At The Threshold

"At the Threshold" is a podcast for ministry leaders during this new, unsettled season in the life of the Church.

Join hosts the Revs. Ashlee Alley Crawford and Shelly Petz as they host conversation with and for clergy in order to describe what’s happening, ask questions to help us get “unstuck," and encourage the heart of pastors and leaders in this liminal time in which we find ourselves.

Liminal may be a new word. But a new season calls for a new word. Liminal means a threshold from what we’ve always know to … well, we don’t know just yet what life and ministry is becoming. The hosts' goal is to find a little light at the threshold.

Subscribe or follow for easier listening opportunities on:

Find past episodes of At the Threshold

Current Season: Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship

The theme for 2022 Annual Conference in the Great Plains was “Discipleship Reimagined.” We are invited to reimagine what discipleship looks likes “post-COVID” and amid uncertainty in many spheres of life. Clergy are charged with the responsibility to cast the vision for discipling others, but often we as clergy ourselves are feeling the struggle of nurturing our own discipleship as followers of Jesus. Join Shelly Petz and Ashlee Alley Crawford as they invite clergy of the Great Plains Conference to examine their own discipleship and lean more fully into the abundant life of Christ. All are invited to watch videos of conversations by local ministry leaders and clergy are invited to join in some Q&A sessions with each of the guests between September and November.

Do you want to have an opportunity to connect with other clergy and one of the guests who sat down to talk with us? Check out the Fall 2022 Zoom “Clergy Discipleship Meet-Ups.”

Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 1

  • Shelly and Ashlee talk first with Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith, Associate Professor of Religion and Dallas Willard Chair of Spiritual Formation at Friends University in Wichita, KS and Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff, senior pastor at Trinity UMC in Hutchinson, KS.
    • Check out our “Overtime” conversations here.
Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 2

The second episode in Discipleship: Real Talk brings Rev. Dr. Craig Finnestad, lead pastor at Water’s Edge UMC in Omaha, NE; Rev. Amy Lippoldt, senior pastor of St. Paul’s UMC in Papillion, NE; and Rev. Juan Carlos Veloso, pastor of Iglesia Comunitaria and Grace UMC, Omaha, NE

  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Craig Finnestad about navigating his own spiritual life in the midst of his “toughest season of ministry.” He also shares three tensions that he experiences and how he experiences God calling him forward into God’s presence. Watch the video here.
  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Amy Lippoldt about how she engages in both public and private discipleship. She also identifies how knowing how she is “wired” influences her discipleship. Watch the video here.
  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Juan Carlos Veloso about how God has called him to shift his life from “Christian Activism” to pouring out his life to others on behalf of Christ. He also shares how he articulates discipleship becomes more than just a class that church members take. Watch the video here.
Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 3

The third episode in Discipleship: Real Talk brings Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert, Forge CMC, Retired Elder; Rev. Maria Campbell, pastor of Heritage UMC in Overland Park, KS; and Rev. Rueben Langat, pastor of Clay Center UMC, Clay Center, KS. 

  • Prayer by James Martineau (1805-1900), referenced by Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert:
    • Eternal God, who commits to us the swift and solemn trust of life: since we know not what a day may bring forth, but only that the hour for serving You is always present, may we wake to Your instant claims, not waiting for tomorrow, but yielding today. Lay to rest the resistance of our passion, indolence, or fear. Consecrate the way our feet may go, and the humblest work will shine, and the roughest places be made plain. Lift us above unrighteous anger and mistrust into faith and hope and charity, through steady reliance on You. So may we be modest in our time of wealth, patient under disappointment, ready for danger, serene in death. In all things, draw us to Yourself that Your lost image may be traced again, and we may be at one with You.
  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Maria Campbell about how mentoring others nurtures her own discipleship and even disruptions are an invitation to pay attention to what God is doing. Watch the video here.
  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Bruce Emmert about how he is understanding his discipleship in his new season of retirement and what he would tell his younger self. Watch the video here.
  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Reuben Langat about how obedience has looked for him across different cultures and the power of small group accountability. Watch the video here.

Clergy Discipleship Meet-Ups

Do you want to have an opportunity to connect with other clergy and one of the guests who sat down to talk with us? Would you put one of these dates on your calendar for fall? Register for one of these conversations today, bring your cup of coffee, and let’s connect with each other and our special guest around what it means to grow in our own discipleship as ministry leaders. Check out the Fall 2022 Zoom “Clergy Discipleship Meet-Ups”:

  • Tuesday, September 20, 10-11 a.m., Rev. Maria Campbell, Heritage UMC, Overland Park, KS. Register here.
  • Thursday, September 22, 10-11 a.m., Dr. Craig Finnestad, Water’s Edge UMC, Omaha, NE. Register here.
  • Tuesday, October 11, 10-11 a.m., Dr. Bruce Emmert, Forge CMC, Retired Elder. Register here.
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2-3 p.m., Dr. Reuben Langat, Clay Center UMC, Clay Center, KS. Register here.
  • Thursday, October 20, 2-3 p.m., Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff, Trinity UMC, Hutchinson, KS. Register here.
  • Thursday, October 27, 10-11 a.m., Rev. Amy Lippoldt, St. Paul’s UMC, Papillion, NE. Register here.
  • Thursday, November 17, 10-11 a.m., Rev. Juan Carlos Veloso, Iglesia Comunitaria and Grace UMC, Omaha, NE. Register here.

For questions, reach out to Ashlee or Shelly.

About Ashlee and Shelly

Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford — Rev. Ashlee Alley-Crawford is the Clergy Recruitment and Development Coordinator for the Great Plains Conference of the UMC, calling Lincoln her (most recent) home. She works with people as they are discerning a call to ministry and helps them through the credentialing process in The United Methodist Church. She also directs a young clergy leadership program. Prior to her current position, she served for 12 years in campus ministry, the last nine at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.
Rev. Dr. Shelly Petz — The Rev. Shelly Petz is an elder in The United Methodist Church. She works with the Great Plains Conference on topics of clergy faith and wellness. She earned a bachelor's of science in psychology from Kansas State University and a master's of divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology. She earned a doctorate of ministry from Drew Theological Seminary, with an emphasis in worship, preaching, and spirituality. She has served rural, county seat, and suburban congregations in Kansas, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania.

Featured Episodes of At the Threshold

Check out each series page for episode descriptions, guest speakers, resources, audio links and video presentations.

  • 2020 Premiere Season
    • Hindsight 2020: a Conversation with Great Plains Leaders
    • Health, Habits and Hibernation
    • Bridging the Divide: Ministry in Divisive Times
    • Discerning Spiritual Direction in a Season of Uncertainty
    • Material Poverty in the Midst of a Pandemic
    • The Church as an Educational Partner
    • Children's Ministry in Liminal Time
    • Death in the Time of COVID-19
    • Spiritual Leadership During This Challenging Season
    •  Practical Questions for New Ways of Ministry
    • Mental Health Check-in
    • Creativity, Comparing and Coping
  • Theology 101 (2020)
    • Part 1: Theological Foundations in an Unsettled Season
    • Part 2: Psalms and Lament
    • Part 3: Theological Foundations in an Unsettled Season
  • Pastoral Transitions (2021)
    • Ending Well
    • Starting Well
    • Going with God in Change
  • Proclaiming Great Joy (2021)
    • Testimony of Great Joy, Part 1
    • Testimony of Great Joy, Part 2
    • Testimony of Great Joy, Part 3
    • Testimony of Great Joy, Part 4
    • Testimony of Great Joy, Part 5