By the Rev. Dr. Rick Vance
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it’s time for harvest’? Look, I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest.”
––John 4:35 (CEB)
Over the last several weeks I have been traveling to several cities for speaking engagements.
Whenever I go into a new community, I make it a point to visit neighboring UM churches. Most of these people don’t know about charter subscriptions. They find it is difficult to reach men and they don’t know there are helpful resources.
As I reflected on that, I recalled numerous times I have gone to orchards to pick fruit. We harvested the fruit on the lower branches and the ground; however, we never reached the fruit near the tree tops.
“If someone doesn’t pick the fruit from the tree tops, I will lose a great deal of the crop,” said a farmer. “People seem OK with grabbing the easy fruit, but they leave the rest to spoil.”
The experiences lead me to ask, “As leaders of UM Men are we guilty of just trying to reach known churches, while leaving the unfamiliar and more difficult-to-reach churches untouched?”
Currently 90 percent of our churches do not have chartered men’s ministry. Most of these churches are probably looking for ways to connect with men in their churches and communities, but they have not been contacted by local UM Men leaders.
Jesus reminded his disciples; “The fields are ripe . . .”
I challenge you, as UM leaders to look up and see the harvest that God has for you to reach.
We have a variety of resources that can help you as you go out into the field. As a disciple, go and make disciples and connect them so they have the support and resources they need to make disciples as well.
Your brother on the journey,
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries
General Commission on UM Men