For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
––2 Timothy 1:7)
If men of the UMC are to fully live into our collective mission of “. . . making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” then somehow we must begin to concentrate our energy on becoming spiritual leaders.
Our power to transform the world flows from daily walks with Christ that transforms each man.
Jesus was born, lived, died and was resurrected to help us begin the process of becoming transformed men who transform their communities.
We spend a great amount of our time making plans to do great and wonderful things, but we somehow forget that we are first called to be Christ followers.
As we learn how to be like Jesus we receive the POWER to transform our churches, our communities, our towns, our cities, our counties, our states, our provinces, our nations and ourselves.
Jesus admonished His disciples not to do anything until they received power from on high.
It was only after Peter received power that he could preach and thousands were added to the faith community.
Spiritually transformed men will transform depressed communities. They will help end poverty and lower the dropout rate in our neighborhood school systems.
Spiritually transformed men will enable that which was thought to be impossible to become reality.
Spiritually transformed men become willing and eager to face danger with a sense of confidence and fearlessness.
Spiritual leaders are called to lead men to engage in disciplines that produce commitments to live fearlessly and exhibit originality in thinking.
They become laity and clergy who are not afraid to stand out and be noticed.
I love these words of Gandhi, “Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality.”
In a sermon entitled “Not a Spirit of Fear,” C. Roy Angell’s says,
“One of the glorious things about Jesus and Paul was that they were fearless. Quietly, with beautiful poise, they walked along the dangerous pathway of life with perfect assurance. They were anchored to the great rock-ribbed truth that this is God’s world.”
I realize that often we are fearful of what might happen if we step out and do something out of the ordinary that God is calling us to do. But, think with me for a moment, if God is in it can it be ordinary?
In a poem titled “Lines from a Dull Life,” Viney Wilder tells us:
“When the day is dark and gloomy, and the fog obscures your view,
And you feel there is no challenge, waiting anywhere for you,
When it’s routine you must follow, through a dreary weather chart,
And you feel the hand of duty, like a millstone on your heart,
Face the skies however darkened, when you ache to turn away.
Do the job that lies before you; keep your courage one more day.
You can never guess how often you affect another’s life
By the fact you are a doer not a quitter in the strife.”
We need to challenge every UM men’s group to be intentional about building a system that increases the level of spiritual growth in each man.
We often quit because we are committed to a program rather than to a constant growth in our relationship with Lord and each other.
Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.
President of the General Commission on UM Men
This article is part of a bimonthly e-letter to leaders of UM Men. Other articles in the February letter may be found at: