Blog Posts

More deadly than COVID-19

Lay Servant Ministries


I was lying awake in bed early this morning and found myself praying. Praying for my family and friends, praying for “my enemies.” I don’t really think I have enemies. This is a phrase Jesus used, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. I think of it as praying for those who don’t like me or who are on opposite sides of issues from me and so on…and then I prayed about this virus and asked for a safe and effective vaccine.   But then it dawned on me…like a light ...

Are you prepared?

Lay Servant Ministries


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Basic Lay Servant Ministry class. It has been a number of years since I took my Basic class, and back then it was basically a preaching class. It was energizing to see the enthusiasm of the participants in the class. Each had their own reasons for being there that day, but by the end of the day, were all united in one purpose–to find our individual gifts and discover ways to use them in our ministry settings. We all go into Lay Servant ...

Clergy Testimonies about Spiritual Direction–Rev. Andy Frazier


Rev. Andy Frazier, pastor at Bonner Springs UMC in Bonner Springs, KS., writes the first in a series of blog posts of clergy testimonies about Spiritual Direction. The Office of Clergy Excellence is sharing some resources—including grants—about Spiritual Direction and Soul Care. I started spiritual direction about 6 months after I became a pastor, which is about 8 years ago now. In the grand scheme of things, 8 years is not all that long...but, oh has it been an eventful 8 years! Three ...

Clergy Testimonies about Spiritual Direction—Rev. Stefanie Hayes


Rev. Stefanie Hayes, pastor at Grace UMC in Hastings, NE, writes the second in a series of blog posts of clergy testimonies about Spiritual Direction. The Office of Clergy Excellence is sharing some resources—including grants—about Spiritual Direction and Soul Care.   Spiritual Direction, how to describe it? I have sat in front of my iPad for literally over an hour typing, deleting, typing, and deleting to find the “right” words and the “right” way to express things. But here’s the thing: there...

Washboard Living

Lay Servant Ministries


Although I am getting older, I do not have recollections of my mother washing our clothes on a washboard. My childhood was more of the wringer washer era. Which includes a memory of my older brother getting his hand caught in the wringer, resulting in a broken thumb and skin graft. We can learn a lot from our older siblings, both what to do and what to avoid, if we just pay attention. But I digress. My washboard realities relate to gravel country roads that have experienced heavy rains and ...


Lay Servant Ministries


2020 Wheat Harvest, Trenton, NE, by DeLynn Hay As the pandemic persists, more and more find themselves longing for a sense of order to help keep them grounded, something that brings a steady rhythm to life, something we can count on happening.   Over the last few weeks, the annual wheat harvest has been completed in Kansas and Nebraska. For those close to the land, there’s something comforting about harvest. Harvest brings a sense of order to our lives – a sense of hope even in a time when it’...

In Layman's Terms: Helping pastors with their email

Todd Seifert


Today (Wednesday, July 1, 2020) marked the start of a new appointive year in the Great Plains Conference and across The United Methodist Church. In Kansas and Nebraska, we have more than 100 pastors learning new names, trying to grasp local culture and history, figuring out which light switches turn on various lights and searching for where the bathrooms in the church are located. It’s also that time of year for those who are changing appointments to make sure they still have access to their ...

God is in charge

Lay Servant Ministries


How many times have you heard that phrase recently, “God is in charge?” It does give us a feeling of comfort to remind ourselves of the presence of the Holy One in our lives. In this very volatile time in the world, we especially need reassurance that God is with us. By declaring God our Great Defender, however, are we relieving ourselves of responsibility as disciples to help fill the world with God’s love? Yes, I do believe God is in charge, but we must not forget that we are His hands and ...

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Pondering the faith, wellness connection

Rev. Shelly Petz


 I have been thinking about faith and wellness a lot lately.   I've wondered:  how my faith affects my wellness,  how my faith affects the wellness of others, how my wellness affects my faith,  how my wellness affects the faith of others, how my faith affects my faith,  how my faith affects the faith of others,  how my wellness affects my wellness,  and how my wellness affects the wellness of others.   It is this last one that has really invited me to pause and think deeply. My own wellness ...

Believe there is good in the world

Lay Servant Ministries


We need to believe there is good in the world. In times like this, with sickness, people out of work, and social unrest, we need to believe there is good in the world. We need to know God is still in charge.  But equally important we need to: Believe There is Good in the world. The world needs us to Be the Good in the World. We need to be out there nurturing, loving, encouraging, and teaching, and doing good wherever we can, as long as we can, for whomever we can. We need to get and keep ...

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