Blog Posts


Embracing multi-racial America


Anniversaries are special times. We remember the past and tell the stories that have shaped our lives. We celebrate old victories and renew long-standing relationships. We ask hard questions about why things happened and discuss what might have been. We also think about our values and envision a future that can move forward from where we are and where we have been.   As bishop I attend many anniversary celebrations of local churches where all of those aspects are part of a well-planned ...

Bringing change to the small membership church

Micki McCorkle


A clergy perspective In some ways, change is change, and change can be difficult no matter what size of congregation we are in. Church growth people tell us all the time that we need to do things like the following to bring creative change: Prayer for all and at all times – before, during and after Know your context – who is really in the community and what are their needs? Don’t do stuff for yourselves, do things for the community – outreach Have a vision/mission and stick with it.  Focus and ...

Celebrate recovery program shows promise in Five Rivers District


What is the outcome or result of one changed life? I think that is what “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the well known, 1946 Christmas classic, was based upon. One life, and all the people one life touches. Sometimes we focus on the numbers, while many of the most dramatic changes we cannot see immediately. They begin one, often painful, and time intensive change, in one person at a time. The changes continue producing fruit for generations and touching unlimited numbers of people. How do you measure ...

Change is coming


No matter what, congregations change. The only question is how. All organizations, including churches, have a natural lifecycle. Just as a human being is born, develops, grows, declines and dies, so goes the life cycle of a congregation. Our faith, however, teaches us that, in Christ, death has been defeated. By the power of the Spirit working in our midst, this is just as true for congregations as it is for individuals. Congregational lifecycle When a congregation is born, the community is ...

After the moving truck leaves


After the moving truck leaves, the real work of building relationships between a new pastor and the congregation begins. The first three months of a new appointment are crucial to the future of the ministry of the congregation. Church consultant, Alice Mann, has said that the most important work of a new pastor is to “excavate the culture of the congregation.” What does that look like? Both the pastor and the congregation have a role to play. Traditions First, the pastor needs to learn about ...

The global village at our doorstep

Kalaba Chali


Exploring other cultures no longer means foreign mission work A few decades ago, being interested in other cultures than our own meant one is called to foreign missions. That has changed in the United States. First, demographic change and cultural diversity became more visible in urban areas. Recently, even in more rural communities we hear more languages being spoken. In many of our communities it is like we are experiencing Pentecost every day! A couple of months ago, when I visited some of ...

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 ...