Blog Posts

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Surviving -- one day at a time

Rev. Shelly Petz


The list of responsibilities these past few weeks has been ever-growing, ever-changing. It has opened up times to think about new opportunities. For me, I have also been overwhelmed. I have found myself in the midst of moments with renewed creativity and exploring uncharted waters. I have found myself in tears as I crumble to the floor exhausted. I have experienced, as maybe you have, the best and worst of humanity. There is deep faith. There is great fear. At the end of each day, I crawl into ...

How do we meet the needs of our lay servants during this time of social distancing?

Lay Servant Ministries


In the Great West District in Nebraska, we are looking at trying to use Zoom to hold a class that was originally scheduled and needs to be completed before June due to our pastor being moved to another district. The lay servants are wanting to take the class with this pastor and CLS. One of our main concerns is the time frame of the class. We do know that we do not want to do this in the weekend format as we have found most adults have shorter attention spans when using technology than face to ...

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Give yourself permission to grieve

Rev. Shelly Petz


Clergy,   It is OK to give yourself permission to grieve. At an unprecedented time of facing a pandemic, many people are experiencing various stages of grief ... denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, meaning-making. (See works by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler for more related to stages of grief.) There is also anticipatory grief, grief that comes when we understand that there is so much more that we do not yet know or understand, and we anticipate more grief to come.   As ...

Disappointment and opportunity

Lay Servant Ministries


For the last several months, Lisa, Shane and I (and other conference staff), plus the Kearney First UMC staff, have spent countless hours and energy planning what has become known as The Laity Summit. To me, it is also an exciting and significant opportunity for lay persons of our conference. But, alas, the elephant virus in the room has not cancelled but drastically changed the event. It will be produced from the Topeka office to anyone in the conference who would like to attend via ...

Little children, come unto me

Lay Servant Ministries


As we are entering this season of Lent, we need to look for Jesus here on earth. Three years ago, I started to work part-time as a special services bus driver for the local school district. I have a wide range of students: a boy and girl who are nonverbal and are in wheelchairs, age 19; two autistic students that are very sensitive to sounds and need reassurance when there is a change, ages 7 and 10; and one kindergarten foster child that has a lot of emotional trouble. Then we also have eight ...

In Layman's Terms: Interviewing potential bishops

Todd Seifert


I had the privilege of seeing what I think is an efficient model of church democracy take place last week in Oklahoma City. That’s where delegates to the General Conference and South Central Jurisdictional Conference gathered for three days of meetings leading up to those big events. Full disclosure: I missed the final day, the time set aside for delegates to hear about legislation coming to the General Conference in May in Minneapolis. I had heard that information before at a special meeting ...

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 ...

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