By Jessica Brodie
A fresh gust of wind is blowing through United Methodist men’s ministry this fall as their leadership team gets a new president, shifts plans for its spiritual retreat and begins to walk through a vision for their districts.
On Nov. 1, former vice president Marvin Horton takes the presidential helm as former president Herman Lightsey’s three terms wrap to a close.
Lightsey will remain connected, however, as he is a certified men’s ministry specialist for the General Commission on United Methodist Men, active in the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMM and is the National Association of Conference Presidents vice president.
“It’s really exciting to be part of men’s ministry in South Carolina right now,” Horton said. “It’s not just an organization that happens … but men that are connected to Jesus Christ, and we want to make that more real and not just a bunch of guys that get together and enjoy each other.”
New slate of UMM leaders
The shift in leadership was a natural fit, Horton and Lightsey said.
“From my perspective, this has come about over several years,” Horton said. “I’ve kind of ‘worked into’ this position.”
Lightsey said he is thrilled Horton has been elected the new president, calling Horton a “great guy” and a “strong Christian through and through.”
“He breathes men’s ministry—that’s just the way he feels,” Lightsey said about Horton. “He lives the church.”
There are other new faces on the UMM leadership team, as well. As of Nov. 1, the lineup includes Alvin Glen as new vice president, Dyron Anderson as secretary, Charles Shipman as treasurer, the Rev. Robert Cox as scouting coordinator and Dennis Sullen as prayer advocate, along with leadership from Dr. Steven Love, Greenwood District superintendent and Cabinet representative to men’s ministry.
Elections were held Oct. 13, with new officers nominated by district presidents and confirmed by the body. Love officiated the installation of the officers.
Retreat now one day intensive in February at Mount Horeb
As for the retreat February 2019 spiritual retreat, Lightsey and Horton said their intentional connection to Christ, along with a willingness to follow the path of the Spirit, has led them to make a big change.
The retreat has traditionally been a weekend event, one that has been held at the beach for the last several years. Being God-led helped them grow from just 150 attending the retreat in 2013 to upwards of 1,000 and more, and they were planning to continue in the same vein for the 2019 retreat.
But doing the retreat “as usual” was facing a number of obstacles this year, from challenges with speakers to the fact that the host church for this year, Christ UMC, Myrtle Beach, has recently asked to withdraw from the denomination. (See related story, Page x.)
Lightsey said they kept getting the feeling something was “off” about the retreat this year, and they didn’t understand why.
“I think we were getting too comfortable,” Lightsey said. “But now, due to factors beyond our control, it’s a God thing pushing us to change. We were not feeling we were in the right place; now we are. We’d been talking about it, and now God nudged us to the next step.”
Now, the retreat has been shifted to an intensive session held in a single day, Feb. 16, 2019, at Mount Horeb UMC, Lexington. Leadership from the Rev. Trevor Miller and others will focus on getting younger men involved in the UMM, encouraging and supporting districts in growing men’s ministry programs and more.
“We’ve got to step out,” Horton said, noting the event will still keep the same name and theme—Get Out of the Boat: Faith Over Fear, which is exactly what they are trying to embrace.
“We’re just feeling God’s calling us to give our best effort. We’re hoping for 1,000 or more men to come out for that one day.”
For more on the retreat and how to register, as well as for more on men’s ministry: www.ummsc.org.