Blog Posts

The Name of Jesus

Lay Servant Ministries


Several years ago, I was reading an article about the church in South Africa. In the article was a story about the pastor of the local church. He took his friend, a new Christian covert, to a big rally in another town. Many renown preachers preached, musician performed and singers sang. The whole experience was successful and many people were saved. The man’s pastor was feeling very pleased with the weekend. As they were traveling back home, he noticed his friend was quiet. He asked him how he ...

Taking vacation time is part of self-care

Rev. Shelly Petz


Christ is Risen indeed! Clergy of the Great Plains Conference, thank you for your incredible ministry, and especially the intentional work of planning, preparing and leading for Holy Week. Thank you for the multitude of ways you allow God to work through you in all that you do.  I hope that you also have/will take Sabbath time following these Holy Days. Jesus knew the importance of drawing away from the crowds and all of the important demands of ministry to spend time with God. In doing so, he ...

"Little dresses" on way to Africa from Little River


Over the last several years there have been some busy hands and generous hearts providing fabric and labor hours to create some “Little Dresses” (also known as “Pillowcase Dresses”) at Little River First UMC. A project that was encouraged by a talk from Beth Goetzinger in a UMW program talk several years ago, took root and three ladies in the congregation started asking for donations of fabric and the donations started to roll in. Some of the ladies dipped into their own stash to help with the ...

Church knitting-crochet group comforts victims


Volunteers at St. Mark's UMC, Lincoln, knitted/crocheted 50 blankets for the Nebraska State Patrol and 650 hats and 75 scarves for elementary schools and non-profits. NSP Trooper Cook offered words of thanks on Twitter: "A big #shoutout & #ThankYou to the St.Mark's United Methodist Church-Knit & Crochet group for the very generous donation of quilts & blankets. These will be used to comfort crash victims, children & other types of victims of stressful situations."  

UMVIM volunteer featured in ‘Pay It Forward’ segment


Representing the Great Plains Conference Volunteers in Mission, Marlin Brown received the “Pay It Forward” award from KSAS-TV in Wichita. The work of Brown and others at EmberHope in Newton is shown in this video. “Our main goal is to help any and everybody we come in contact with that needs help, and do as much as God provides us with people and resources to do that help,” Brown says in the video. Watch here.

Omaha church opens city's first culturally appropriate food pantry


The first culturally appropriate food pantry in Omaha has opened at Hanscom Park UMC. “The All People’s Pantry idea is a community idea, and being a community idea was just listening from people,” said Peter Karanja, associate pastor for community engagement. The All People’s Pantry provides food for anyone in need, focusing on items from other countries that are hard to find in traditional grocery stores. See video from KMTV.

Praying for a miracle

Rev. Shelly Petz


Tell me your story. Or sit in silence. Ask your questions. Or weep and gnash your teeth. Your grief is real and deep. And may look very different than your neighbor’s grief that is real and deep too. When Lazarus died there were Marys. And Marthas. Family members, friends, and strangers.  And Jesus. Jesus wept.  He showed up later than some wanted him to show up.  Yet he showed up. He wept. A miracle unfolded. Today I pray for a miracle. I’m not expecting a miracle in the way it happened then. I...

Bike Share in a Box provides transportation, fitness opportunities


If your congregation is passionate about breaking down transportation barriers and providing a fun alternative for physical activity, consider applying for the Bike Share in a Box special grant opportunity. In partnership with Thrive Allen County, the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is excited to offer this special grant opportunity for Healthy Congregations churches. This grant works especially well when run in partnership with other organizations, such as community colleges or ...

Mental Health First Aid Training

Rev. Shelly Petz


I took my very first First Aid Training when I was 13 years old.   I took my very first Mental Health First Aid Training last month.   I’m not sure why it took me so long to take the Mental Health First Aid Training. Probably a multitude of factors. I did not know about it. It did not seem as widely available or acceptable. The stigma of mental health. I thought I knew just enough about mental health issues that I knew when to refer congregation members to mental health providers.   What I ...

I’ve Been Thinking About It

Lay Servant Ministries


The phrase I hear most often when I suggest Lay Servant Ministries is, “I’ve been thinking about it!” Too many people still believe LSM training means pulpit supply, which scares many away from a call to LSM. While the program began with that one purpose in mind, folks quickly realized that lay persons can do so much more and the need for training in other areas was needed. Often an individual only needs a little nudge to go from “thinking about it” to “acting about it.” Where do those little ...

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