Todd Seifert

Todd Seifert is director of communications for the Great Plains Conference. He writes this blog much like he wrote a column for 13 years as a newspaper editor: focused on what is going on in his life. He hopes to share some thought-provoking words as a member of the laity on the conference staff.

In Layman's Terms: Discussion with a moderator for the Commission on a Way Forward

October 27, 2017

I used to think there was no more thankless job in all of The United Methodist Church than that of district superintendent. Now, I think it must be serving as a member of the Commission on a Way Forward. God bless those 32 people, especially the three bishops serving as moderators, who agreed to ...


Ask questions as we explore “Wonder, Love and Praise”

July 31, 2017

IN LAYMAN'S TERMS I present to you today a series of questions. Let’s start off with this: What does it mean to “be the church”? Some people have what they think is an easy answer. Others find an answer to be elusive. We likely agree that we want the church to be relevant in the 21st century. But ...


In Layman's Terms: A fence-sitter's struggle

April 26, 2017

I don’t have a solution. Those are ominous words. When I was the editor of a daily newspaper, one of the rules in our shop was that we didn’t go to our publisher – the top supervisor – to talk about a problem without at least some idea for a solution. Yet, I find myself pondering one of our ...


In Layman's Terms: Passion Week has some baseball season parallels

April 04, 2017

Perhaps no time of year provides more of a sense of hope than the time around Easter. For starters, we as Christians are reminded of the importance of sharing with others the hope for eternity through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. And then, there’s the hope that starts with the ...


In Layman's Terms: Using projection to make Easter guests feel welcome (part 2)

March 13, 2017

Last week, I shared some thoughts about how I like to set up slides for projection for song lyrics in worship services. I like to set them up not just for aesthetics but also for cadence so guests who don’t know our traditional songs have the best opportunity possible to know where the pauses are ...


In Layman's Terms: Using projection to make Easter guests feel welcome (part 1)

March 08, 2017

With Easter coming up next month, it’s important to use this time of Lent to prepare for one of our biggest visitor days of the church’s year. Many churches will focus on greeters, making sure there is a handout of some kind with information about the church and invitations to special events ...


In Layman's Terms: Amid turmoil, a prayer for leadership, peace and love

January 31, 2017

Well, it’s certainly been an interesting couple of weeks since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, huh? Some people have celebrated the series of executive orders that have flowed from the Oval Office. Others have lamented the rules those orders have put in place. It is kind of ...


In Layman's Terms: Pastors put technology to work during ice storm

January 16, 2017

The ice storm that hit the two states of the Great Plains Conference probably couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time — OK, any time other than Christmas Eve, maybe — to disrupt the life of the church. The One Event youth rally in Salina, Kansas, may have been the most impacted, with more ...


In Layman's Terms: Key to handling a fast-changing world is trust in God

January 04, 2017

We just turned the calendar from 2016 to 2017. Some people look at new years with some trepidation. Others turn the page with a view of optimism. And, of course, many of us start the year with “resolutions.” Get healthy Get organized Live life to the fullest Learn new hobbies Spend less/save more ...


In Layman's Terms: Mary and Joseph taught lesson of obedience

December 27, 2016

Obedience: It’s not a word we say often. I think in part that’s because the meaning of it scares us – at least a little. It means we have to be submissive. We have to give up some of ourselves to be obedient. We don’t necessarily do what we want to do. In fact, sometimes obedience requires us to do...


In Layman's Terms: This Christmas, regift Jesus!

December 13, 2016

The lights are up. The tree has been decorated. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has already appeared on television. It must be time for Christmas! With Christmas comes the joy that accompanies presents. Somehow, the tree always looks better when there are packages underneath it. As I look at our...


In Layman's Terms: Nothing fake about the good news of Jesus

December 06, 2016

The sad reality of fake news hit a new low Dec. 4 when a 28-year-old father of two bought into a story he saw on social media about a Washington, D.C., area pizza place harboring children as sex slaves. The man drove six hours to confront the pizzeria owner, firing several shots from an assault ...


In Layman's Terms: Unlike a nutcracker, Jesus as a gift won't disappoint

November 28, 2016

I was either 10 or 11 years old when we received a rather large box, wrapped up as a Christmas gift, in the mail. And it had my name on the “To” line. When I returned home from school and saw it under the tree, I could barely hold back my excitement. I think it was my grandparents, but I don’t ...


In Layman's Terms: This Thanksgiving, remember we're blessed to be a blessing to others

November 15, 2016

Several years ago, when I was still a newspaper editor and columnist, I wrote what I thought was a “throwaway” piece about the holiday of Thanksgiving needing a better PR person. Instead of just writing what I thought was a filler column because I ran out of time prior to the holiday, I found out ...


In Layman's Terms: After election, remember to put Kingdom over country

November 09, 2016

The reactions to the 2016 presidential election have been almost as amazing as the result. Businessman Donald Trump defied almost all odds to win the presidency. Pundits are analyzing county-by-county results to see how Hillary Clinton failed to defeat a man who won in a most unconventional way – by...


In Layman's Terms: Nebraskans can choose justice over vengeance in election

October 31, 2016

Nebraska voters will have the opportunity Nov. 8 to make a critical decision about the state’s criminal justice system: Do we choose justice or settle for vengeance? The answer will determine whether Nebraska voters retain Legislative Bill 268, an example of bipartisan legislation passed by the ...


In Layman's Terms: Journey forward into the fog

October 24, 2016

I’m fascinated by weather. And as an amateur photographer, I enjoy trying to capture the unique images provided by God’s grand creation. As I wrote about last week, on a recent Saturday I ventured out with my camera in hopes of finding some interesting photos amid the fog that had taken hold in ...


In Layman's Terms: Driving our ministry past where the pavement ends

October 18, 2016

I like to take photos. I think it’s because I know I have a long way to go before I would be considered a good photographer, at least in the professional sense. That desire to be considered among the gifted image-capturers I have had the privilege of knowing makes me strive to do my best when I’m ...


In Layman's Terms: Use political slip-up to help us shine light on women's issues

October 11, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I spent the 90 minutes of Sunday night’s second presidential debate feeling more and more weighted down by the enormity off the task we all have ahead of us. Whoever wins Nov. 8, we will have a president that a large part of the population simply doesn’t trust. Uniting ...


In Layman's Terms: Vin Scully was the prophet of baseball; can we be today's prophets for Christ?

October 04, 2016

One of the final connections to my childhood signed off the air Sunday when the San Francisco Giants finished a 7-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers since the team played in Brooklyn way back in 1950, called his final game. At the age of 88, Scully decided it ...


In Layman's Terms: At least Darth Vader was genuine

September 27, 2016

I hope you tuned in to the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I’m not advocating for either candidate, but instead simply hope people who intend to vote in November tuned in to see the candidates answer questions. I watched the entire debate and ...


In Layman’s Terms: Story of Lazarus provides wealth of thought about God’s call to us all

September 20, 2016

There’s nothing like the death of a family member to make a person reflect on his or her own mortality – and their need for Christ in his or her life. This past week, one of my uncles passed away after a bought with Alzheimer’s disease. I used to spend quite a bit of time with him when I was a kid ...


In Layman's Terms: "Star Trek" offers this nerd a glimpse of a Christ-like future

September 08, 2016

The folks out there in Kansas and Nebraska who have met me already know that I’m pretty much a big nerd. I came to terms with that fact a long time ago. One piece of evidence is that I’m totally unashamed to say that I’m a huge “Star Trek” fan. I love almost all things science fiction, but there’s ...


In Layman's Terms: Amid leadership change, our mission to make disciples for Christ remains the same

August 30, 2016

A rather major change is set to take place Sept. 1 in the Great Plains Conference. Thursday is usually not a day of the work week known for new ventures, but this Thursday, something that hasn’t happened in 12 years, at least in Kansas, is scheduled to take place: A new bishop will be the episcopal ...


We can come to the aid of flood victims

August 23, 2016

I grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas, positioned along the west bank of the Missouri River. So as a kid, I had seen my share of floods. In fact, I remember when water crept into what is now the town’s community center. I have recollections as a kid of riding in my dad's truck down the hill on which our...


In Layman's Terms: There is no graduation from studying God's word

August 16, 2016

Our family is firmly in that sentimental time in life when we’re encountering a lot of “lasts.” Our son, Joshua, started his senior year Aug. 16 at Lincoln Northeast High School (LNE). One last first-day-of-school picture. One last back-to-school night. One last band camp. This spring may be our ...


In Layman's Terms: Give Jesus gold-medal hype

August 10, 2016

People who know me well are well aware that I’m a huge sports fan. I live and die with the performance of the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team, and I quickly have come to appreciate the emphasis put on the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program. My love for the Kansas City Royals and Dallas ...


In Layman’s Terms: Do your political posts reflect your devotion to God?

July 31, 2016

I must confess that I didn’t watch too much of the recent Republican and Democratic conventions. For the first time in my professional life, I didn’t have a deadline to meet with either the front page of a newspaper or a column to provide reaction to what was said on these rather large stages. ...


In Layman's Terms: Helping 'doubting Thomases' meet Jesus in today's world

April 06, 2016

There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being present when young people you’ve worked with make a public commitment to Christ. I had that opportunity April 3, when three young people at one of my wife’s churches and two at the other all took their vows of confirmation. Actually, it was a ...


In Layman's Terms: A week of lows and then the highest of highs

March 23, 2016

Holy Week: It’s a time of highs and lows for us Christians. Think about it for just a moment. We start off with Palm Sunday, a celebration recounted in Matthew 21:1-11. Jesus is greeted as he enters Jerusalem as though he were an earthly king. People shout “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and “...


In Layman's Terms: Clergy or laity, we all have a calling

March 09, 2016

When we hear the word “call” or “calling,” at least as it pertains to our faith or the church, we often make the leap to think the discussion is about ordained ministry. Many times, that is indeed the case. But not always. And not even in a majority of cases is that true. All followers of Christ ...


In Layman's Terms: Lecture challenges audience to think of where Jesus, church fit in society

March 01, 2016

The photo that accompanies this blog is an attempt to re-create the scene the night Jesus and his disciples talked in the Upper Room about a new covenant and, ultimately, betrayal just before our Savior was arrested, convicted and crucified. Professor Stanley Hauerwas delivers his lecture "...


Let's all be 'game changers' for Jesus

October 05, 2015

When we hear the phrase “developing nations,” certain stereotypes sometimes run through our minds – or at least they used to run through mine. Any mention of Africa would bring about images from television of villages with huts made of either mud or clapboard and people living in primitive ...


Reflections on 9/11 and what it means for us today

September 11, 2015

To this day, I think country singer Alan Jackson has the most poignant remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. His song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” reminds us of the many emotions that people felt as we came to grips with the reality that our ...


Why should we value separation of church and state?

September 08, 2015

The media circus surrounding Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, continues to grow. In the latest news, lawyers for Davis, who has been in jail since being found in contempt of court ...


Our actions as Christians speak louder than any painting

August 26, 2015

One of my favorite quips from posters and memes has to do with God’s presence in our nation’s schools. It goes something like this: “As long as there are still tests and quizzes, there will be prayer in school.” Some people aren’t so sure about that statement, particularly given the news in recent ...