Blog Posts

Mission Partnership

Helpful hints for building a school partnership


Churches across the Great Plains Conference are exploring new dimensions of partnerships as a result of the Public Education Partnership resolution adopted at Annual Conference in June. A late spring survey indicated that more than 10 percent of churches were already engaged in work with a nearby public school and that others were considering such partnerships and just didn’t know how to move forward. Many more churches are now pursuing partnerships after receiving resources at one of the stops ...

Partners pray for one another


The most powerful partnerships are cultivated by leaders that pray. Author John C. Maxwell, in his book “Partners in Prayer” (also available in Spanish, “Compañeros de Oración”), offers a guide for how we can pray for others, especially those who we partner with in ministry. Following Paul’s words from Colossians 1:9-12, Maxwell gives us six straight-forward points to guide us. Pray that they know God's will for their lives. - Colossians.1:9 “…We have not stopped praying for you. We continually...

Partnerships here and there

Kalaba Chali


Partnership has become a popular term these days. It is a term used in different domains, in business, in human relationships, in legal practices and in religious conversations. We in the Great Plains Conference talk about our international mission partners (Haiti, Nigeria and Zimbabwe). In the last few weeks I have had the privilege to visit two of our international partners, the Methodist Church of Haiti and the Zimbabwe United Methodist Church. I have hesitated to use something from Zimbabwe ...

Vital ideas: Confirmation


What do you get when you mix three churches, four pastors (one retired), four youth directors, twenty-two sponsors and twenty-two youth on a Sunday afternoon? The answer - confirmation! At least one possible configuration of it, anyway. Every pastor that is charged to a local church is also charged to organize confirmation for the young people who are considering this important decision. The confirmation process can be done in many ways. Some pastors choose to use curriculum from Cokesbury or...

Zimbabwe 14 - No. 13


The importance of connections The Zimbabwe Chabadza group gathered to leave in  the Cresta Hotel lobby at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Many of our host families and others in the Zimbabwe church stopped by to wish us well. The Rev. Mark Conard led us in prayer before leaving. By the time we were loaded it was 11 a.m. We arrived at the Harare airport with plenty of time to ready for the flight. A few gift shops in the concourse enabled some additional last-minute souvenir shopping. The incoming...

Zimbabwe 14 - No. 12


The last day in Zimbabwe paradise Friday was to be a day of shopping for some and a meeting with the Zimbabwe Area cabinet for others. One group of shoppers ended up in a car accident bruising Richard Lewis’ ribs and arm significantly. Kim Martin also was banged around the vehicle hitting his head and getting bruised. Luke Stephens has a sore wrist and knee and Miranda Giesel was shaken up. Lewis is the only one that went to the hospital where x-rays were taken and he was released. He is very ...

Zimbabwe 14 - No. 11


The day started early as I wanted time around breakfast to spend with my host family as we were scheduled to leave for Harare about noon. We were all sad to say goodbye since we just began to get to know each other. The exchange about different ways to prepare fresh vegetables with Juliet Mutsonhi (the woman of the house) was an enjoyable evening activity. Juliet was eager to try frying okra rather than boiling it. I am eager to try cooking several vegetables together with beef to make a stew.  ...

Zimbabwe 14 - No. 10


Wednesday began with the Rev. Kalaba Chali preaching at Africa University's morning chapel service. He preached about keeping the main thing the main thing as college students at AU. He asked them to continue to ask themselves, "Why are you here?"   He reminded them of the Pan African mission of the university, the personal investment faculty make in students, the support received from the United Methodist Church and a host of other pluses of AU life.   He also reminded them of the distractions,...

Zimbabwe 14 - No. 9


Wow, a full day. We stated at 8 a.m., from Mustasa/Nyanga District Superintendent Daniel Mutidzawanda's house and headed for Honde North Circuit (Charge) in the northeast edge of the district, a stone's throw (a couple of mountains actually) from Mozambique. We met Pastor John Mwaita (pictured at left with Mark Conard), the local pastor serving there and Patricia Chimuti, the chair of the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee.   The Honde North Circuit is a Chabadza partner with the Pratt, Kansas, ...

Lessons from Zimbabwe


We have much to learn from the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area. These lessons are part of the gift they offer us in our Chabadza partnership. I am writing this from Zimbabwe, immediately upon the ending of the Ebenezer Convention. They frequently quoted 1 Samuel 7:12 “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” I estimate that 50,000 persons were present Saturday afternoon in the National Sports Stadium. Several of us believe that never before have this many United Methodists been together in one place at one ...

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