A bi-monthly e-letter by agency officers and staff
of the General Commission on UM Men
Changes of plans
By Bishop Gary Mueller
I left my office late Thursday morning on January 6 to catch a flight from Little Rock to Nashville for a gathering of UM leaders.
I had to fly to Dallas to get to Nashville.
Just as I was about to board the plane in Little Rock, my Dallas-to-Nashville flight was canceled because of the snowstorm barreling through Tennessee.
With the help of some wonderful people, I was rebooked on a late-night flight and placed on standby for an afternoon flight. Soon the afternoon flight was canceled, and it looked to me like the night flight might be as well, so I got a hotel at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, and I booked a new flight for early Friday morning.
The Friday flight to Nashville was routed through Raleigh-Durham.
It was smooth sailing, although I did wonder if my luggage would make it since it had disappeared from my app. But, when I turned on my phone after landing in Nashville, it miraculously appeared on my app, but it was not scheduled to get there for two-and-a-half hours. So, I waited. When the plane with my luggage arrived, I waited some more. And then some more since it was the last bag off the plane.
After an uneventful Lyft ride, I finally made it to the hotel and was blessed by my time with leaders of UM Men.
As I’ve reflected on all of this, I realize my travel experience is a lot like the journey of getting to God. It involves twists, turns, unexpected delays and changes of plans. But when you finally arrive, you realize it was worth every minute of the journey.
Bishop Gary Mueller, vice-president
General Commission on UM Men
Preparing for Lent
By Greg Arnold
A few years ago, I asked a good friend what he was going to give up for Lent. Without much thought, he said, “Strong drink, fast cars, and night clubbing.” We chuckled for a few minutes.
He was my pastor.
Certainly, he was joking as he takes the Lenten season seriously. Lent is a time set aside to remind us of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us on the cross. But there is something we should be mindful of when we set our eyes toward sacrifice:
It costs us something.
In the Old Testament, God taught our forefathers of faith how to respond to His presence.
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
––Deuteronomy 10: 17-18 (NIV)
Lent is a time to focus our attention on God rather than our own desires.
Our Lenten challenge is to contemplate how to line up our pursuits to match His desires,
- Can we care for the fatherless?
- Can we help single mothers and widows?
- Can we seek out strangers who need help?
- Can we feed and provide clothing and shelter for the homeless?
- Can we show love?
If we meet the needs of the people suffering around us, we will be living into Christ’s desire for us –– to love others.
Let's break the cycle of worrying about how the world is treating us and concern ourselves with how our neighbors are being treated.
Sometimes the best sacrifice is not the food we want to avoid or the habit we are trying to break; it’s giving time and attention to the people around us.
Maybe inside of our 40 days of service to others, we will find freedom from those little habits we are trying to defeat in our lives.
Greg Arnold, general secretary
General Commission on UM Men
By Dr. Rick Vance
In January, I visited the Church of the Primacy of Peter and the Church of the Multiplication in Israel. The churches reminded me of the many chances Jesus gave to Peter.
You know Peter; he was a man who wanted to do right in his walk with the Lord, but he had a propensity to always mess up.
This is the same man, who, when Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Then Jesus said, “Peter you are the rock, and upon this rock I will build my church (Mathew 16:16 and 18).
He also was the man who told Jesus that he would never deny him, yet, not long after, Peter denied Jesus three times.
I believe UM Men are in the same boat as Peter. We want to follow Christ, we want to do what is right; sometimes we do so, yet many times we fail Him.
Despite Peter’s denials, the resurrected Christ, said to Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” (John 15-17).
Time and time again Jesus offered Peter new opportunities to be forgiven and go out into the mission field.
God offers us the same opportunities to UM Men in 2022.
As we begin this new year, I challenge you to examine what you and your ministry are doing to further God’s kingdom of earth. And I challenge you to hear Jesus ask you, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”
As part of the UM Men, we are called to “Coach men to thrive through Christ.”
May God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, empower you for this journey in 2022.
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of operations
General Commission on UM Men
When and why should I re-engage in scouting ministry?
By Steven Scheid
When should I re-engage in scouting ministry?
Although it is still cold in Tennessee, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says is time to put the daffodils out. Even though they will not peak for a couple of months, they need the cold to set.
If we do not plant in the cold, the flowers cannot bloom in the first warmth of spring.
Yes, it’s cold, and outdoor time is limited, but now is the time to re-engage in scouting ministry.
Why should I re-engage in scouting ministry?
The bankruptcy and COVID-19 discourage many from returning to leadership positions in scouting.
These last two plus years will join other solemn occasions such as D-Day, the Kennedy assassination, Bloody Sunday, and 9/11. But this is different. It is not a single day; it is a long slow strain with lasting impacts. This is the kind of challenge that makes all sorts of ministry difficult.
Jesus offers a good reason: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our ministry can be the light that points to God.
God built us to be social. “It is not good that man should be alone.” We will be able to come together.
Now is the time to recruit young women for Girl Scouts and help Daisy troops grow. Now is the time to recruit young people for packs, troops, and crews of the Boy Scouts.
Help youth shut out in the cold by COVID-19 find the warmth of the spring in the house of God.
It’s time to re-engage in scouting ministry.
Steven Scheid, director
Center for Scouting Ministries
Finish the race
By Herman Lightsey
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
–– 2 Timothy 4:7
The January planning and vision meeting with Greg Arnold, our new general secretary, was invigorating, innovative, and like drinking from a fire hose. UM Men leaders left the Nashville meeting with the wind of “new hope” in their sails.
To fulfill the vision established in Nashville, we need men who will respond to Paul’s directions to young Timothy to become “fighters,” “finishers,” and “faithful.”
Men are ok (to some extent) with keeping the faith but fighting and finishing call for deeper commitments.
We are great at getting excited about new methods to reach men thinking that droves of men will respond and commit. But, when they don’t, we quickly become disenchanted and quit. This is part of the negative image that some pastors have of this ministry. Men get excited and get their pastor involved, but when it does not turn out as they thought it would, they quit and leave the pastor out on the limb.
Men often misunderstand “Keeping the faith.” Faith is not belief in a doctrine or creed. It is not believing stupid things that science says are not true.
Faith is taking a step forward without any guarantee that it is going to work out the way we want it to.
Paul never stopped pursuing the goal to be more like Christ. This should also be our standard.
God has chosen Greg Arnold to lead the commission for a time such as this.
God has also chosen us for a time such as this.
Please join with me to fight, finish, and keep the faith to fulfill God’s vision for this ministry, a ministry that is about where men and their families will spend eternity.
Grace and peace my brothers.
Herman Lightsey, president
National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men
You can leave a legacy through the UM Men Foundation
By Steve Nailor
Greetings on behalf of the UM Men Foundation. As we begin 2022, I would like to update you on the status of the foundation.
Despite several twists and turns, the foundation had a good year. In 2021, our corpus earned 8.08 percent. This growth allowed us to continue our annual provision of $114,500 to the Center for Scouting Ministries and $41,000 to the Center for Men’s Ministry. In the last six years, the foundation has provided more than $933,00 to these ministries.
We all have limited recourses. We are challenged on how and where to invest our time, prayers, presence, gifts, and services. But what matters is if whether we are making a difference in the lives of others.
Your support of the foundation is essential. It is imperative that the foundation continue to provide the monetary support to make a difference in lives of others.
The newly established Heritage Society provides an opportunity for people to provide:
- Planned gifts
- Life insurance policies
- Charitable gifts annuities
- Charitable endowments
You can start a legacy or endowment for as little as a $1,000. You may name the endowment or put it in someone else’s name. The foundation protects the corpus and only uses funds generated through its growth.
If you are 70 ½ and are required to take a Required Minimum Distribution, you can provide a gift directly to the foundation and it does not count against your income.
Go here for more information.
Steve Nailor, president
UM Men Foundation
By Mark Lubbock
“I beg you that when I come, I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.”
–– 2 Corinthians 10:2
Healthy organizations undertake periodic assessments to determine how current and past actions measure up to declared core values, vision, and mission. These assessments may result in course corrections.
Few churches, and even fewer men, take time to assess their lives in the Spirit. Unconsciously, most men tend to live by the standards of the world, missing the mark completely.
A quick litmus test of your spiritual life is to pretend today is your last day on earth:
- Have you lived into your purpose?
- Are you largely fulfilled in life?
- Are there important things you have left undone?
We all want to become the man God designed us to be. The good news is God makes a way for this to take place.
Personally, I find that the more time I, and my men’s group, spend reading the Bible, and discussing how to apply it to our lives, the better life becomes.
Such engagement enables us to hear from God clearly and frequently. Ongoing relationships with Scripture, and with each other, results in lives that look quite different from those who do not interlock in such a discipline.
God has your perfectly designed life plan ready to go. He reveals the plan in steps that are just right for where you find yourself today and tomorrow.
If you are ready to embark on the journey of your life, contact a staff member of the commission. We can walk you through each step. You are not alone in this journey!
Mark Lubbock, deployed staff member
General Commission on UM Men
Burn the ship and don’t look back
By Jim Boesch
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
–– Philippians 3:13
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”
At a recent retreat of leaders of UM Men in snowy Nashville, someone brought up “Burn the Ships,” a 2018 song performed by an Australian Christian pop duo for King & Country You Tube channel.
The title was mentioned numerous times as the group set plans for 2022 with new leaders and changing expectations
The challenge, in these annual brainstorming planning sessions, is to stay focused on the future without reminiscing about the “good old days.”
I offer you a few of the lyrics to help you make sense of my musings:
“We've got to burn the ships, cut the ties, send a flare into the night; say a prayer, turn the tide, dry your tears and wave goodbye.
Step into a new day!
So, light a match, leave the past, burn the ships, and don't you look back.
We're born again, our hopeful lungs can breathe again Oh, we can breathe again
Step into a new day!”
As we go through changes in management, and as we complete the casting of God’s 2022 purpose, values, and vision for our beloved General Commission on UM Men, the National Association of Conference Presidents, and the UM Foundation, we need to focus on the future, and not step back into the comfortable familiarity of the past.
We all fear downing if we leave our comfy ship.
But, there is one who walks on water who oceans cannot sink.
So, take his hand and our Lord Jesus will bring you back to shore.
My hope and prayer for all we share an awesome kingdom-building journey in 2022.
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
The General Commission on UM Men