Blog Posts

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

Rev. Shelly Petz


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 ...


Lay Servant Ministries


This is the season of expectations. We await the Advent season all year. As Christians we await the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus. We await the music, the decorations, the plays and the Christmas programs. The expectations build for weeks. We have expectations for not only the Christmas season but for the New Year's, as well. This week I was having lunch with family and friends when someone mentioned the end of this month also brings the end of this decade. I was hit with the ...

November blogging

Lay Servant Ministries


As I am not an active (or anytime) blogger, I have wondered about its intent and usage. Is blogging intended to promote interest and response by stating controversial topics and positions? Or is its purpose to provide a platform for basic truths to be shared and/or critiqued?     So, how does the month of November relate to our faith walk and understanding of our duties as lay persons. I am sure there are many noteworthy events during the month, but I will relate to the few of which I am aware. ...

Resources within the TiM program - Katelyn Zoglmann

Transition into Ministry Program


The TiM program connected me with extremely useful resources even before starting my first appointment, but especially in those first few key months of the appointment when you are establishing your leadership identity and getting to know the congregation, the context, and the conference. The introductory TiM retreat in June was particularly helpful for preparing to serve, since it was a sort of orientation to pastoral ministry but it occurred a couple months prior to the Great Plains’ Right ...

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