Taking a step beyond caution

By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”—Matthew 14:25-32 (NIV)

Several years ago, the United Methodist Men in South Carolina embarked upon a new direction in ministry. I want to invite you to consider the proactive leadership collaboration of clergy and laity that we have for our men in ministry emphasis in South Carolina. Indeed, God has blessed this ministry to men and their families in tremendous ways.

Truthfully, our prayers for God’s direction and plan for growing our church through the efforts of men in South Carolina is continuing to come into focus!

Attendance at our Men’s Spiritual Weekend has grown over the last several years from 150 to more than 1,100 men and women. In fact, this is a God-sized vision of the South Carolina Conference United Methodist Men.

What the South Carolina United Methodist Men movement is doing to attract men in ministry is simple. We meet men where they are, connecting strong faith and discipleship with family, community and vocational responsibilities. I feel that it is not only about the opportunity we have to disciple men and their families in their faith journey, but it is also about empowering men and women to return to their communities ready to continue the witness of faith locally and beyond. While men in other areas are staying away from the church, we are seeking a more excellent way by making disciples of Jesus Christ that will transform the world.

Later this month, we will gather for a one-day spiritual retreat experience that will empower men and their families to “Get Out of the Boat,” facing the inevitable waves of life with faith rather than fear. You are invited to join me and many other men of all ages on Saturday, Feb. 16, for this day of dynamic preaching, personal testimonies, stand-up comedy, practical workshops, fellowship, music and food.

To find out more information or to register, visit This new one-day format for the spiritual retreat provides the opportunity for even more men to participate.

We recognize the need for men to serve in their local church, district and on the conference level and seek to be a witness for men’s ministry in every way. I am grateful for the United Methodist Men of South Carolina and their ministry to men in South Carolina.

Thank you for your consideration of what we call a “mighty move of God” in our midst.

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