Blog Posts

In Layman's Terms: Don't fall for spoof of bishop's email

Todd Seifert


The folks who like to wreak havoc with email and get you to pay for things they want are getting more and more sophisticated. It wasn’t all that long ago that many of us were receiving emails from sudden royalty in Nigeria or some other country who just needed a little money to leave their homeland for the United States. If you were to give this person your bank account numbers or wire him or her money, the person could escape and would pay you with millions of dollars upon arrival in the ...

Pastoral leadership interns share their experience -- Mikayla McClure


The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This 10-week program provides young leaders the opportunity to experience pastoral work in the most “hands-on” way possible, while being supported by a mentoring pastor and a teaching congregation. Mikayla McClure served at Fremont First UMC in Fremont, Nebraska, for the summer of 2018. Mikayla's story: Two weeks into my internship, I preached on David and Goliath. Through this experience, I learned how to write a ...

In Layman's Terms: Podcasting

Todd Seifert


While I’m a big fan of video – and still prefer that medium – there’s no denying that podcasts are quite popular. And it’s actually easy to see why. People these days are busy. You can play a podcast from a mobile phone like an audiobook while exercising or while driving to work or hitting the highway for an extended trip. If it’s good for people to “read” the latest best-seller, why not provide a podcast of the weekly sermon? Clergy and laity alike can use podcasts to record discussions on ...

“Here I am, Lord….Maybe…”

Lay Servant Ministries


Do you ever hear a call to do more than fill a pew? Do you feel at a loss to know what else you can do to contribute to your church life? Ever wonder how the United Methodist Church (UMC) relates to other denominations? What about why the pastor you REALLY liked got transferred to another congregation? How about an organized way to built relationships outside of your own congregation? Where do you go for answers? Maybe Lay Servant Ministries has at least one answer for you. “But,” you say, “I ...

In Layman's Terms: Gaining some Fresh Expressions

Todd Seifert


First of all, I apologize for not having written in a while. But it’s been for a good reason. As most of you are aware, the three Great Plains Conference offices in Lincoln, Wichita and Topeka have been consolidated to a new, single conference office in Topeka. Toss in the upheaval that comes with moving your office, all the gear that comes with serving in communications ministry and your home, and writing had to move fairly far down the priority list. Well, starting today, I’m trying to get ...

Always with us

Lay Servant Ministries


The last month has brought more than its share of family challenges: a cancer scare with a child, a major heart attack of a family member, the death of another, and the effects of these events on us all. Our family is not unique, as we all deal with the challenges of life. What we are reminded of is that no matter the circumstance, God is always with us. We are surrounded and strengthened by his ever-present healing, comfort and peace. Help us remember to seek God in good times and trials, in ...

Members, not delegates -- words matter at conference


I’ve often been accused (sometimes even to my face) of caring too much about words. No doubt I should plead guilty. I’ve learned through experience that words have incredible power to shape our perception of reality in the same way that they have power to affect emotions. So it was, a few mornings ago, that a pre-coffee social media rant of mine set off a spirited discussion. The rant read: “UMC friends, you are only a ‘delegate’ if you are attending Jurisdictional or General Conference. Whether...

Narrative preaching: Who knew?

Lay Servant Ministries


Last month my preaching world was turned upside down by taking the Certified Lay Minister preaching course offered online by the Great Plains Conference.  The course was based on “The Homiletical Plot,” by Gene Lowry. This book is a classic for those who are seminary trained but was unfamiliar to most in the class. The purpose of the book was for readers to “lay aside cherished norms about sermon anatomy” to form a new image of the sermon. The homiletical plot is a narrative art form, “a sacred ...

Ministry not just reserved for the pastor

Lay Servant Ministries


What gives you strength?  Look back at your own life experiences.  In those times when you found yourself strengthened to face some difficult task, to speak a word you might have otherwise held to yourself, what gave you strength? Paul’s counsel to Timothy is to find strength in grace.  In 2 Timothy 2:1-3, he says, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be ...

On being a district director of Lay Servant Ministry

Lay Servant Ministries


Since having taken early retirement from the insurance industry (required, for self-sanity!) this has left me with time for things I once could not do, and being Lay Leader at Colby, Kansas, United Methodist Church for the past 25 years (“member of everything and chairperson of nothing”... the way I like it!) has left me thinking that serving in some way beyond the local church could be “interesting”. I was right.   I could name names to blame for how I got here (!) as your new Hays District ...

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