Specialists To Help Men Mature Spiritually
By Linda Green*
March 12, 2009 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
Men's ministry specialists are collaborating with pastors to help The United Methodist Church reach more men.
Launched in 2008, the initiative from United Methodist Men provides specialists to serve congregations by supporting clergy and lay leaders in ministry with men. On March 8, seven men were commissioned during the meeting of the denomination's National Association of Annual Conference Presidents to provide information and resources to help congregations develop ministries for men.
A dozen more men will be recognized as specialists during the 10th National Gathering of United Methodist Men July 10-12 in Nashville.
According to the Rev. David Adams (below), top executive of the denomination's Commission on United Methodist Men, the program is a response to the shortage of qualified leadership in men's ministry and the leadership emphasis of the church's four areas of focus. The possibilities for the denomination are diminished by the spiritual condition of men, he said.
The specialists will motivate, inspire and serve as "coaches for the conference and district to connect with local churches and connect to the commission," Adams said.
"The program motivates leaders through vision, inspiration, cooperation and encouragement," he added. "This is about men helping men know Christ so that others can find Christ."
Each of the men commissioned was recommended by his pastor for the specialist position. They also participated in a No-Man-Left-Behind leadership training session sponsored by Orlando, Fla.-based Man in the Mirror ministries.
The commission, working the United Methodist Board of Higher and Ministry and Ministry, created an on-line curriculum that includes church history and polity, safe sanctuaries, and sexual ethics that men must complete before receiving certification as a specialist in the United Methodist Church.
In addition, United Methodist Men is developing a 12-hour advanced lay speaking course in men's ministry as a resource that provides an understanding of men's ministry principles, essentials and benefits. A version of the training will be a workshop at the men's gathering in July.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.