Daily Digest – Thursday, May 30, 2019

Daily Digest – Thursday, May 30, 2019

Laity Address

Arkansas Conference Lay Leader Karon Mann opted to deliver a slightly different version of her Laity Address than in year’s past.

Along with Associate Lay Leader Kathy Conley, lay leaders from each district of the Arkansas Conference joined Karon onstage to talk about the different ministry work that each district is undertaking.

Cathy Blackwood (Northwest), Jimmie Boyd (Southeast), Regina Norwood (Central), Kathy Conley (Northeast), and Jim Kimzey (Southwest) spoke for each of their districts during the Laity Address.

Speaking for the Southeast District, Boyd — Director of the Arkansas Conference Lay Servant Ministries — mentioned how even smaller churches can work to serve their community in big ways.

“My church, Mount Olivet, is a smaller church, but with our food pantry, we serve more than 60 families from all across Cleburne County,” said Boyd. “And when you have someone that comes into your pantry and says, ‘if it wasn’t for y’all, I think I would have died’ that brings it all home, folks. If we can save one person, it’s worth it all.”

Disaster Response Report

Byron Mann, gave the VIM and Disaster Response report today, giving the assembled body an update on the flooding situation along the Arkansas River.

Mann gave an update on what kinds of donations are needed from people and encouraged everyone to donate money and not flood buckets or health kits.

“The reason we aren’t asking for buckets and health kits right now is because we just received a delivery of 38 pallets of buckets. What we really need right now is churches to volunteer to help out their local community and to donate money, preferably cash, to the Arkansas Disaster Relief fund.”

To donate, visit http://bit.ly/2wvUnjG and select Arkansas Disaster Relief.

Rev. Dr. Greg Jones

The keynote speaker for Annual Conference this year is the Rev. Dr. Greg L. Jones, Dean of the Duke Divinity School at Duke University.

The Rev. Dr. Greg Jones gives the keynote address at the 2019 Arkansas Annual Conference. | Photo by Stephen Gideon

Jones focused his speech on reminding the United Methodists in the room about the rich tradition of mission work — reaching every person for Jesus — in our denomination, despite all of the many problems the United Methodist Church is currently facing after the 2019 special session of General Conference.

Jones used Numbers to illustrate how many of the Israelites were content to continue wandering in the wilderness or return to Egypt — to slavery and oppression — rather than face their fears and enter God’s promised land.

“Every one of us has a ‘Back to Egypt’ plan. We see what scares us; we want what’s familiar instead,” Jones said. “Part of the problem we have these days is that in the midst of our bewilderment, in the midst of change, in the midst of division, in the midst of the complaining and whining, in the midst of our complaining about leadership, we’ve lost our sense of mission and our sense of confidence in who God is and what God is doing in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Jones brought the mission of United Methodists back into full focus during the remainder of his sermon, reminding those in attendance why we believe what we believe as Christians, and the power to in all of us to do good work through that belief.

Jones will continue his keynote address at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, May 31.

Delegate Elections

During the second day of delegate elections, the voting members made it through a few more rounds before filling the remaining laity and clergy spots for General Conference 2020.

The fifth clergy ballot produced two delegates who made it over the minimum threshold for election: the Rev. Elizabeth Lynn Kilbourne (53.63%), senior pastor of North Little Rock First UMC, and the Rev. Jessica (Jessie) Waddell Teegarden (52.60%), an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church.

Teegarden is the first deacon elected by the Arkansas Conference to the General Conference delegation.

“I am overwhelmed with emotion with the opportunity to represent Arkansas at GC 2020 and grateful for the support of my colleagues in ministry. It is especially meaningful to represent young clergy women and the order of deacons,” Teegarden said.

“I am grateful for those who have paved the way and supported the need for deacons’ voices to be present at the table, especially Rev. Laverne Keahey and Rev. Lu Harding who have served on jurisdictional delegation and as alternates in the past. I pray that we will continue to ‘make history’ and continue to elect new, young, and diverse voices to the delegation.”

For the laity, it took one more round of voting than the clergy ballot, but the final two General Conference delegates were selected in round six.

Miller Wilbourn (54.17%) and Elizabeth Fink (50.25%) were elected as lay delegates to General Conference, bringing the total delegates from Arkansas to four clergy and four laity.

“I feel honored to serve as a delegate, and praise God for the opportunity,” Fink said. “I am thankful and don’t take for granted the trust that the Arkansas church has given me to continue contending for the faith.”

The final delegation from Arkansas is as follows:

Clergy – Mark Norman, Michael Roberts, Elizabeth Lynn Kilbourne, and Jessie Waddell Teegarden.

Laity – Karon Mann, Todd Burris, Miller Wilbourn, and Elizabeth Fink.

Three out of eight Arkansas delegates are under the age of 35, a noted increase from General Conference 2016 and 2019, where there were no delegates under 35 and only one alternate under that age.

According to the Young People’s Statement made at General Conference 2019, only 7% of elected delegates were under 35 years old.

Delegate voting will continue tomorrow for the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. Four clergy and four laity will be elected, and two alternates to both General Conference and South Central Jurisdictional Conference will also be chosen.

Reports

Various ministries, from committees to collegiate entities, presented their reports at today’s afternoon business session.

While some, such as the Arkansas Conference Center for Vitality, used their time to highlight new programs, learning tools and their wonderful staff, others, like the newly formed Native American Committee, used their time to focus on the issues that still need to be addressed.

The Native American Committee, which formed at the 2018 Annual Conference and is lead by Angie Gage, highlighted that indigenous people are found in almost every county in Arkansas.

Gage also stressed the need for more churches to get involved with the Native American Committee at their own congregation and the reasons why it’s important to pay attention to the struggles of Native people.

“More than 6,500 indigenous women and children in the U.S. go missing or are murdered every year. We are working to raise awareness on this issue but we need your help,” Gage said.

Another new committee that was just formed before the start of Annual Conference is the Disabilities Committee. Mark Lasater is the head of this newly formed committee and said they are hoping to raise more awareness for those with disabilities in the Arkansas Annual Conference, and to make churches and services more accessible for those with disabilities.

Later, Annie Meek came to a microphone to bring awareness to the body that those with invisible disabilities should also be recognized by the Committee and more awareness should be brought to the struggles of them as well.

Retirement

During the retirement service, 26 retirees were honored. From local pastors to district superintendents and elders, their combined time in ministry added up to 660 years of faithful service.

The Rev. Rodney Steele and Bishop Gary Mueller share an embrace during the retirement service on Thursday, May 30.
| Photo by Stephen Gideon

The names of the 2019 Arkansas Annual Conference retirees, as well as the years they served in ministry, are listed below.

Charles Armour – 44 years
Velda Bell – 22.5 years
W. Clint Black – 20 years
Michael Blanchard – 8 years
Pamela S. Cicioni – 21.5 years
J. Wayne Clark – 32.75 years
C. Greg Comer – 14.75 years
W. Joe Head – 23 years
Brenton Higdem – 7 years
T. Tony Hill – 23 years
Mary S. Hilliard – 34.75 years
Donnie Hudson – 28 years
Travis Jackson – 39.5 years
Larry Kelso – 34 years
Travis Langley – 9.5 years
Donald H. Lewert – 30 years
Richard S. Mitchell – 26 years
James Scott Moore – 16.25 years
L. Glenn Pettus – 43 years
Richard Rogers – 18 years
D. Chris Rink – 15.5 years
Rodney Steele – 42 years
Martha S. Taylor – 8 years
Carla Ray Thompson – 11 years
Gregory Webb – 44 years
Richard G. Wilkins – 13.25

Local Pastor Licensing School candidates who received their completion certificate. | Photo by Stephen Gideon

Those who have completed Local Pastor Licensing School were also honored and presented with certificates.

Local pastors receiving their certificates included: Devon Arredondo, Deborah Bell, Patrick Brown, Polly Burton, Laura Butkovic, Phil Costner, Cullianne Foster, Ron Hayes, Diane Hughes, Leon Jones Sr., Hyeong Kwon Jung, Annie Lankfort, Marilyn Lecy, Mike Meeks, Kelsey Mendez, Hardy Peacock, and Nick Schimmer.

Celebration of Life

The Rev. Rodney Steele, who had just been honored in the previous Retirement Service, delivered the sermon for the Celebration of Life Service. The title of Steele’s sermon was “In God’s Heart Is Our Peace,” and he focused his message on the precious gift of life, and how we can all find solace for the ones who have left us by remembering that God’s love is sufficient.

The saints who have died this past year are listed below.

Tom E. Anderson
William “Bill” Bainbridge
M. Mauzel Beal
Edward Blythe
W. Darrel Bone
Marie Katherine Byram
Novella Carter
E. Mazie Chesser
William “Bill” Cheyne
Robert Cloninger Sr.
Eleanor Gramling Forbes
Clarence O. “Dooley” Fowler
William K. Goddard
Paige Shields Gustin
Euba Mae Harris-Winton
Helen Covel Henderson
Wayne Jarvis
Susan A. Kemp
Tom Letchworth
Albert W. Martin
J.R. McElhannon
James Meadors
Calvin Mitchell
Mary Ellen Murray
Martha Ann Oliver
Virginia L. Randle
Ralph G. Riley
Danny Rogers
Judith Stroud
Billie Jean Tate
Vida L. Thompson
Gene Edwin White
Walter Mike Wilkie

Annual Conference will continue at 8 a.m. Friday, May 31 with morning worship and a business session.

First business session elects two clergy, two laity to General Conference 2020

First business session elects two clergy, two laity to General Conference 2020

After six rounds of voting – three each for the clergy and laity ballots – the voting members of the Arkansas Annual Conference chose to send two clergy and two laity delegates to General Conference 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After voting to adopt the session rules and calling the business of the 17th session of the Arkansas Conference to order, members tried out their new electronic voting devices for the first time.

Voting members were asked to vote for four choices during each voting round, and a simple majority of votes (50% or greater) were needed to be elected as a delegate.

Before voting began, Shelby Kirk and Phoebe Sanders were asked by Bishop Mueller to come to the microphone and deliver a statement put together by a group of young people within the Arkansas Annual Conference. The statement addressed the need for more youth and young adult delegates to be elected to General Conference, and the lack of representation for young adults as delegates to General Conference, particularly in 2016 and 2019.

You can read the statement here.

Shelby Kirk, left, and Phoebe Sanders, right, read a statement put together by a group of young people within the Arkansas Conference. | Photo by Stephen Gideon

In 2019, only 7% of delegates were young people — people under 35 years old — according to the Young People’s Statement read at General Conference 2019.

The Rev. Mark Norman, Southeast District Superintendent, and the Rev. Michael Roberts, senior pastor of First UMC Conway, were the first clergy delegates elected to General Conference in the second round of clergy ballot voting. During the first round of voting, no one received a majority of votes. In the second round, Norman received 57.14% and Roberts received 50.87%.

For the laity ballot, three rounds of voting were needed before the first delegates received enough votes to be elected. Karon Mann (56.04%) and Todd Burris (50.90%) were the first two lay delegates elected to General Conference.

“I am honored to be elected as a General Conference delegate,” Burris said. “I love the United Methodist Church and pray that the love we share in Christ Jesus will unite us in a very divisive world.”

Norman, Burris and Mann were all previously elected as delegates to the 2016 General Conference as well as the called special session of General Conference in February 2019.

“It is an honor to be elected as a delegate to General Conference 2020 and to serve as the head of the delegation. I thank you for your confidence in me and promise to work diligently for the future of our United Methodist Church,” Mann said. “Arkansas delegations have a long history of camaraderie and Christian conferencing and this delegation will be no different. I thank the laity of the Arkansas Conference for this privilege!”

The voting members of Annual Conference will continue to vote on delegates until four clergy, four lay and two alternates are elected for both General Conference and South Central Jurisdictional Conference, for a total of 20 delegates.

Clergy and laity profiles can be read here.

The next business session will begin at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 30 and voting members will continue to vote on General and South Central Jurisdictional Conference delegates until all spots are filled.

2019 Episcopal Address: ‘It’s Time to Double Down Boldly on Our Mission’Bishop Mueller encourages Arkansas Methodists to continue mission work in state

2019 Episcopal Address: ‘It’s Time to Double Down Boldly on Our Mission’
Bishop Mueller encourages Arkansas Methodists to continue mission work in state

In his 2019 Episcopal Address to the Arkansas Annual Conference, Bishop Gary Mueller addressed the deep divides in the United Methodist Church and the hurt caused by the 2019 General Conference but reiterated the importance of “doubling down” on the crucial mission work being done by churches and ministries across the Conference.

Throughout his address, Bishop Mueller noted that this is the hardest Episcopal Address he has ever had to prepare.

“It is the hardest because our beloved church is as polarized as our nation … LGBTQIA+ persons and allies are hurting because you believe the church has pushed you out. Supporters of the church’s disciplinary stance concerning human sexuality are hurting because you feel you have been labeled bigots,” Mueller said.

“It’s the hardest because I have to stand up here in front of those of you whom I deeply love and confess I can’t take away your pain, change how people treat each other or fix The United Methodist Church – as hard as I have tried.”

In February, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church gathered in St. Louis to discuss matters related to human sexuality.

By a vote 438 to 384, the delegates voted to pass The Traditional Plan, which maintains the Book of Discipline’s current language regarding human sexuality, preventing the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” as clergy and the performance of same-sex marriages by UMC clergy in United Methodist Church buildings.

Despite the difficulty of this year’s address, Mueller contrasted his initial thoughts by saying it is also the easiest address he’s given.

Mueller stated that he has personally experienced the truth of this year’s theme, “The Best of All, God is with Us.”

“It’s not just a catchy slogan, but a transforming reality more powerful than all the things that threaten to tear us apart.”

It is also the easiest address because of a shift in focus from the problems and uncertainty in Arkansas, to a renewed focus – “doubling down” – on mission work, according to Mueller.

Mueller gave three examples of how Arkansas United Methodists can double down on mission work: Double Down on Faith, Double Down on Being Fruitful and Double Down on Compassion.

In each example of doubling down, Bishop Mueller cited a different parable from Matthew 25, some of Jesus’s final teachings before the crucifixion.

Matthew 25:7-13 is the parable of the bridesmaids and their lamps.

“Jesus’s message to us through these words is clear. We’re not just disciples when it’s convenient. We’re disciples all the time,” Mueller said. “Arkansas, it’s time to double down on getting serious about our relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord, double down on responding to his call to get involved in his ministry and double down about the importance of what’s at stake for Jesus, for others and for us.”

The worship band leads the Conference in a hymn during the opening worship service.

For an example of doubling down on being fruitful, Mueller cited the parable of the talents, in which a master gives three servants different amounts of gold. Two of the servants took what they were given and multiplied their earnings, but one servant chose instead to bury his gold.

The servants who invested their money were rewarded, but the one who hid away his money was rebuked.

“Jesus is telling us we are to use the gifts, resources and people we have been given to get results that actually bring about God’s transformation of lives, communities and the world,” Mueller said.

A few of the examples of Arkansans doubling down in the past and the future include creating places like Methodist-LeBonheur Hospital, Camp Aldersgate and Philander Smith College, as well as current ministries supported by United Methodist Churches, including Lucie’s Place, Breaking Bonds Ministries, and ECHO Village.

Bishop Mueller also brought up the current struggle many Arkansans are facing due to the Arkansas River flooding in cities along the river, such as Fort Smith, Dardanelle, Little Rock and Pine Bluff.

“This is something that we can all come together and help with right now. Many families are hurting right now, and they need your help.”

To donate, visit http://bit.ly/2EDBzn1 and select the Arkansas Disaster Relief Fund.

When mentioning his final point on doubling down, Bishop Mueller used the parable of the sheep and the goats. In this parable, Jesus casts away those who did not protect the least of these by feeding, clothing, and taking care of the sick and needy.

Mueller reminded those at Ozark Bank Arena that one of the major missions of the Arkansas Annual Conference is 200,000 Reasons, a ministry seeking to end childhood hunger in Arkansas. Since starting this ministry almost five years ago, that number has gone down from 200,000 hungry children to about 165,000 children.

“We can get it to 150,000 and then 100,000 and eventually zero. And we will. This is a way we can join together – regardless of whether we are liberal, conservative, in-between or confused – to double down on our acts of compassion,” Mueller said.

Bishop Mueller reminded the gathered crowd that he is aware there are still divisions within our Methodist congregations but also gave a hopeful reminder that there is still much work to be done within and outside of the Arkansas Conference.

“You are a member of The United Methodist Church painfully divided by matters of human sexuality that are beyond your ability to settle, regardless of your stance. But you also are a member of a local congregation that is still called to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world.

“So let’s get started right now. Let’s choose to start by joining hands with Christ, who joins our hands with each other. Let’s choose to start by doubling down boldly on our mission. Let us start, my sisters and brothers.”

Scout’s HonorAll-girl Scout troop makes history in Arkansas

Scout’s Honor
All-girl Scout troop makes history in Arkansas

Tim McEuen never thought he would be leading a Scout BSA troop, let alone the first all-girl Scout troop in the state of Arkansas.
McEuen’s youngest daughter, Emily, became interested in joining the Cub Scouts after seeing the group visit her school multiple times throughout the year.

Tim and Emily decided to visit one of the Cub Scouts sign-up nights, and it’s there where they were introduced to the exciting world of Scouting.
“The first night we went, she tied a square knot. I’ve never even tied a square knot before, and I tied one too. But when we both finished our knots at the same time, we looked at each other and said ‘we love this!’ It was so much fun.”

After that first meeting with the Cub Scouts, Emily and Tim were hooked. Emily wanted to know how she could join the Scouts, and Tim was wondering as most dads do, who would be watching over his daughter and making sure she was taken care of in the group.

He was also wondering how all of this would work for Emily’s future in the Scouts, considering the Boy Scouts were just that; a boys-only group that taught survival and camping skills to young men.

It just so happened that Tim and Emily were looking to join at one of the most pivotal times in the more than 100-year-old organization’s history.
Big Changes for the Boy Scouts

In 2017, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors voted unanimously to welcome girls into both the Cub Scouts program and the older-aged Scouting program.

At the time that Emily sought to join, 2018, the Cub Scouts were the only group that allowed girls into the organization. Scouts BSA, which is now the official name, opened the Cub Scouts to girls in 2018 and then opened up the Scouts BSA to boys and girls – 11 to 17 years old – in February 2019.

Scoutmaster Tim McEuen and the initial members of Troop 19. || Photo provided by Tim McEuen

The Scouts received pushback for this decision, but according to Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, the decision was undoubtedly the right one to make.

“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Surbaugh, in a press release regarding the 2017 decision. “We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children.”

The Scouts BSA made it clear that much of the way the group operates will not change with the inclusion of girls. Activities, uniforms, rank advancement requirements, and Youth Protection policies would remain the same. For the first time in history, however, 11 to 17-year-old boys and girl scouts would have the opportunity to earn the Scouts highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award.

Joining the Scouts BSA

For Tim, his interest in getting his two daughters involved in Scouts BSA came from two friends that were in charge of Troop 17, Monica and Alan Saffle. Alan is the scoutmaster for Troop 17, an all-boys troop chartered by the Quapaw Area Council of the Boy Scouts. His wife, Monica, is the committee chairman for Troop 17.

“I’ve known Monica for 30 years; I went to school with her. So, I asked her one night at a Cub Scouts’ meeting, ‘Who’s going to be running this new all-girls troop?’ She said that they didn’t have anyone just yet.”

The next week, at their regular Tuesday night meeting, Tim and Alan met one-on-one and discussed the possibility of Tim becoming the Scoutmaster for Troop 19, the new all-girls troop set to begin in 2019.

“I said I’m flattered, but I don’t have any Scout experience. He told me neither did he until he became a Scoutmaster,” Tim said. “So, after a few weeks of talking to my family and praying about it to make sure I was the right person to lead these young ladies, I decided to do it.”

Now the Scoutmaster for Troop 19, Tim leads and teaches a group of girls ranging from 10 to 17 years old, including his two daughters, Emily, 11, and Mackenzie, 13.

Scout’s Oath

The Scouts of Troop 19 cook food during a fundraising event. || Photo provided by Tim McEuen

The official charting of the troop happened at a February ceremony in the First United Methodist Church of Bryant.

The Rev. Susan Ledbetter, the senior pastor at First UMC Bryant, said she’s excited that this new experience for girls has taken off at her church and in Central Arkansas.

“It’s been great to be able to extend the scouts to include an all-girls troop because it gives more opportunities for young people.”

Ledbetter said she has also incorporated some of the Scout’s Oath into preaching series at her church because the Scouts teach essential values to kids.

“[The Scouts] is still such an important citizenship and leadership building organization. The Scouts that are in our church are some of the kids that I can count on the most. They’re the most respectful, helpful and responsible kids.”

Tim said that seeing the growth that the girls in his troop have made since officially starting on Feb. 1 has been amazing to see. After starting with eight girls, the troop has grown to 17 members in less than three months.

“All I can say is wow, it’s been an awesome experience!

“These girls learn unity – because we’re a sisterhood – confidence, and preparedness of any situation. These girls can learn everything that the boys have been learning for the past 100 years in the Boy Scouts.”

Hope for the Future

Although the troop has faced some backlash locally from people who don’t agree with the Scouts BSA’s decision to allow girls into the organization, Tim said that he and the young ladies of Troop 19 don’t let that kind of negativity affect them.

Troop 19 participate in many different outings and community events. These events build confidence, leadership skills, and camaraderie. || Photo provided by Tim McEuen

“When we hear those kinds of things from people, my girls just say ‘well, thank you, ma’am, or thank you, sir. Have a good day.’ We know what we’re doing is right.”

Tim has also made it a point to make sure the girls in Troop 19 know about influential female leaders throughout history as a way to empower the girls and introduce them to powerful role models. Most of the women Tim shows the girls come from eras where women’s rights were still a struggle and men were viewed as superior leaders.

“These were women who weren’t accepted as anything other than a woman, but they still were great leaders, and they still made their mark in history. And that’s what I tell my girls we’re doing here; we’re making history. You’ll face ridicule, and you’ll face belittling, but the number one thing to remember is that you do belong here.”

Ledbetter also stressed the importance of strong female representation in leadership. She hopes that the girls of Troop 19 see their worth in everything they do.

“I hope the girls in this troop will be able to realize their potential and their ability for leadership. That they can do anything that is set before them. And that they know that this church is a place that welcomes them to explore and grow in the direction that they would like to,” Ledbetter said.

Q&A w/ Clay McCastlain
New Arkansas United Methodist Men President

Tell me about yourself: Where you’re from, where you live now, where you went to school, and your current job.

I grew up in Clarendon, Arkansas. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Hendrix College and then moved to Memphis, Tennessee. I earned a Master of Science degree in cell biology from the University of Memphis. I spent many years working in research labs. I moved to Central Arkansas in 1998. In 2003, I applied for a biology faculty position on the Heber Springs campus of Arkansas State University—Beebe. I got that job and have been there ever since.

How did you get the position as the president of the Arkansas United Methodist Men?

Several years ago, I read the purpose statement for United Methodist Men, “To declare the centrality of Christ in every man’s life. This is expressed as all men engage in daily Bible study, witness to Christ in daily work and relationships, and intentional Christian service to others. We want men to know Christ so others may know Christ.” I didn’t recall ever hearing that. It made me realize there was more to United Methodist Men than a monthly breakfast. I contacted someone in the District office and asked how I could help my local unit pursue that purpose. A few years later, I received an email about how to revive the United Methodist Men in Arkansas. The email had me listed as Central District president. I responded that I had never been elected to that position, but I wanted to help. I struggled with that for about three years. In December of last year, I was contacted by Jim Polk and he asked if I could serve as Arkansas Conference president of the United Methodist Men. I thought about it for a few days and decided to accept the challenge.

Why is it important for churches to have UMM groups?

Our Book of Discipline states men’s ministry leads to the spiritual growth of men and effective discipleship. One of the other purposes is to forge pastoral partnerships by men committed to the effective support and service of clergy and local congregations.

What will people be able to learn if they come to the UMM luncheon at Annual Conference this year?

At the United Methodist Men’s luncheon, our guest speaker will be Steve Nailor and he will share about the actual structure of the United Methodist Men, not what people think it is or does. The UMM mission is to “Help men grow in Christ so that others may know Christ.” This is pretty much what the Discipline says. The Discipline states in paragraph 2303, “UMM exists to declare the centrality of Christ in every man’s life. Men’s ministry leads to the spiritual growth of men and effective discipleship. This purpose is served as men are called to model the servant leadership of Jesus Christ.”
Our speaker will also talk about the importance of having men in the church. David Murrow wrote, “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” He talks about men bringing their families to church. Murrow used the oft-quoted statistic in Men’s Ministry circles: When a mother comes to faith in Christ, the rest of her family follows 17% of the time. But when a father comes to faith in Christ, the rest of the family follows 93% of the time.

What are your plans for UMM in the future?

The immediate plan is to build a leadership team consisting of a president from each district in the state. I am asking men who are willing to serve in this ministry position to respond to the call for leaders. Each district president needs a leadership team. With these teams in place, we can reach out to all the local congregations and help them build their men’s ministries. I would like to see the men of Arkansas growing in their relationships with Christ, their families, and their communities. Out of those relationships come understandings and service to each other.

Who is someone that inspires you in your life and why?

Former president Jimmy Carter. His post-presidency has been a wonderful model of Christian service. His Carter Center works for peace and world health.