Blog Posts

In Layman's Terms: Resources for inviting people to your church

Todd Seifert


Sometimes, a call or email from a local church with a question leads me on a path to find something entirely new that prompts me to share this new information with all of you. Such an instance occurred this week when a question came in from the Gateway District in Nebraska about special Sunday giving envelopes. This person heard that United Methodist Communications no longer was providing the envelopes, and the question was, first, if this was true and, second, if so, are there other options. ...

In Layman's Terms: Try one of these methods for reading the Bible

Todd Seifert


Reading scripture has had a profound impact on my life. It’s amazing to me that I can read the same verses multiple times and find something – even slightly – different to take away from it. I know that’s because my experiences and whatever issues at play in my life at the time lead me to seek different things as I read. I think that’s pretty powerful. And I want you to feel that power as well. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for ...

Be Bold

Lay Servant Ministries


As we have been enmeshed in the current political campaigns in states across the nation, I have felt the pressure to judge candidates by the often negative comments rather than the positive ones. Sadly, polarization and negativity are rampant in our daily lives. That fact can make us feel insignificant and powerless.     But as I consider it further, the opposite is true. In both our civic and spiritual lives, we are in control. The decisions we make are not only important, but life-changing. We...

In Layman's Terms: Take from and add to our Local Church Toolbox

Todd Seifert


Kansas and Nebraska – when you place them together – create a fairly large parcel of land. In fact, if you put the two together, you have about 160,000 square miles. That’s huge! My duties as the conference communications director have allowed me to see many parts of our two states. My most recent adventures took me to quaint – and active – panhandle town of Scottsbluff for the first time. I had the opportunity to talk to Matt, a young man who served me at a restaurant there. We talked about ...

Getting started on Facebook: Best practices for churches

Jayna McFarland


Is Facebook right for your church?   Yes.   Article over. . . . Just kidding.   You’ve heard the buzz about Facebook for years now. It’s the thing you have to do! Wait, don’t do it — it’s destroying us all!   If you don’t have a personal Facebook page, you probably have some valid reasons for avoiding this prevalent social media platform. But whether you are personally interested in Facebook or not, you can’t deny its importance in our culture.   What other presence has undeniable importance in ...

In Layman's Terms: Resources for our way forward

Todd Seifert


Anyone who has attended one of the bishop’s town hall meetings knows that the three plans to be considered at the upcoming special session of General Conference can be confusing. The plans – offered by the Commission on a Way Forward and approved by the Council of Bishops – are meant to help our denomination move past our impasse over human sexuality. This is incredibly difficult content to learn, process and understand. For those of you who don’t know, The United Methodist Church is hosting a ...

Do it afraid: conquering my fear of the children's message

Lay Servant Ministries


First, let me say on the front end that my entire adult life has been devoted to caring for children. My day job is school nursing and I love to be around children. Second, as a Lay Speaker, I am (relatively) fearless and unafraid, prayed up and prepared. Why then am I so afraid of the children’s message- the longest stretch of unscripted and unpredictable time in front of a congregation? Is it a fear that the children will say random things that have nothing to do with the topic? Is it ...

The Ministry of All

Lay Servant Ministries


What gives you strength?  Look back at your own life experiences. In those times when you found yourself strengthened to face some difficult task, to speak a word you might have otherwise kept to yourself, what gave you strength?   On May 13, 1974, my family survived a tornado that destroyed our home and most of our belongings. We were not all at home at the time, but were in the path of the storm, so there was a joyful reunion when we did all get together. It was too stormy yet to do anything ...

In Layman's Terms: A free Bible study to help us all #BeKind

Todd Seifert


It sure can seem at times like the world has forgotten what it’s like to be kind. We criticize each other. We share things on social media that we would never have the guts to say to a person’s face – at least that’s true of many people. For Christians, I think the act of being kind is an essential part of how we practice our faith. It is, after all, the major implication of the scripture from Mark 12:27-40. In that passage, Jesus is confronted by a teacher and asked which of the 613 laws in ...

Lay Servant Ministry may lead to role of licensed local pastor

Lay Servant Ministries


Once-in-a-while I feel the message that lay servant leaders give out and the message within the culture of call are at odds with oner another, when in truth they just might be one in the same. To avoid scaring a potential or newly trained lay servant by NOT mentioning Lay Speaking or Lay Ministry, some Lay Servants may be thinking that the leaders are out-of-touch or not listening. These thoughts were inspired recently when I realized that in Gateway District, a significant number of now ...

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