Blog Posts

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 ...

In Layman's Terms: Give app a try to hold you to your spiritual disciplines

Todd Seifert


This week’s subject is part resource, part shameless self-promotion. But it’s aimed at helping you stay connected with other United Methodists across Kansas and Nebraska while helping you stay in tune with your spiritual disciplines. Earlier this year, the Great Plains Conference launched its new app. Available both for iPhones, iPads and for Android devices, the app really is two pieces of software in one. My purpose for writing this week is simply to ask you to give the app a try. First, ...

In Layman's Terms: Is your church ready for microphone changes?

Todd Seifert


Wireless microphones have become as much a part of the worship experience as the organ and hymnals. Preachers who don’t want to be tied to a pulpit rely on these devices to allow them to move around to engage their congregation while delivering their messages. But as our communications staff has reported before, the rules for use of some of these devices is about to change. And churches that haven’t budgeted for this occasion really need to do so quickly. Consider this post to be a friendly ...

Pastoral leadership interns share their experience -- Rachel Shepherd

Great Plains Interns


I am absolutely as happy in this picture as I look. This photo was taken during my very last week working at Columbus First United Methodist. I had the honor of joining the youth for their senior high summer mission trip to Lorain, OH. We spent the week under the leadership of an amazing organization called Next Step: worshiping together, in fellowship with, and in service to the community of Lorain. Our work-site group helped to finish up a play ground and shed for a local daycare owner. We ...

Pastoral leadership interns share their experience -- Rebecca Borgman

Great Plains Interns


The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This 10-week program provides young leaders the opportunity to experience pastoral work in the most “hands-on” way possible, while being supported by a mentoring pastor and a teaching congregation. Rebecca Borgman served at Manhattan First UMC in Manhattan, KS, for the summer of 2018. As an intern at the First UMC church in Manhattan KS, I had many opportunities to work alongside the people of the church. I like to be ...

In Layman's Terms: Free photos for use in your churches

Todd Seifert


You’re preparing for Sunday worship. The pastor has given you his or her scripture. You have photos to represent sermon points – maybe even a video. You’re all set to build that week’s audio-visual presentation and start promoting the upcoming worship experience on social media. But you are lacking options for backgrounds – for the hymns, for prayer requests, maybe even announcements prior to the service starting. It’s frustrating, and I understand completely how much time is wasted trying to ...

In Layman's Terms: Don't fall for spoof of bishop's email

Todd Seifert


The folks who like to wreak havoc with email and get you to pay for things they want are getting more and more sophisticated. It wasn’t all that long ago that many of us were receiving emails from sudden royalty in Nigeria or some other country who just needed a little money to leave their homeland for the United States. If you were to give this person your bank account numbers or wire him or her money, the person could escape and would pay you with millions of dollars upon arrival in the ...

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