United Methodist Men's Report and Vision
The MMS launch in Cal-Pac was planned to run simultaneously with the UMM / Man in the Mirror curriculum using a one-year process for men called Building Brothers [BB]. Our plan was to run both on parallel tracks, with the UMM / MIM group using Disciple or a similar program as the basis for spiritual and team building foundation.
The Building Brothers process is the very best place to start all men on the journey toward men’s ministry specialists. The content is simple, effective, fully developed, and working in UMC and other churches now. We will use it as the core spiritual growth and team building process for the UMC Men’s Ministry Specialist program. Before I go into details on the Building Brothers process, I will review the “big picture” presented in the January 2006 training.
The power and authenticity of men’s ministry specialists is based upon the evidence of God’s transforming power at work in the lives of the men called to this work. If we are busy and about this work with God and it escapes the notice of our families, relatives, co-workers and congregations – we have failed. A man in pursuit of God, who is getting closer to God, is being changed and re-shaped by God. Others KNOW that something good is happening!
There are two central precepts in the Building Brothers process that make it an ideal core process for men’s ministry specialists. The final phase of the one-year curriculum culminates in The Pursuit of God. Everything sets the stage to produce a man who sets his gaze on Christ, and run the race toward God as vividly portrayed in Hebrews 12. The goal of the process is a man in pursuit of God, in a team of men doing likewise, in partnership with clergy who join and support that pursuit as well. This is a winning outcome!
The Building Brothers process is powerfully conveyed in a recently released book titled “Spiritual Fathers” by Building Brothers founder Dan Schaffer. The meaning given to spiritual fatherhood is breathtaking in scope, and worthy of a lifetime of commitment to attain. Spiritual fatherhood is the third stage of spiritual maturity;
- Stage One: Spiritual Child. This person has received Christ’s gift of salvation, and has begun the journey of faith.
- Stage Two: Spiritual Young Adult. This person is growing in the faith, learning as a disciple, practicing obedience and beginning to produce spiritual offspring.
- Stage Three: Spiritual Maturity. Spiritual fathers and mothers know God intimately, have grown to serve God and man out of love, and have spiritual children who are producing spiritual offspring. They have spiritually mature children, and spiritual grandchildren.
In my opinion, the great majority of churchgoers [80%+] are in stage one, even though many have been in church all their lives. A few [<15%] are in stage two, and a tiny few [<5%] are in stage three.
Please take some time to reflect upon the awesome consequences of stage three; spiritual fatherhood. In spiritual reproduction, the very core purpose of our faith cannot be lost. If we in fact are mentoring others in the faith to spiritual maturity, then the spiritual lifecycle is completed and God’s will is being done. It is all wrapped together in the fulfillment of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
We are truly loving God, loving others, loving self, and mentoring believers into maturity as they reproduce themselves. I can think of no “higher calling” for men than the concept of spiritual fatherhood. I desire it for myself, and for all men. I propose to each of you that we become a band of brothers called to spiritual fatherhood: WesleyMen!
WesleyMen are men of the UMC who have elected to enter a lifetime quest toward spiritual fatherhood. The bar has been placed on the highest rung; a spiritual father is by definition spiritually mature himself, as he knows God and walks with God. The spiritual fruit of his life is ultimately manifest on the birth dates of his spiritual grand-children. In this reproductive model, the DNA of all offspring is God.
As you can well imagine, spiritual fatherhood is more than a goal; it is a lifetime in the pursuit of God, moving closer to God, and knowing God in person and in Truth.
This three stage process can build a committed core of men who will serve the church as spiritual fathers and leaders:
WesleyMen serve God and man by becoming spiritual fathers, who know God intimately and mentor others to spiritual maturity. The first phase of the WesleyMen commitment is a one-year process called Band of Brothers, using the curriculum developed as Building Brothers. This also hails back to the roots of Methodism in Band Societies. MMS Pioneers first using this material will help to customize it for later use branded as WesleyMen for use within UMM and the UMC.
In phase four of the curriculum, every WesleyMen apprentice will choose a path in which to live out his calling as a spiritual father;
- Path One: Band of Brothers. Commit as a WesleyMen team brother, and continue your pursuit of God on the path to spiritual fatherhood. Should circumstances cause the need to form a new team of men, your commitment requires just that. Your chosen field of influence and calling is centered in your family, workplace, church and community.
- Path Two: Local Church Leadership. On this path, you make a commitment to be on a WesleyMen Men’s Ministry Team in your local church. Your commitment is to continue your pursuit of God on the path to spiritual fatherhood as part of a team of men who deeply desire to help their congregation reach more men. Your team commits to build strong relationships, trust and support with clergy and congregational lay leaders. Your team will receive special training and useful resources to help your local church become more effective reaching men.
- Path Three: Men’s Ministry Specialist. On this path, you commit to continue your pursuit of God on the path to spiritual fatherhood as a UMC Men’s Ministry Specialist. You will continue your personal spiritual journey as a WesleyMen team member. You will serve the church as a men’s ministry specialist coaching men’s leaders and clergy from other congregations as they build their church and help it become more effective in reaching men. As certified UMCMMS become trained and available, they will be assigned to work in pairs at UMC district and conference levels. They will work in close partnership with UMM leaders and UMC clergy at appropriate levels, to identify and serve local churches that have a desire to reach more men.
There is no distinction of hierarchy or importance among these three paths. All WesleyMen are men who are answering the lofty calling toward spiritual fatherhood. The distinction is only in the realm that they choose to focus their influence.
- WesleyMen Brothers are committed to making a real and powerful impact for Christ in their immediate and present surroundings, with persons who are already in their lives, and those whom God brings to them.
- WesleyMen Local Church Leaders are committed to helping change and grow their congregations over the long haul, in partnership with clergy and lay leaders.
- WesleyMen Men’s Ministry Specialists are committed to help other congregations reach and grow men. They are gifted with coaching skills and equipped with specialized training, tools and resources to assist congregations with men.
At the very core of all WesleyMen is the awesome calling of spiritually potent and mature man who knows God intimately, and whose fruits are manifest in the birth of spiritual grandchildren.
This plan is different than when we began; but it is far superior. It creates a platform for men to join something big – even God-sized. A man who is a spiritual father is a Kingdom generating man. He is a man who knows God, and who is spiritually mature. He is the essence of the servant leader, because he carries the countenance and power of Christ. He is a man whose gentle nature belies the truth that he is a spiritual force to be reckoned with by our Enemy.
In Christ, Your WesleyMen Brother [to be],
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