By Jessica Brodie
South Carolina men are riding the wave of a massive men’s ministry movement, gearing up for one more teaching church event this fall that will culminate a season of learning and fellowship.
On Oct. 3, men have the opportunity to gather at Journey United Methodist Church, Columbia, for “Facing the Future with No Fear: Creating a Culture that Attracts, Wins and Sends,” a daylong United Methodist Men event featuring wisdom on leadership, worship, growth and funding your dreams. Church leadership and pastor
Set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event is open to all men regardless of geographic location. It will cover prophetic worship, using multimedia in worship, recruiting volunteers and funding your dream. The $50 cost includes breakfast and lunch; the group rate for five or more is $45. (Register at www.journeycolumbia.org/nofear.)
The October event is the last of five UMMen teaching churches held in August, September and October in various locations across the state. Future teaching churches will be announced at www.ummsc.org.
“These teaching churches have just been amazing, and the main thing is it’s showing how, not just telling men,” said Herman Lightsey, president of South Carolina UMMen. “I think it’s gone beyond even our expectations and dreams. “When we first started looking at ‘teaching churches,’ we wanted to teach men how to build up men’s ministries in churches and get men and their families into church, but now you see men going out in the community, in reading programs, in (fighting) human trafficking. Men are not only involved in the church but men are going outside the church doing things we don't normally associate them with.”
The first teaching church of the season, “Unconditional Love,” was held Aug. 15 at St. Mark UMC, Taylors, and moved many men to tears. Organizers said it helped bridge racial divides by focusing on diversity, biases and discrimination—and how men can come to love God, self and others through hope and a call to action.
Then, on Aug. 29, men had two more opportunities to come together for focused learning. Grace UMC, North Augusta, hosted “Awaken the Warrior,” drawing from Romans 13:11-14, and Belin Memorial UMC, Murrells Inlet, hosted “STOP: An Effort to Stop Human Trafficking,” featuring local elected officials, law enforcement, theologians and representatives from the U.S. Senate to learn what all can do to put an end to what organizers call “this modern-day form of slavery.”
“We feel called to make ourselves aware of a local and international epidemic and to move ourselves towards Christian action,” said the Rev. Scott Johnson, Belin’s associate pastor.
More recently, Sept. 17-19, Stewart Chapel UMC, Huger, hosted “In Search of the David Within You,” a men’s conference featuring two nights of worship and wisdom from speakers the Revs. James Friday, Keith Britton, Jeffrey Salley and Jeff Dunn.
Lightsey said he is starting to see great excitement generated, plus see churches begin reaching out to other churches in the community, too—not just other UMCs.
“The neat thing I’m seeing is a lot of the younger men and pastors are getting involved with this because of the teaching churches,” Lightsey said. ““It’s done more than what we’ve expected.”
For more information: www.ummsc.org.
By Jessica Brodie