Blog Posts


In Layman's Terms: 5 questions for livestreaming

Todd Seifert

3/13/2019

We have to come to grips with the reality that the days are long gone when all we need to do is make sure someone is on time on Sunday morning to open up the doors so people can come flooding in to hear a sermon.   These days, people look at “church shopping” much like they envision shopping for a new car. They go online and look through a church’s website, paying attention to such things as what activities the church has for their kids. And if there’s a link there to a livestream, you just may ...


In Layman's Terms: Arch serves as symbol for UMC's journey

Todd Seifert

3/6/2019

Many tears. A few smiles. Strong resolve on both sides. Those are the images burned into my memory from the special session of General Conference last week in St. Louis. To be honest, it was a draining experience — one from which I am still attempting to recover.   I won’t belabor any points that you’ve heard time and again since the close of the special session. The Traditional Plan passed — to the joy of some and the dismay of others. A disaffiliation plan passed so churches can streamline ...


In Layman's Terms: Some poignant moments on a difficult day

Todd Seifert

2/25/2019

After the prioritization votes for the legislative committee portion of the special session of General Conference on Sunday, it probably wasn’t surprising to too many people that the Traditional Plan moved on to Monday’s plenary phase, and the One Church Plan failed to move on to that step. Or did it? The One Church Plan has an uphill battle, to be certain, but there is a way for delegates to debate the virtues of the plan recommended by a majority of bishops one more time. It comes via a ...


In Layman's Terms: Quick change of atmosphere

Todd Seifert

2/24/2019

An environment of praise and elation one minute. The air seemingly sucked out of the room the next. That’s how I experienced Sunday afternoon at the special session of General Conference in St. Louis. After a morning filled with engaging preaching from Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, and a poignant report from the Commission on a Way Forward that included how the diverse group built relationships and maintained the dignity of all its members, the 864 delegates got down ...


In Layman's Terms: Worldwide challenge, opportunities

Todd Seifert

2/24/2019

After the first day of the special session of General Conference — a day set aside for prayer and praise — I was struck that a unifying embrace of cultures from outside the United States also poses one of the larger challenges for The United Methodist Church. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is what it is. I’m hoping we can turn it into an opportunity. Let me attempt to explain. Saturday’s prayer service included time to pray in the languages of European countries and Russia, at least one...


This is MY church!

Lay Servant Ministries

2/20/2019

I was in a meeting at a local church with the district superintendent when a lady burst into tears and proclaimed: “This is MY church!” The DS replied hotly “this is GOD’s church!” Who was right? Who was wrong? They both were! Say what? How can they both be wrong AND right? The woman was right in that each local congregation is a unique entity that the members are responsible to maintain. We are to encourage, teach, reach out and keep our local church vital and strong. Too often we rely on ...


In Layman's Terms: Packing for General Conference

Todd Seifert

2/19/2019

Well, the time has finally arrived. Those of us plugged in to The United Methodist Church have been either eagerly awaiting or anxiously dreading this day since the adjournment of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. The time, indeed, has come for the special called session of General Conference in St. Louis. There almost certainly will be television cameras and newspaper reporters on site to see what the people known as Methodists will allow regarding marriage of same-gender ...


In Layman's Terms: Reflections from the Holy Land

Todd Seifert

2/11/2019

Amazing! Awesome! Life-changing! Those were just some of the words people who recently visited the Holy Land with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. used to describe their trip. The seven-day adventure took the group of 61 people to historic churches marking the traditional locations of Jesus’ birth, ministry, conviction, crucifixion and resurrection. Our tour guide — a Palestinian, Syrian Orthodox Christian named Nader Mascobi — greeted our group at the Tel Aviv airport with a simple phrase: “Welcome ...


Clergy Faith and Wellness: Faith and Wellness Initiative

Rev. Shelly Petz

1/29/2019

Clergy of the Great Plains Conference, Thank you to those who planned for and participated in the recent Great Plains Orders and Fellowship meeting. The vulnerability, strength, honesty and encouragement from the presenters, workshop leaders, Bishop Saenz and Rev. Dr. Kevass Harding, and the overwhelming hospitality that was offered throughout created an atmosphere of welcome and investment in the clergy of the conference.  I experienced that clergy felt cared for, listened to, and inspired to ...


In Layman's Terms: A book that challenges your thoughts on race

Todd Seifert

1/22/2019

I think it’s appropriate that I completed reading the book “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” on the day we celebrated the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I made a resolution in 2018 to read two books a month. I fulfilled that goal on Dec. 29. For 2019, my goal is to read 30 books. I admit that while I was interested in the topic, I didn’t realize the depth of subject I was getting myself into with my first book of the year. I found this...


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