Where we are with NAUMS
The United Methodist Reporter has picked up on NAUMS's defenestration by GCUMM, et al. We are being spoken of in the past tense. This is not good, but at least they're reporting that the rupture is over organizational and business practices, not turf wars or wrong-doing.
NAUMS needs to get its ducks in a row, and soon. Best would be to find some modus vivendi
with GCUMM. If that is not to be, and NAUMS is going to try to succeed as an unaffiliated group, well, then NAUMS had better get about the task of building itself a wide base of support that organizes people in local chapters that actually do ministry.
Either way, this is the need of our movement. It was so when I was President of NAUMS a few years ago. It was the need to be addressed back when I was Conference Coordinator of CYSA/Scouting Ministries and not involved at the national level of NAUMS. I have said two things for over twenty years:
If NAUMS didn't exist, we'd have to invent it; and
NAUMS needs to be a mass organization (because there isn't one for the UM Scouting ministry community, and it's needed).
My preference would be in relation to GCUMM, but if necessary apart from GCUMM, we need to develop something 1) where ordinary UM folk who care about Scouting ministry can get together and do grassroots ministry, 2) where they are communicated with regularly about what's happening throughout the UM Scouting ministry community, and 3) where they can learn about best practices in our field.
We do this in Indiana, where the Pathfinder Chapter keeps the fire burning and helps bring folks together, official and unofficial. The Air Capital Chapter based in Wichita, KS, does tremendous ministry out there. And there are a few other places, where NAUMS shows its worth. I have been saying for many years that the primary mode of belonging to NAUMS should be through a local or Conference chapter.
Meanwhile, the Office of CYSA/Scouting at GCUMM and the Scouting Ministry Specialists thereof can't do much about 1, above, they could do 2 but don't, and don't do as much of 3 as their own goals call for.
The Conference and District Coordinators and Committees -- where they actually function in our Church -- do a lot of what's needed. The only problem is, we need an org that is bigger than a committee. We have lots of supporters who want to belong and to help, but you can only have so many people serve on a committee (assuming they're willing to). We have to have more ways for people to plug in. Also, in places where the official leadership doesn't function -- which is a lot
of places -- there needs to be somebody with some credibility who can gather local folks together and do some ministry.
Boy Scout Councils occasionally have Relationship committees, but these are rarely denomination-specific, and they don't address support for Girl Scouts, 4-H, Campfire, etc. They gather people whose primary identity together is that Council, not the UM churches of a given District or Conference.
Which means, only NAUMS -- or an org that does what NAUMS should have been doing, lo! these many years -- can do what needs to be done. So, if you're the praying type, please pray for NAUMS and UM Scouting ministry generally.