Blog Posts


Disappointment and opportunity

Lay Servant Ministries

3/16/2020

For the last several months, Lisa, Shane and I (and other conference staff), plus the Kearney First UMC staff, have spent countless hours and energy planning what has become known as The Laity Summit. To me, it is also an exciting and significant opportunity for lay persons of our conference. But, alas, the elephant virus in the room has not cancelled but drastically changed the event. It will be produced from the Topeka office to anyone in the conference who would like to attend via ...


Little children, come unto me

Lay Servant Ministries

3/3/2020

As we are entering this season of Lent, we need to look for Jesus here on earth. Three years ago, I started to work part-time as a special services bus driver for the local school district. I have a wide range of students: a boy and girl who are nonverbal and are in wheelchairs, age 19; two autistic students that are very sensitive to sounds and need reassurance when there is a change, ages 7 and 10; and one kindergarten foster child that has a lot of emotional trouble. Then we also have eight ...


In Layman's Terms: Interviewing potential bishops

Todd Seifert

2/26/2020

I had the privilege of seeing what I think is an efficient model of church democracy take place last week in Oklahoma City. That’s where delegates to the General Conference and South Central Jurisdictional Conference gathered for three days of meetings leading up to those big events. Full disclosure: I missed the final day, the time set aside for delegates to hear about legislation coming to the General Conference in May in Minneapolis. I had heard that information before at a special meeting ...


Clergy Faith & Wellness: Take care of your hearts during Lent

Rev. Shelly Petz

2/18/2020

How is your heart? It is American Heart Month, and as United Methodists who understand the power of a “heart strangely warmed,” I invite you to look at your heart. How is it physically, emotionally and spiritually? I care about your hearts and offer this invitation to the clergy of the Great Plains Conference: I invite you to join me during this upcoming season of Lent to take care of our hearts. How am I doing this? Physically: Choose something that I enjoy that is good for my physical heart ...


In Layman's Terms: Hope discovered at pre-General Conference briefing

Todd Seifert

1/28/2020

I attended the pre-General Conference 2020 briefing Jan. 23-24 in Nashville, and for only the second time in my five years serving as communications director, I came away from a gathering of Methodists from around the world with a truly positive feeling. The briefing, conducted by United Methodist Communications with help from other agencies of the denomination, provided a snapshot into the major legislation and topics that will be discussed in May in Minneapolis. It is there, after all, that ...


Gratitude leads up to season of change

Rev. Shelly Petz

1/28/2020

Thank you for your courageous leadership. Thank you for your faithfulness in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Thank you for living out your call at such a time as this. I see you. I see you serving countless hours, ministering to, with, and on behalf of your mission fields. I see you working on sermons, visiting the sick, ministering to the grieving, teaching children, youth and adults, administering the life of the congregation, engaging your communities, navigating personal and ...


In Layman's Terms: The Christmas Story

12/20/2019

As much as we love Santa Claus, Rudolph, Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree and the redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Christmas really is about the arrival of the Christ child, the Savior for all humankind. The story is told primarily in the books of Matthew and Luke. So in this episode of the podcast "In Layman's Terms," communications director Todd Seifert walks through the entire story, in order, by merging those two books together. Told in seven acts — or seven mini-stories within the larger ...


Book sheds light on separating Biblical truth from mere tradition

Todd Seifert

12/17/2019

I’ve become a bit obsessed with podcasts the past few months. I guess that’s why I launched my own — “In Layman’s Terms” — a few months ago. I simply fell in love with the not-so-new concept of telling stories and sharing thoughts via the spoken word. That love tied into another passion of mine while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Bible Binge.” This podcast, introduced to me by Lisa Soukup, our communications administrative assistant, pits two people together who usually talk ...


Clergy Faith & Wellness: a gift for you

Rev. Shelly Petz

12/11/2019

It is December in a local church.   A parishioner was recently diagnosed with cancer.  A friend began in hospice care. A teacher was killed in a car accident, due to icy road conditions. There are 27 Christmas programs, worship services, or events to plan, attend, and manage. There are two weddings and six funerals. There is grief, pain, sorrow, anxiety, and loss. That of the congregation, and your own.   And... Clergy are expected to bring God's word of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.   In this ...


In Layman's Terms: Can you really use that photo?

Todd Seifert

12/11/2019

I’ve written about the important issue of photo copyrights before and have dedicated a small portion of a multimedia worship tools workshop to the subject as well. But every now and then something comes up that I think requires me to reiterate some key points. And let’s be honest, this is a complicated subject. Recently, a church reached out to the conference office to seek some guidance on an issue. The church had received a notice from what amounts to a copyright collection agency named ...


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