Blog Posts

Death Comes Knocking by Wendy Mohler-Seib

Transition into Ministry Program


Pastor Wendy Mohler-Seib served as a TIM Associate Pastor at Chapel Hill Fellowship United Methodist Church; Wichita, KS from 2012-2014.  Seminary prepared me to identify the four steps of practical theology, thoroughly exegete a passage for sermon preparation,use Lowry’s loop, ancient perspectives on theodicy, and much, much more.  It wasn’t the classroom or field education that prepared me to face 13 funerals in the first nine months of my first appointment.  Instead, my walk through the ...

Deepening spiritual disciplines through devotions


I have a deep sympathy with individuals who find it hard to practice spiritual disciplines. For many years, I could not find the right pattern for regular prayer and Bible Study. Like many pastors, I studied the scriptures for professional reasons: preparing sermons, leading Bible study and teaching classes. But what did I do to nourish my own relationship with Christ? Over the years, leading Disciple Bible Study helped me. That required weekly preparation, and I moved to, at least, doing all of...

A Pastor's Silence and a Pastor's Words by Austin Rivera

Transition into Ministry Program


Pastor Austin Rivera served as a TIM Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church, Emporia, KS from 2012-2014. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Ancient Christianity program of Yale’s Religious Studies Department.   When Ambrose of Milan set out to write on the virtues to be cultivated by a pastor, the first he hit upon was silence. Had he written a treatise on the difficulties of the pastoral office he could well have given silence pride of place there as well and named the chief ...

Welcoming Strangers


Hebrews 13:2 is clear: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” This verse—along with Leviticus 19:33-34 and Matthew 25:38-40—are the bedrock that should inform our hearts and minds about how our churches, our communities, our states and our nation should respond to newcomers in our midst. For many years now, our country has been engaged in a debate about how to handle immigrants who live and work in our country without...

Why we must continue to Imagine No Malaria


The following was written Dec. 12, 2012, in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. I have been to the meetings. I have read the brochures. I have watched the videos. I have heard impassioned speakers talk about the scourge of this disease. Intellectually I knew what I needed to know. I have been part of the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska Conferences as they committed to raising money for Imagine No Malaria. I have given money personally. I have announced that I will shoot 1,000 free throws on Feb. 23 to ...

Being witnesses for Christ


One way to describe the Christian’s life of discipleship is to take seriously Jesus’s words to his disciples in Acts 1:8. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In 2008, the General Conference changed the membership vows of the United Methodist Church, adding the word, “witness.” Professing members are asked, “As members of this congregation, will you ...

More Young People


Dr. Lovett Weems has taught many leaders of The United Methodist Church a phrase that is being repeated widely: we need more people, more young people, and more diverse people. I agree. The average age of a United Methodist layperson is more than 57. The average age of people in the United States is in the lower 30s. There is clearly a problem here. If our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and if the population around us is younger than we are and we are not reaching them, we are not...

One conference and change


We have voted for change. When I say “we,” I mean more than two-thirds of the lay and clergy members of all three conferences: Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska. On January 1, 2014, we will become the Great Plains Annual Conference. I do believe that we have made the right decision, but, as one of my friends said in an email, “Now, the real work begins.” The new conference will have more than 200,000 lay people, nearly 1,000 congregations and almost 800 active elders, deacons, associate ...

A tapestry made from the pairing of Seminary and mentoring

Transition into Ministry Program

The Rev. Bill Gepford, pastor at Fremont First UMC in Nebraska, shares about the tools learned in Seminary and how those tools are shaped by an experienced mentor. Seminary gave me a lot of tools.  But it took experience under a mentor pastor to start using the right tool at the right time.   Seminary gave me a lot of tools.    I spent a semester on preaching, a semester on leadership, a semester on ecological healing and holistic evangelism (yes, that was a class), and a semester on the minor ...

Building relationships in ministry

Transition into Ministry Program

Stefanie Hays, pastor at Ord First and Sargeant First in Nebraska responds to the following: What would you share with other entering young clergy regarding what you have learned about calling, mentoring, collegiality, and visioning?   Ministry can be difficult.  Yes, that would seem like a “duh” statement or an obvious idea.  True, that news is not earth shattering but what I found surprising were the ways in which ministry was difficult.  I had prepared myself for differing opinions, difficult...

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