Clergy Stories

Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship

The theme for Annual Conference for 2022 in the Great Plains was “Discipleship Reimagined.” We were invited to reimagine what discipleship looks likes “post-COVID” and amid uncertainty in many spheres of life. (View the teaching from Alex and Hannah Absalom for “5 Practices that will Refresh your Disciple-making Pathway” here.) 

Clergy are charged with the responsibility to cast the vision for discipling others, but often we as clergy feel the struggle of nurturing our own discipleship as followers of Jesus. As part of their series, At the Threshold, Shelly Petz and Ashlee Alley Crawford invite clergy of the Great Plains Conference to examine their own discipleship and lean more fully into the abundant life of Christ. 

Do you want to have an opportunity to connect with other clergy and one of the guests who sat down to talk with us? Check out the Fall 2022 Zoom “Clergy Discipleship Meet-Ups.”

Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 1

The first episode in this series includes a conversation hosted by Ashlee Alley Crawford and Shelly Petz with Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith, Associate Professor of Religion and Dallas Willard Chair of Spiritual Formation at Friends University in Wichita, KS and Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff, senior pastor at Trinity UMC in Hutchinson, KS.

  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Rev. Dr. Jim Smith to hear more about “ruthlessly eliminating hurry” from our lives. Also, listen to him talk about his new book, "The Good and Beautiful You"

  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime with Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff about navigating burnout and how he nurtures his creative/artistic spirit and encounters God.

Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 2

The second episode in Discipleship: Real Talk brings Rev. Dr. Craig Finnestad, lead pastor at Water’s Edge UMC in Omaha, NE; Rev. Amy Lippoldt, senior pastor of St. Paul’s UMC in Papillion, NE; and Rev. Juan Carlos Veloso, pastor of Iglesia Comunitaria and Grace UMC, Omaha, NE

  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Craig Finnestad about navigating his own spiritual life in the midst of his “toughest season of ministry.” He also shares three tensions that he experiences and how he experiences God calling him forward into God’s presence.

  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Juan Carlos Veloso about how God has called him to shift his life from “Christian Activism” to pouring out his life to others on behalf of Christ. He also shares how he articulates discipleship becomes more than just a class that church members take.

Real Talk about Clergy Discipleship: Episode 3

The third episode in Discipleship: Real Talk brings Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert, Forge CMC, Retired Elder; Rev. Maria Campbell, pastor of Heritage UMC in Overland Park, KS; and Rev. Rueben Langat, pastor of Clay Center UMC, Clay Center, KS.

  • Prayer by James Martineau (1805-1900), referenced by Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert:
    • Eternal God, who commits to us the swift and solemn trust of life: since we know not what a day may bring forth, but only that the hour for serving You is always present, may we wake to Your instant claims, not waiting for tomorrow, but yielding today. Lay to rest the resistance of our passion, indolence, or fear. Consecrate the way our feet may go, and the humblest work will shine, and the roughest places be made plain. Lift us above unrighteous anger and mistrust into faith and hope and charity, through steady reliance on You. So may we be modest in our time of wealth, patient under disappointment, ready for danger, serene in death. In all things, draw us to Yourself that Your lost image may be traced again, and we may be at one with You.

  • Bonus Feature: Ashlee Alley Crawford goes into “Overtime” with Maria Campbell about how mentoring others nurtures her own discipleship and even disruptions are an invitation to pay attention to what God is doing.

  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Bruce Emmert about how he is understanding his discipleship in his new season of retirement and what he would tell his younger self.

  • Bonus Feature: Shelly Petz goes into “Overtime” with Reuben Langat about how obedience has looked for him across different cultures and the power of small group accountability.

Real Talk about Discipleship: Episode 4

The fourth episode in Discipleship: Real Talk is a conversation with Alex Absalom. Take a look at more resources and videos of workshops with Alex and his wife, Hannah, at our Discipleship page.