Continuing Education

The Great Plains Conference is committed to having clergy who are life-long learners. We believe that the life of a clergyperson is a spiritual journey of renewal and excellence in Jesus Christ. The responsibility of a clergyperson is to continue in study beyond the educational requirements for his/her clergy status (¶323.1a, b; 334.2d) and to demonstrate growth in professional competence and effectiveness.

This life-long learning is twofold: spiritual formation and professional development.

  • Spiritual formation is the intentional pursuit of the nourishment and renewal of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual disciplines.
  • Professional development is the intentional growth of professional identity and the skills utilized in ministry that will enhance the effectiveness and excellence of the clergyperson. 

Conference-sponsored continuing education events will be posted here as they arise. If you have questions about continuing education, contact the Rev. Nancy Lambert, director of Clergy Excellence, at or 402-464-5994, ext 126.

Read more about the Great Plains continuing education policy.

Continuing Education Report (fillable PDF)

View continuing education opportunities.

The Rev. Tom Berlin workshop to be Feb. 21 and 22

The Prairie Rivers District will host a two-part workshop featuring the Rev. Tom Berlin, at First UMC in York, Nebraska. The workshop will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 22.

In this two-part workshop, participants will spend day one considering principles and practices from the, "Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results," by Tom Berlin and Lovett Weems. Participants will begin with a discussion of the power of vision and ways to move from goal setting to implementation of ministry. This workshop will include time throughout the day for pastors and church teams to engage in conversation with each other about their church. This is a participatory event designed to enable you to return from the experience with initial tasks completed and a conversation about the future of your church well underway.

Day two will focus on Tom Berlin’s book, "The Generous Church." Once church leaders agree on a vision and understand what they hope to accomplish, they have the ability to motivate church members to be generous with their time, talent and money. You will hear practical strategies to engage and challenge your church members, raise congregational morale and help people enter the ministry that will grow their discipleship. By combining these two resources, you will move from vision to reality in ways that will bring your church a sense of renewal and vitality.

The Rev. Tom Berlin currently serves as the lead pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, Virginia. An exciting part of Floris’ ministry and international outreach has been the establishment of the Child Rescue Centre for children affected by child labor and trafficking and Mercy Hospital in partnership with the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of the UMC. Tom also serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Governor’s for Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He led the Virginia clergy delegation to the United Methodist General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Tom has co-authored three books with Lovett Weems, "Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results," "Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit" and "High Yield: Seven Disciplines of the Fruitful Leader," all published by Abingdon Press. He is also the author of several small group studies: "6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life," "6 Things We Should Know About God," and "6 Ways We Encounter God." Tom’s latest books and related resource materials, "Defying Gravity: Break Free From the Culture of More" and "The Generous Church," were released in Spring 2016 by Abingdon Press. Look for Restored to be released by Abingdon in 2017.