Men hold leadership training to help disciple male leaders
By Jessica Brodie
COLUMBIA—Men seeking new ways to be church leaders now have needed training and inspiration under their belts.
South Carolina United Methodist Men held a conference-wide Men’s Ministry Leadership Training Sept. 16-17 at Windsor United Methodist Church, Columbia. South Carolina UMM President Herman Lightsey said the event was designed to mobilize district lay and clergy teams for more effective men’s ministry.
After a few years of successful men’s spiritual retreats at the beach designed to fire up men for men’s ministry, Lightsey said, “We’re now at the point where, in order to bring men’s ministry to the doorsteps of the church, you have to go out and connect with them physically through actual teams of men in district who love men’s ministry and communicate between the district and the church.”
About half of the 12 districts in South Carolina currently have district men’s ministry teams, and 11 of the 12 have leadership developing teams, Lightsey said. Their goal is to have seven of the 12 with district teams by the end of the year and all 12 districts with teams by the end of 2017.
“The whole crux of what we’re doing is making disciples,” Lightsey said. “If we can get men back in church that God can use doing godly things and being godly leaders, then God’s church is going to grow.”
The September training event brought men from every district together. Facilitators were new Greenwood District Superintendent and Cabinet representative Dr. Stephen Love, as well as the Rev. Joseph James, the Rev. Dick Waldrep and David Green.
The event kicked off Friday with a barbecue fellowship dinner and mixer, followed by a presentation by Love on commitment and leadership. Drawing from the Scripture about four friends lowering their paralyzed friend from a roof so he could be healed by Jesus, Love said Jesus responded to their faith then, and He still responds to that kind of faith today. When it comes to igniting a passion for men’s ministry, that concept applies, he said.
“I believe that this movement in men’s ministry will lead men throughout our conference to accept the challenge of living into our full purpose as men of God making disciples for the transformation of the world,” Love said. “Let us walk by faith and not by sight as we meet faith’s expectations so that we do not settle or give up but rather that we keep pressing our way as we align with the will of God.”
After a short video of Bishop Jonathan Holston encouraging men’s ministry leaders (he could not attend the event because he was out of the country), Waldrep spoke about the importance of the UMC Connection when it comes to connecting men’s ministry groups.
Saturday opened with prayer and a devotion by Marvin Horton, vice president of conference UMM, followed by a talk by Lightsey on the UMM vision and mission.
The mission of the UMM is to disciple men that God can use in men’s families, churches, communities and the world. To make that happen, Lightsey said, men need to use three tools: connection (largely through relationships), communication (through relationships as well as through the website and social media) and accountability (contracts, support groups, prayer partners and more).
Next Green, of Rehoboth UMC, Columbia, led about how to communicate, and then Dennis Sullen talked about the Upper Room Prayer Ministry, one of the men’s key ministry efforts. Sullen said it doesn’t take a team of 50 people to participate; two or three people often do the prayer line from a church, and some people even volunteer solo.
James talked about the importance of leadership and chartering (see below) and refocusing men’s clubs into men’s ministries.
The day closed with district breakout sessions, then a summary from each district and a prayer.
“I thought it helped us see to vast opportunity that is before us; I also think everyone was encouraged and inspired,” Horton said about the event. “The greatest part was face-to-face and fellowship. The personal connection cannot be achieved in any other way.”
Waldrep said the training was one of the best he has attended, for UMM or other areas of ministry.
“I came away with renewed hope and vision for men’s ministry in South Carolina,” Waldrep said. “While my men’s groups in the churches I serve continue to face the challenges of ceasing to be ‘meet and eat clubs,’ struggling to engage men to participate and to do so in a deeper ‘disciple way,’ something Rev. Stephen Love said struck a chord. He said, ‘If only one man attends, do all the ministry you can with the one.’ This statement resonated loudly, giving me the assurance to continue in faithful service and to trust God to bring whatever increase is needed.”
Men were also asked to explore five things they can do to strengthen men’s ministry in their church: 1) Pray for God to deepen your faith, guide your work and connect you with people who are seeking to grow in their faith; 2) lead a study for men in your church or in your community and encourage those who come to the study to invite a friend; 3) mentor other men; 4) bring a group of men to a teaching church event in the next year; and 5) work on chartering an official Men in Ministry group in your church.
For more on the South Carolina UMM, visit http://mennministrysc.org.
Why charter your local church’s men’s ministry programs
The charter has been the uniting instrument of United Methodist Men for more than 50 years.
Men gladly join and support many diverse civic and service clubs and support these organizations with dues as well as many hours of volunteer service in their communities. They do this willingly year after year, reaping the spiritual reward of contributing to the welfare of humankind. They enjoy the association with others.
However, chartering as United Methodist “men’s clubs” implies that it is exclusive, when in fact every man and the pastor (male or female) are part of the ministry.
To ensure that that all men’s ministry groups are included, the UMM is requesting every pastor to charter their church annually. This will allow all ministries to men to be included and support the local and world missions of the United Methodist Men.
UMM ministry is chartered for all the same reasons a local church is chartered, making its annual contributions to the general church through World Service and Conference Benevolences. Our church is a connectional community of true believers under the lordship of Christ offering a covenant relationship between persons. It offers a unique and favorable mission and ministry in the world.
Because of the uniqueness of ministry for and to men, the limited amount of general church funds is not adequate for administration and maintenance of this specialized mission and ministry of UMM.
The charter and annual recertification are required of each local church by the Book of Discipline (Para. 2302).
The annual fee ($85 per year or two years for $160) helps strengthen and enhance men’s ministry programs around the world.
To charter: www.mennministrysc.org/church-charter.