This podcast, hosted by Todd Seifert, explores concepts of discipleship by telling the stories of a person, a congregation or even a community. Some episodes feature interviews. And some involve Todd providing reflections on scriptures from the Bible.
Subscribe or follow for easier listening opportunities on the following platforms:
Todd shares a two-episode series on how we listen for God's call to service in our lives and then how we respond to that call. These are adaptations from sermons he provided while serving as a substitute preacher in Garnett, Kansas.
Part 1 — The story from 1 Samuel recounts the call of the prophet who would anoint the first two kings of Israel. As you listen to the episode, consider how God may be reaching out to you.
Part 2 — The call of Peter, Andrew, James and John as Jesus' disciples teaches us how to respond to God's call.
Coming of Age During the Civil Rights Movement — Oliver Green has been heavily involved in the Great Plains Conference since its inception. As we wrap up Black History Month, Oliver shares his story and what it was like to move into adulthood — as an African-American man — during the Civil Rights Movement. Oliver shares how the movement of the 1960s is similar to the cries for racial justice that we experience today, what attracted him to leaders like Malcom X and Martin Luther King and what can we do today to move forward on the important topic of racial justice.
Continuing the Push for Racial Justice — It’s been nine months since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, so Todd Seifert, host of the “In Layman’s Terms” podcast, decided to tell some follow-up stories featuring guests who helped explain the impact of police and other kinds of violence upon people of color in the spring of 2020. The communications team took it a step further by recording this video of the interview discussions with the Rev. Dee Williamston, superintendent of the Salina and Hutchinson districts, and the Rev. Robert Johnson, lead pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, the Great Plains Conference’s largest predominantly African-American church. Watch the video. | Listen to the audio version.
The Color of Law — Noted columnist and author Richard Rothstein started exploring how segregation impacted education. What he discovered was how detrimental policies set by federal agencies deliberately held down African Americans regarding housing. As a result, Black Americans have not been able to build wealth, they live near more environmental hazards and have continued to be treated as second-class citizens. Rothstein records his findings in “The Color of Law,” and he sits down with Todd in this episode to walk through the major themes in his sobering yet easy-to-understand explanation of how the U.S. government carved out such a divide among people of different races. You'll quickly learn the tactics that not only maintained but expanded on racial inequality.
Let's Talk About Race — We may never be able to conquer racism if we don't start openly talking about racism and the way it impacts our entire society. In this episode, Todd talks with the Rev. Kathy Williams, an African-American pastor serving a small town in Kansas, who talks about the silence she observed after the death of George Floyd, with Garlinda Burton, who will begin serving as interim general secretary of The United Methodist Church's General Commission on Religion and Race starting Sept. 1, and with the Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson and the Rev. Ashley Prescott Barlow Thompson, who lead the Neighboring Movement in Wichita. This episode debuted Aug. 11, 2020.
Response to Racism — In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — and following our previous episode titled "Black Lives Matter," we explore how people can respond to help end racism. In this episode, we talk openly about what white people can do to help, and we explore what it means when we say "white privilege," how to educate ourselves and other ways to help bring about change — from stopping racist chatter at the water cooler to speaking up to casting ballots. Our featured guests are the Rev. Junius Dotson and the Rev. Steve Spencer. We also talk to the Revs. Kyle Reynolds, Portia Cavitt, Dee Williamston and Pastor Ronda Kingwood. This episode debuted June 24, 2020.
Black Lives Matter — The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day weekend 2020 sparked outrage. Video of the incident shows a police officer with his knee pressed down on the man's neck for almost nine minutes. In response, people have taken to the streets in protest. They are voicing their anger and telling their stories. This episode aims to tell the story of the African-American experience through the words of six black pastors in the Great Plains Conference: Rev. Dee Williamston, Rev. Dr. Kevass Harding, Pastor Ronda Kingwood, Rev. Robert Johnson, Rev. Portia Cavitt and Rev. Kirstie Engel. This episode debuted June 6, 2020.
In October 1990, a relatively small group of people met for worship for the first time — in a funeral home. With a name that was somewhat tongue-in-cheek because of its location but also a theological statement because of its dedication to Jesus Christ, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection was born.
The congregation made a pitstop at an elementary school before settling in the first of what is now a five-campus church in Leawood, Kansas, campus. Led by a then 25-year-old pastor and now world-renowned author, Rev. Adam Hamilton, from that humble beginning started a congregation that is now the largest in the entire denomination.
Rev. Darryl Burton, a newly ordained elder in The United Methodist Church sat in prison for 24 years. Lamont McIntyre sat in prison for 23 years. Neither man actually committed the murders for which they were accused. A ministry in New Jersey helped exonerate them, but there was no assistance to help them re-acclimate to society. So the two men joined forces in 2018 and launched Miracle of Innocence, a ministry meant to help innocent people find justice and regain their freedom, and then receive the help that Darryl and Lamont didn’t have available to them. Check out the organization’s website at www.miracleofinnocence.org.
Class meetings — with strong class leaders — were among the ways the Methodist movement spread westward and through the prairies of the United States. But could looking to the denomination's past help laity and churches pave the way to a brighter, more vital future?
Why Now? — In this first of several episodes about class meetings, host Todd Seifert talks with District Superintendents Cindy Karges and Don Hasty, as well as retired elder, author and Methodist historian David Lowes Watson. They share why class meetings show promise for helping churches of all sizes — but especially small, rural congregations — boost discipleship, promote leadership and provide churches the tools they need to better serve their communities. This episode debuted July 15, 2020.
Laity as Key — We continue our look at class meetings and class leaders by taking a look at a pilot project in the Great West District in Nebraska, where Pastor Mark Baldwin is helping mentor a class leader. We also talk to Lisa Maupin, Great Plains Conference lay leader, about the way the class meeting model can help shift the story from one of scarcity to one of abundance. This episode debuted July 23, 2020.
History as Future — In the third of a three-part series on class meetings, Todd explores how class meetings provided a model of growth and evangelism in the past and how they can be a sustainable force in the present. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. is the featured guest who shares a vision for how class meetings can sustain a United Methodist witness in smaller churches but also can bolster discipleship in larger congregations by enhancing spiritual disciplines and introducing accountability among believers. This episode debuted Oct. 6, 2020.
This episode, which told the story about rebuilding the destroyed town of Greensburg, Kansas, was the debut episode for "In Layman's Terms," and it won the "best in class" award — the top award for the denomination — in the audio category in the 2019 United Methodist Association of Communicators awards contest. Download and listen to the episode here.
This series examined how pastors and churches adapted their worship services and pastoral care during the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying stay-at-home orders in Kansas and Nebraska.
During Lent in 2020, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., episcopal leader of the Great Plains Conference of The United Methodist Church, was the featured guest for a special series of episodes that explored the seven final sayings of Jesus from the cross.
During Advent 2020, Todd provided some reflections related to the topics represented by the four candles in the traditional Advent wreath.
More episodes, including Bible reflections, are available on Todd Seifert's website.