The 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference will take place May 29 - June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas.
The theme for Annual Conference 2019 will be, "Therefore Go: Serve Others"
The following are dates and times for special events happening during Annual Conference:
The pastor of an Indianapolis church which moved its focus to serving alongside the people of its troubled neighborhood will be the plenary speaker for the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference.
The Rev. Michael Mather, pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, will speak on Friday, May 31. The conference is from May 29 to June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.
A Brooklyn native, Mather has been pastor at Broadway for more than 15 years. He arrived in Indianapolis thinking he was going to serve the poor, but after nine young men were killed near the church in the first few months he was there, he changed the focus of his mission and his church.
His first most recent book, “Having Nothing, Possessing Everything: Finding Abundant Communities in Unexpected Places,” was released in October.
Mather served at Broadway UMC in Indianapolis first as an associate where he worked with a neighborhood program for youth. After doing nine funerals for young men under age 21 in nine months, he was left wondering if what they were doing was helping make life better for people around the church. During his tenure at Broadway UMC in South Bend, Indiana, Mather's concept of serving others began to transform when a woman in the congregation asked why the church only looks at the poverty of persons they help, and never the richness of their gifts. The church began to build on the gifts of the people they encountered with a focus on what people could give back or teach rather than only on what they needed.
Rev. Mather returned to Broadway UMC in Indianapolis with new insight into the neighborhood. Now ministry has evolved to be one where people are known for the gifts they have, not for the problems that have been in their lives. This has resulted in a new way to look at the world, noticing the abundance, not just the limitations, which means that people are able to become self-sufficient, productive, and an asset to the community.