If you have not yet given and you would like to be part of the expansion team who is helping to provide training and resources for the ministry of commission, please consider giving on October 19th.

Thank you and blessings.

The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries

General Commission on UM Men



A new season

By Steven Scheid


“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal . . . a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . . a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

. . . I have seen the burdens, God has laid on the human race.

––Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 8 and 10

With all the changes in how we live, we could be forgiven for missing the changes of the seasons.

A virus began at the end of winter, a lockdown came in the spring, and social distancing continued in summer.

Today, early mornings have taken on a chill. Maple trees are changing color.

Another change is coming.

The Byrds’ 1965 song Turn! Turn! Turn! is based on Ecclesiastes 3, but the vocal harmonies and twelve-string guitar cover the more shocking nature of the message. Verse 10 says, “I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.”

Many feel burdened. We are in the fall.

It is the same leaves of past spring that will rot into the nourishment of spring. Rotting is not a glamorous process. Do we judge the leaves from last spring because they have fallen? In the heat of summer, we enjoyed their shade. Now they decompose. They smell and turned black.

History follows this cycle. As we look at the past, some see only the mulch pile––the rot and decay. Others remember the full cycle, buds, leaves, fall, decomposition and new growth.

Let us use the decay of the past to plant a brighter future. If the gardener is intentional, the benefits of the past come quickly in the spring.

Join us in planting so that out of the errors of the past and challenges of the present will come new gardens and forests in the future.

Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries

General Commission on UM Men




Foundation serves as cornerstone for men’s ministries

By Steve Nailor

A cornerstone sets the parameters for a building.

The UMC served as the cornerstone for funding scouting ministry until 1981.

In that year, the denomination felt it could no longer provide financial support for this ministry.

In the same year, UM men felt this ministry was too important to be dropped.

The National Association of Conference Presidents established the UM Men Foundation to ensure this ministry would continue.

The purpose of the UM Men Foundation is to provide endowment funds to support evangelism, mission, and spiritual-life ministries, including scouting.

Founders of the foundation hoped the fund would support men and youth in their quest to know Christ and empower them to share Christ with others.

The foundation receives funds from legacy members whose annual pledges exceed $120. Funds also come from Life Achievement Awards, The Society of John Wesley, and estate planning though the Heritage Society.

Currently, the foundation supports Dr. Rick Vance, director of men’s ministry; Steven Scheid, director of scouting ministries; and the Upper Room Prayer Wall. These ministries have achieved exponential growth in the last four years.

The General Commission on UM Men receives about 25 percent of its budget from the World Service Fund; that fund is expected to be reduced by 50 percent in 2021.

It is imperative for the foundation to step up and provide additional resources for men’s and youth ministries.

If the foundation is to continue as the cornerstone, your support is more important than ever before. As the new president of the foundation, I pray you will help expand our ministry to men and scouting.

For more information, please feel free to contact me.

To protect the cornerstone, click here.

Steve Nailor, president

UM Men Foundation








Servant leaders

By Herman Lightsey

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

––Mark 10:43

In his book Pass It On, Deshaun Watson, says a servant leader needs to put the needs of those he is leading before his own.

As quarterback of Clemson University Tigers and the Houston Texans in the NFL, he found his role was more than throwing a football.

Because he was the quarterback, people looked to him to lead.

Watson discovered that leaders are far more influential when they serve the people they are charged with leading. Servant leaders inspire others to follow their own dreams.

The quarterback embraces 11 guiding principles by which he tries to live. Why eleven? There are eleven players on each side of a football game.

  1. Never forget where you came from.
  2. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.
  3. Prepare for success. Put in the work.
  4. Your word is your oath.
  5. Failure is the best teacher there is.
  6. Never get too high. Never sink too low.
  7. Ignore the doubters. Forgive the haters.
  8. Bend. Don’t break.
  9. Never stop practicing. Never stop learning.
  10. Stay humble.
  11. Find a coach. Be a coach.

These are timely principles for troubling times. It may be difficult to believe, but the world has been through similar trials, perhaps not in our lifetimes, but in the lifetime of this world.

The thing that keeps Christians going is that we know that God is in charge. We know how the story ends. Many people do not believe this and I am sad for them.

Our only mission is to disciple men and their families. This is a ministry about where men and their families will spend eternity.

Herman Lightsey, president

National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men





Take advantage of challenges

By Mark Lubbock

Paul writes a letter to the church at Philippi while shackled in a Roman prison.

Surprisingly that letter uses the words “joy” and “rejoicing” 16 times.

Paul is so focused on the needs of that church in Greece that he forgets about his immediate challenges. In fact, he assures the Philippians that his imprisonment will help spread the Christian message,

You and I will absolutely go through serious and heart-breaking challenges. You may be in the midst of such a challenge even as you read this.

It’s difficult to focus on anything other than our immediate challenges, but Paul shows us that if we focus on the needs of others, we may forget about our personal pain and anxiety.

If we follow Paul’s example, we won’t make addressing the challenge the only endgame. In fact, like Paul, we may think there is value in how we address the challenge.

We may also learn something from the military.

While soldiers in boot camps may be wrestling with personal problems, the physically and psychologically intensive experience changes their focus from personal problems to team building.

Those who complete boot camp are commissioned as soldiers, prepared to work as a team to achieve objectives and accomplish vital goals.

As we face challenges related to COVID 19, racial injustice, economic disparities, and personal issues, we are called to our own boot camp.

The commission offers webinar training in setting SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

We all face personal challenges, but we also have tools to address those issues.

Contact me or other staff members of the commission to learn about a variety of training experiences to help you become a vital team member.

Mark Lubbock, deployed staff member

General Commission on UM Men



We disciple fathers so they may disciple sons

By Jim Boesch

She’s a grandmother who served the church for most of her 77 years, the last 53 as the life partner of a loving husband.

She fell ill after giving birth to their only daughter 38 years ago. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis causing the loss of mobility and independence.

Her faithful husband has diligently been her primary caregiver, a responsibility which has increased during their twilight years.

Their daughter married and was blessed with 18- and 16-year old sons who now live near their ailing and aging grandparents.

The two grandsons have never been able to hug their grandmother as that would be dangerous to her compromised earthly body.

As I see it, the reason God calls us to disciple men lies in the relationship between the two grandsons, their dad, and his father. Currently the son’s father is an occasionally active member of our church while the two boys are active in the church’s youth ministry.

I see a discipling opportunity here. We need to help the father model his faith to his wife and sons so they will develop personal relationships with Jesus Christ so when they leave this earth they will be Heaven-bound.

This writing comes from a haunting image that entered my mind as some men and I were praying for these awesome grandparents and their families.

My cannot-shake image is of these two grandsons in Heaven finally being able to give their now-healed grandmother numerous hugs they were denied on earth.

We need to help fathers and sons become the people God is calling them to be on earth.

Jim Boesch, a Florida-based staff member

General Commission on UM Men





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