A Moment for Mission
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” — Hebrews 10:23-24, NRSVUE
What is men’s ministry? In United Methodist congregations, it’s a core group of men who partner with their pastor to invite and initiate spiritual growth opportunities for all men.
The apostle Paul, one of Jesus’s followers, wrote to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NRSVUE): “Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
In every congregation, we find people with different gifts, graces and areas of interest. Opportunities for participating in men’s ministries reflect that diversity: organizing prayer groups; supporting missions; leading Bible studies; participating in retreats, workshops/seminars and small groups in the Wesleyan tradition; leading and participating on committees; teaching Sunday school classes or youth ministries; leading scouting groups; mentoring and leading worship services. The focus is outward to all men, helping them to engage the process of spiritual growth.
Guiding this process is the General Commission on United Methodist Men, whose mission is to support spiritual growth among men, helping men to mature as disciples as they encourage spiritual formation in others. The goal is to empower the ministry of Jesus Christ through men within the congregations of The United Methodist Church.
The commission trains and equips local church leaders. The agency recently developed a new training experience called “men’s ministry specialist,” a leadership-development position for laity or clergy whom God calls to the ministry of Jesus Christ through men (Ministry to Men · United Methodist Men [gcumm.org]). A men’s ministry specialist serves as a resource, promoter, communicator and connector within and beyond the congregation. He equips and motivates leaders for effective men’s ministry through training, inspiration and assistance.
United Methodist Men hopes to train at least 100 men’s ministry specialists—about two per annual conference. Each specialist would work with local churches to create and sustain a thriving ministry for men in the church.
Today is Men’s Ministry Sunday. It’s a time to say thanks for the many ways men serve God and help in our church and community.
Look around our church. What are some of the ways that men help in our church? In many churches, men are pastors. They also help in worship, teach Sunday school classes, sing in the choir, lead youth groups and help with scouting. Others lead Bible studies, prayer groups and retreats; do mission work at home and around the world; and share their special skills.
Sometimes, God calls strange helpers in times of need. There is a Bible story about a man named Zacchaeus. He was a rich tax collector in a town called Jericho. People did not like Zacchaeus. They thought he was a liar and stole money from them.
One day, Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to Jericho. Zacchaeus really wanted to see Jesus, but he was quite short and couldn’t see over the crowds of people. He climbed a tree so he could see Jesus when he walked by.
Much to Zacchaeus’s surprise, Jesus looked right up at him and said, “Zacchaeus, come down from the tree. Today is my day to be a guest in your home[A1] [A2] .”
Zacchaeus was very excited, but the people were angry. “Why is Jesus going to Zacchaeus’s house? He’s a thief!” But Jesus knew what he was doing. On that day, Zacchaeus gave up his bad ways and became a follower of Jesus.
God calls each of us, sometimes at surprising times and in surprising ways. On Men’s Ministry Sunday, we say “Thank you” to the men who serve our church and our community in so many ways. Together, we all serve God and help our church love others.
Loving God, may we hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for you are faithful. Show us how to inspire and encourage one another to love and good deeds. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday after Pentecost — God of eternity and God of the next moment: we offer our gifts today having heard your call through Jesus to follow. Remind us again this day that being a follower doesn’t end at the offering plate. There is a weight to this call -- one that demands we not only say “yes” to following but that we also say “no” to thousands of things that will lead us away from the discipleship path. Guide us that we might not wander off that road. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Matt 9:9-13; 18-26)
Across The United Methodist Church, congregations observe Men’s Ministry Sunday, celebrating men’s work within and beyond the local church. This includes organized units of United Methodist Men, male Emmaus reunion committees, work teams, prayer and enrichment groups, Bible studies and other opportunities for men to gather for nurture, spiritual development, witness and outreach.
Men’s ministry is important for many reasons:
- Men lead others best by modeling Jesus Christ in thoughts, words and deeds.
- Spiritual maturity is signified in spiritual reproduction as the faith of mature disciples continues in others.
- Men growing in Christ become effective spiritual leaders in their homes and congregations, working as partners with their spouses and congregational leaders, both lay and clergy.
- Spiritually growing men help congregations to become vital and alive.
- Everything desired from and through men comes as a result of men growing spiritually and maturing as disciples: family blessings, stewardship, service, outreach, prayer, spiritual leadership, lifestyle evangelism and faithful obedience. Men are foundational to the church’s life and health.
- When a man lives daily in surrendered faith, God is honored and many lives are blessed. Transformed hearts are forged only within Christ-centered lives—nothing less is our acceptable offering; nothing less truly reveals Christ.