Bill Chissoe of Norman is the new Conference president of United Methodist Men (UMMen). He began his term in January.
"I see men’s ministry in our United Methodist churches as very vital and important," said Chissoe. "I’ve grown to appreciate what can happen when men get together and have goals. A larger group can accomplish a lot."
In the 1990s, Chissoe was key in restarting UMMen at McFarlin UMC. At the time, he was the Norman church’s Lay Leader. He also has been the Conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries. The Chissoes began attending McFarlin UMC in 1966.
He wanted men of the church to form a service group with emphasis on helping the elderly. And he knew the UM Book of Discipline requires each church to have a chapter of UMMen. (The same is required for United Methodist Women.)
McFarlin UMMen relaunched with a half-dozen men and the pastor’s encouragement. They contacted the county agency on aging. Across the years, they have delivered food, mowed lawns, built wheelchair ramps, and repaired problem windows and doors.
They connected with other UMMen, including those at Sunny Lane UMC in Del City, through a "potato drop," a feeding project coordinated with the Society of St. Andrew. The men embraced the Society’s work to combat hunger—Chissoe even found additional food sources at the local farmers market.
"That’s the way men relate. You don’t set around the table," Chissoe commented. "While you’re fishing, hammering nails, playing a round of golf, you’re talking about stuff."
A leadership team now steers McFarlin UMMen.
Chissoe wants to see that strong group mirrored in units across Oklahoma. "My goal is to bring men together so they understand they are part of a larger body, and let God do His thing," he said.
"When men come together, iron sharpens iron in Christian fellowship and community. Not only can they minister to others, but also they minister to each other. It impacts the men’s lives even more—they grow in their discipleship."
First steps for Chissoe in the new post included connecting with five districts’ UMMen presidents (seven districts have no such leader) and attending a national meeting of annual conference UMMen presidents.
"I have a very strong support group," Chissoe said. David Battles, Oklahoma City, is Conference UMMen’s treasurer, and Warren Neff, Bartlesville, is vice president. Carl Young, Oklahoma City, is a president of the national United Methodist Men’s Foundation, and Battles is a member. Joseph Harris, Oklahoma City, former General Secretary of the denomination’s Commission on UMMen, serves as staff consultant.
In July at Wichita, Kan., a jurisdiction-wide UMMen’s event is scheduled. Chissoe hopes an Oklahoma Conference contingent will attend.
Contact the new president at: 405-329-0271, 405-550-4744, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I’d love to hear from people," he said. "Each of us are called and given gifts to contribute to the Body of Christ. I am about that connection."