· Scouting, Ministry to Men, Leadership Development, Church Renewal, NACP

 Reflections by agency officers and staff

of the General Commission on UM Men

April 2019


The ‘realer’ life of the Resurrection


By Bishop Gary Mueller


I’ve been thinking a lot about real life. Things like cancer, the opioid crisis, sex trafficking, my own mortality, and what the division in the UMC means for the future.

I’ll be honest. Doing this can be hazardous to my spiritual health. Or, at least, raise my level of anxiety.


At the same time, I’ve also been pondering something I can best describe as “realer” life. It’s what I experience in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that has the power to overcome death, sin, hatred, hopelessness and the worst real life has to offer.


Focusing on realer life gives me hope I know can only come from God.


It takes an incredible amount of faith for me to see “realer” life amid real life. But this faith––stumbling and bumbling as it is at times––does something astounding. It enables me to experience how every bit of real life is transformed through the realer life God offers in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not just long ago on that Easter Sunday when the women discovered the tomb was empty––but right now!


I know more than I want to know about real life because I live it every single day. I’m grateful Jesus is helping me experience more and more of the “realer” life he is unleashing as he makes all things new.


Sure, this is a journey that lasts a lifetime––and beyond. And, yes, it is spiritual. Perhaps, even mystical. But isn’t that the point? To be so shaped by the realer life of Jesus’ resurrection that what I see is transformed, what I experience is transformed, and what I do is transformed because I am being transformed.


He is risen - He is risen, indeed!


Bishop Gary Mueller, vice president

General Commission on United Methodist Men




Sometimes a song says it all


By Gil Hanke


For many of us in the UMC, this has been a challenging season. The run up to the Called Session and a flurry of meetings about meetings has taken a toll on me personally. I’m not proud of that, but you may be surprised by what brought me back to a proper focus . . . it was a song.

In a sermon a few weeks ago, our pastor read a Scripture that used the word “winsome”. He noted that we don’t use that word very often. That led me to remember a song written by Michael Blanchard, and made famous by the groups, Glad and Acapella: “Be Ye Glad.”


That song contains the word “winsome” in the final verse.


Although the title, “Be Ye Glad” might lead you to think its theme is, “Everything is good, so be happy and glad,” that is not the case. It begins, “In these days of confused situations, in this night of a restless remorse . . .” Which may describe your feelings recently; it hits close to home for me. But the song goes on to announce, “From the grave of the innocent Adam, comes a song bringing joy to the sad, oh your cry has been heard and the ransom has been paid up in full, be ye glad.”


The Common English Bible translates one of the Beatitudes as “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad” (Matthew 5:4).


The song reminds us that we can be glad in spite of our circumstances because: “Every debt that we have ever had, has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord.” So, we have reason (even in difficult situations) to be glad in the Lord.

And what of the word that started this? The word “winsome” may be found in an “amplified” version of Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and is seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, fix your mind on them.”



Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men




No change in scouting


By Steven Scheid


Since the called session of General Conference finished its work, I received several questions about whether there would be any changes to our scouting ministries.

The bottom line is the Center for Scouting Ministries has not changed.


The UMC is committed to the scouting ministries because they work. We express the love of Christ by reaching into communities’ care and partnership.


What does this status quo in ministry look like?


Boy Scouts of America – Churches charter the units, and they should consider the Cub Scout pack, Scout troop, Venturing Crew, Sea Scout ship, or Exploring club or post an extension of their ministry. The charter church representative should get to know potential adult leaders and approve them for service. These leaders should ensure that the youth obtain life skills and engage in faith-building experiences.


Girl Scouts of the USA–The Girl Scout Council is the charter organization of the unit, not the church. An active partnership makes the program a ministry. Encouragement and involvement in troop activities is ministry.

Camp Fire – Councils in 25 states provide”{THRIVE}OLOGY”, a systematic and proven program based on the highest level of research. The program opens the doors for community growth as well as the growth of the youth. If Camp Fire is near you, please be willing to share the opportunity.


Big Brothers Big Sisters – This individual mentorship program is a great way to provide care for a child. This is an opportunity that does not require a building or a structured group. Anyone can share time and love with a child.

These partner organizations offer a variety of ways to be in ministry to all youth. Find the one that fits your church and personal gifts. A trained scouting coordinator can help interpret policies and provide answers for the local church.

Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns.


Grace and Peace,


Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries

General Commission on UM Men




Words can harm you and others


By the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance


When I was growing up, I remember my parents telling me “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never harm you.”


As a child, when I was in the normal disagreements with my brother or other friends, I found comfort in those words. Now as an adult, I have seen just how wrong that statement can be.


Proverbs 18:21a reminds us; “the tongue has the power of life and death.”


Over the last year, in public discourse and in church conversations, I have seen how words can and have been used intentionally to cause harm to entire groups of people.


This is particularly troubling in the church.


In speaking with younger men who are not regular participants in their parents’ church, their biggest “red flag” about the church is when they see people not doing what they say they believe. In short, they hear how we speak to and about each other and want no part of it.


Ephesians 4:29 says; “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”


Men’s ministry is about modeling how to support and build up people; it is not about modeling how to tear people down.

While most people would never think about speaking harm to someone in the church, we are evaluated by what we say both inside and outside the church.


I challenge you to embrace the words of Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”


Will you be instruments of God’s grace and use your words to build up and not tear down?


“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but and words will never also harm you and others.”


Your brother on the journey,


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

General Commission on UM Men




It’s all about relationships


By Steve Nailor


Ministry is different from missions, but ministry frequently results from missions. That’s what the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance told us during a March NACP meeting.

He explained that men who work together to build a handicap ramp frequently share their faith and find ways to provide spiritual nurture for each other. That’s where ministry begins.


Building relationships is the most important thing we do as leaders.  If you do not have a relationship with your conference and district presidents, how can you expect these leaders to build relationships with their church leaders?


We cannot ask men to become EMS members or Legacy Builders, if we do not have relationships with them.


Recently, I was in the Desert Southwest Conference in Arizona, where President David James has started the Servants at Work (SAWs) program. Their purpose is to provide ramps for shut-ins and people who can no longer enter and exit their homes. This is a great example of men working together, sharing together and praying together to build relationships.


Building relationships with our brothers and our clergy will help them to know that our programs have the potential re-energize our churches.


Relationship building is the key.


In closing, I think of Mathew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seek s finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)


Relationships open doors and Christ calls us to open these doors.


Steve Nailor, president

National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men




Something is missing


By Mark Lubbock


“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

Titus 2:7-8

Many men , including those in the church, reveal that they have no real idea what their purpose in life is. They find something is missing as they try to work out their lives as Christians.

The net result is a sort of wandering where men try this or that, in an effort to bring meaning to their lives. Any effort to address these personal trials requires more than a Sunday school class or a Bible study.


Does your church offer a process that meets a man where he stands, and helps him along a defined path of personal spiritual growth?


Your commission staff understands, and we can offer suggestions to address this situation. Let us help you set up a schedule of action steps that will truly advance your ministry and even your personal life.


Would you like to survey the men of your church to understand their real needs? We can help with that.

Interested in finding resources for young dads trying to balance job, family, spiritual life and a calendar that is overfilled? Let us recommend effective resources for you.


As I visit with UM Men groups across the nation, I find some are addressing the real needs of their members.

I hear stories of men who are making progress in their spiritual lives and about UM Men serving people in need.

These experiences provide ample evidence that men are interested in being a part of something meaningful. This applies to both service and spiritual opportunities.


Men will be open to new spiritual experiences as long as they are personally relevant.


We are here to help.


Mark Lubbock is a certified men’s ministry specialist and a deployed staff member of the General Commission on UM Men



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