Reflections by agency officers and staff

of the General Commission on UM Men



October 2019



You can only do who you are

By Bishop Gary Mueller

The mission of the UMC is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It’s a clear purpose, and there are lots of resources to help you do this. But here’s the thing I’ve learned. I can’t make disciples unless I’m first a disciple. And I can’t transform lives, communities and the world unless I am first transformed.

The work of UM Men is helping men grow in Christ, so others may know Christ. Again, it’s crystal clear, and there are lots of resources to assist. But what I love about it is the way it reminds me that I share Christ as a result of first growing in Christ.

Why does all this matter? It matters because we’re not doing a very good job of making disciples of Jesus Christ or helping others know him. The cure is not creating better resources or working harder. Rather, we must begin by taking an honest look at who we are. Not by beating ourselves up, but rather by asking some important soul questions.

Are we serious about growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ?

Are we working to become a more faithful disciple in every aspect of your life?

Are we seeking to be so transformed that you live in Jesus’ heart, have your heart shaped by his heart, and share his heart through your words and deeds?

Answering these questions is not a one and done. It’s a journey that begins where we are, continues throughout our lives and lasts for eternity. It’s a journey, however, that will bless us as it takes us deep into the heart of Jesus.

Bishop Gary Mueller, vice president

General Commission on UM Men


What ‘flows’ from a different source?

By Gil Hanke

My Wesley Study Bible includes comments on his “core terms.” In describing works of mercy and works of piety, Wesley did not consider these ways to earn salvation, but they necessarily flow from salvation.

Stated another way, actions we take to show our reverence to God or to meet the needs of others don’t earn us a place in heaven or favor with God. Those actions flow because of our love of God, and the teachings of Christ direct us to act on that love.

Yes, we feed the hungry because they need nourishment. But the feeling we must feed the hungry comes from a different source.

Yes, we want the world and our country to be at peace, but the passion that causes us to work for peace, comes from a different source.

Yes, we attend church and participate in worship, but the unsettled feeling we get during the week that drives us to additional reading or to “search the Scriptures” comes from a different source.

Yes, we want children to grow up in a loving family with caring parents and adequate resources, but the passion to invest time and money helping a Cub pack or after-school program comes from a different source.

A woman in a nursing home asked for a pastoral visit as she had a real problem; she now felt worthless. The pastor asked if she would consider making phone calls to members of the church that might be lonely. She agreed and as she began to call, she asked people for prayer concerns, and for other people who might appreciate a call. The remainder of her life was spent in compassionate calls and passionate prayers.

That passion came from another source.

What is your passion from another source?

Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men



Our doors are open

By Steven Scheid

On the night Joseph and Mary were looking for a place for the child to be born. They asked, “Can we have room for a night?” They did not desire to go to Bethlehem, and there was a sense of urgency for the child was coming.

Like Mary and Joseph, we do not always have our first choice. But there was a place for them and the child.

At the end of 2019, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will no longer charter Scout units. Scouts and Scout leaders of this church will be asked to take an action that is not their first choice.

But there is a place for them.

The UMC supports Boy Scouts of America. We support the value of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. We are open to receiving packs, troops, ships, and crews. We want to provide opportunities for youth and adults to grow, no matter their faith background. We answer the door with, “There is room. Please come in.”

We work with Jewish youth and adults to honor Sabbath on Saturday. We work with Islamic Scouts and Scouters who fast during Ramadan. We work with Latter-day Saint Scouts and Scouters to make sure they can act in faith at their Sunday Sacrament Service. We honor the time of our Catholic Scouts and Scouters as they attend mass.

In short, we support faith as a family decision.

We stand with open doors to Scouts and Scouters. Please reach out to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with this open invitation.

For details on a unit near you, contact the Center for Scouting Ministry. We will connect you with the local team who can help. If you need help in reaching out to the Latter-day Saints in your community, contact Mark Francis.

Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries

General Commission on UM Men



Faith or fear

By Dr. Rick Vance

John 14 recalls a conversation that Jesus is having with His disciples. Knowing he will be leaving them, Jesus helps them understand that they do not need to fear the future.

Opening this discourse with “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus reminds his followers that if they believe in God, they have hope for the future. Later, He reminds them that the comforter will be with them always.

As men in ministry, we face uncertainty on many levels. This uncertainty can lead to paralyzing fear and doubt. These are emotions we don’t want to admit to anyone, especially not to God.

Many Scripture passages recognize that anxiety is part of being human, and the authors encourage us to let God handle our concerns:

 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” –– 1 Peter 5:7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” –– Philippians 4:6-7

In the Psalter, we hear, “Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

It is important to know that fear is part of the human condition, but it should not be paralyzing.

As leaders, we make decisions which affect our ministries.

After due diligence in prayer, research and discussion we are faced with a choice.

We can be paralyzed by fear and take no action.

Or we can act with the confidence that God has a plan for us.

Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see.

It’s your choice. I hope you will choose faith, knowing that the God you can’t physically see is with you.

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

General Commission on UM Men



Your opportunity to give

By Steve Nailor

Our first annual GIVE DAY will be October 21, 2019. This new venture will expand leadership resources for every man to strengthen his relationship with Jesus Christ. It is meant to reach out to men who may not have been connected to men’s ministries up to this point.

Information on the GIVE DAY will be distributed to all contacts, churches and scouting ministries within the commission.

We will be casting our “nets in new water.”

Jesus himself appeared to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberius post resurrection. Peter and the disciples had decided to go fishing, but throughout the night they caught nothing. Early in the morning Jesus stood on the beach and called out to them, “Friends, you haven’t any fish?” “No”, they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” ––John 21:4-8

If we continue to do things the same way, we will continue to get the same results. By casting a wider net, we can re-tool our skillsets to reach younger and more diverse men. With the new resources for transformational small groups experiences, churches can find a treasury of life-enriching outcomes.

This one-day giving opportunity will provide financial support for men’s and scouting ministries throughout all levels of our church.

Three ways to give


  • Text “UMMen” to 44321 (cell)

Phone (1-866-297-4312):

  • 5 a.m. to midnight (Central Time)


  • P.O. Box 440515, Nashville, TN. 37244

Steve Nailor, president

National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men



Right under your nose

By Mark Lubbock

I’m seeing a strong uptick in Christian men’s events.

Here and there, men are beginning to yoke up and form unassociated men’s groups and organizations. By unassociated, I mean that these groups are organic, grown from within a body of men. These are not birthed out of an existing men’s ministry. These groups are hungry for spiritual meat.

My personal journey with UM Men is that I started my own men’s small group in a large church. The small group grew until one day the lead pastor pulled me aside to say, “I just want you to be aware that the UM Men are mad at you because they think you are stealing men that could be joining them.” I asked, “Who are UM Men? I’ve never heard of them.”

Here I was, a guy in my 30s––a member of the perfect demographic group, and no one in the UM Men organization had invited me to participate. My response was to attend one of their meetings, (they never came to one of mine). I eventually joined UM Men and became president.

The rest is history.

We have a great opportunity lying right under our noses and what we need to do now is to reach out and meet men where they are. Find out what is going on and begin to build a relationship with them.

The commission has vast resources to support men’s ministry at every level. We have national experts, speakers, studies, training, how-to outlines, certified men’s ministry specialists, and much more.

Why not invite leaders of an unaffiliated men’s organization to attend a brain-storming session to create a local or regional event? The commission can help with the planning and it can provide resources to help build out your ministry.

Mark Lubbock, a certified men’s ministry specialist and deployed staff member

General Commission on UM Men


Back to News Articles