Blog Posts

Clergy Excellence

Clergy Faith and Wellness: Faith and Wellness Initiative

Rev. Shelly Petz


Clergy of the Great Plains Conference, Thank you to those who planned for and participated in the recent Great Plains Orders and Fellowship meeting. The vulnerability, strength, honesty and encouragement from the presenters, workshop leaders, Bishop Saenz and Rev. Dr. Kevass Harding, and the overwhelming hospitality that was offered throughout created an atmosphere of welcome and investment in the clergy of the conference.  I experienced that clergy felt cared for, listened to, and inspired to ...

Clergy Faith and Wellness: Health for body and soul

Rev. Shelly Petz


Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 John 1:2 (NRSV) Friends, I do indeed pray for you. Ministry is an incredible calling, and responsibility. Many of you have just led others through the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and now are living in the season after Epiphany. We have before us the realities of what it means that God has come to live with us and among us. Some people make resolutions at the beginning...

Summer in Sarpy County by Spenser Johnson

Great Plains Interns


           As summer began, and I was starting my internship as a Pastoral Intern at Springfield First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Nebraska, I was not prepared for the experiences God was about to bless me with. I distinctly remember requesting to be placed with a church in an inner-city area with an urban environment. I have a degree in criminal justice and sociology so I was so ready to work with a marginalized group in society like the impoverished, homeless, gang members, and ...

Reviving a Youth Ministry - Part 2

Transition into Ministry Program


In Bill Gepford's previous blog the TiM associate pastor at Colby (Kanasa) UMC, shared how and why he started a youth program at Colby UMC. In this second of a two-blog series, Gepford explains the steps he took in preparation of the youth ministry kick off. I arrived shortly before July 1. These are the steps we took between July 1 and August 22 (the start of school and correlating kickoff of youth programming). You can take longer or shorter for this, but I'd plan on at least 50 hours spread ...

Reviving a Youth Ministry - Part 1

Transition into Ministry Program


Bill Gepford is currently serving as a TiM associate pastor at Colby United Methodist Church, Colby, Kansas (2013-2015). Bill Gepford, TiM associate pastor at Colby (Kansas) UMC, shares how and why he started a youth program at Colby UMC. In this first of a two blog series, Gepford explains why he started the program and what he did once the program was in place. My Story: I serve as the Transition into Ministry associate at Colby United Methodist Church.  Even before I arrived in Colby, I got ...


Transition into Ministry Program


Pastor Andrea Beyer served as a TIM Associate Pastor at West Heights United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas from 2013-2015. It is hard for me to believe, but I am nearing the end of my first stage of the Transition into Ministry program. It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I started here at West Heights UMC as an associate pastor, and yet here I am, already making my preparations to leave in just a few short months. I have learned a great deal about ministry in my time here, ...

Interpersonal Relationships and Ministry

Transition into Ministry Program


Pastor Aaron Duell is currently serving as a TIM associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, Columbus, Nebraska (2014-2016). We humans were designed to be in relationship. We are really a chip off the old (Trinitarian) block. Ultimately, human meaning and purpose come from our relationships. They come from our relationship with God, our relationships with one another, and our relationship with creation.   To be a person is to be in relationship. Before the world began, our tri-personal ...

"On Pastoral Authority: It's a (Long) Process"

Transition into Ministry Program


Pastor Brenda Kostner is currently serving as a TIM associate pastor at Stillwell United Methodist Church, Stillwell, Kansas (2014-2016). Whenever I consider the phrase pastoral authority, I flashback to my first year in seminary, to an early morning class called “Pastor and People”- a survey of pastoral roles and congregation dynamics. I had chosen that class as my practical class. Having just finished my undergraduate degree in history, I was ready to move out of history and theory and ...

Reflections on Two Years as a TiM Associate Pastor

Transition into Ministry Program


  Rev. Austin Rivera reflects on some of what he learned in serving two years as a Transition into Ministry (TiM) Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Emporia, Kansas from 2012-2014.  He is currently in his first year as a Ph.D. student in the Ancient Christianity program of Yale’s Religious Studies Department.                 When I applied for the Transition into Ministry program I had a very limited idea of what I would gain from serving for two years under a mentoring senior...

On Sewer Lines and Car Troubles, Lessons for Ministry (and Life) in Transition

Transition into Ministry Program


Rev. Andy Frazier is in his first year as Pastor at Frontenac (KS) United Methodist Church after serving for two years as Transition into Ministry (TiM) Associate Pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE from 2012-2014.  Andy writes about lessons that he has learned in the transition from being an associate pastor to being a solo pastor as a part of the TiM program of the Great Plains United Methodist Church.   Last Monday morning, I arrived at church, and I was greeted with a ...

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