Laity Summit Speaker Bios

 

Morning & Afternoon Session 1

  • Call to Servant Leadership with Laurie White & Mary Brooks

Laurie White

Laurie White

Laurie began serving as the lay leader/lay member to Annual Conference in 2009. Having completed the basic lay servant class in 2009, Laurie became a certified lay speaker in 2010. Completing all requirements for certified lay ministry in 2013, she has served quarter time at King UMC in Great Bend, KS as DSA/CLM since July 1, 2013. Laurie served on the Hutchinson District Lay Servant Committee from 2011 through 2016. In December 2016, she completed the Spiritual Direction Certification Course through SMU/Perkins, Dallas, TX. She is a member of the Spiritual Directors International (SDI) and is currently a volunteer for Kindred Hospice.

 

 

Mary Brooks

Mary Brooks

Mary believes our lay servants, lay speakers and lay ministers are more important now than any time in our history, as more and more churches are dependent on lay leadership to continue the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Mary is a member at Lyndon UMC, where she serves as SPRC chair. She is also a member of the conference personnel team and the Five Rivers district visioning team.

 

 

 

 

  • Connecting Spiritual Gifts Contextually with Rev. Bonnie McCord and Jada Hodgson

Rev. Bonnie McCord

Rev. Bonnie McCord

Rev. Bonnie McCord is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, currently serving in Chadron, Nebraska. She is married with two grown sons and four grandchildren.

She was raised on a ranch in the Sandhills northeast of Oshkosh, Nebraska. Even though she has lived in urban centers, she prefers rural communities. Thus, rural issues affecting the church and the surrounding community are close to her heart.  

She began her ministry as a certified lay speaker, which prepared her for full-time ministry. She strongly believes in empowering and resourcing the laity of the United Methodist Church in order to create a strong foundation for mission and ministry.

 

Jada Hodgson

Jada Hodgson

Jada Hodgson is a cradle United Methodist and third generation lay speaker. Her grandfather was a district lay speaker in the Kansas East Conference. Jada’s mom entered lay speaking as district UMW vice president, one year speaking in 50 different churches. Love for and service to the small membership church is in Jada’s genes.

It is an absolute thrill to be present at the birth of the form of ministry to which you are being called. Jada was there when the General Conference created the certified lay minister. In June 2005, the Kansas East Conference recognized Jada as the first certified lay minister in the United Methodist family.

In non-church, but still ministry, life, Jada is an Elder Law attorney. Owning her own practice frees her to serve as a certified lay minister.

Following the 2015 deaths of her parents, Jada wrote a book on the first year of grief. It is titled, "A view from the fog, a story of grief and loss, and faith and hope." With that loss, Jada’s ministry changed. She now engages in facilitating grief support and pastoral care for those experiencing loss. She has prepared courses for the Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministry and Lay Servant Ministries on topics of “Funerals” and “Grief.”

Jada’s second book, "Were you there?" is a fiction work setting a spy from high priest Caiaphas’ court in Jesus’ camp from the tomb of Lazarus to the Resurrection and beyond.

Jada is currently working on a devotional book of prayer and stories on grief to be titled, "Seasons of the Rock; God and grief and stuff," with the intent of publishing in 2020.

 

  • Partnership in Lay Leadership with Gary Robbins & Randall Hodgkinson

Gary Robbins

Gary is a member of Countryside UMC in Topeka. He is a local church lay leader and has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry. Gary is also a writer and consultant.

 

Randall Hodgkinson

Randall Hodgkinson

Randall is a member of Topeka First UMC and is the associate conference lay leader. He will be a lay delegate to General Conference 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning & Afternoon Session 2

  • Leadership Development featuring Jeffrey Croft from The Eureka Partners

Pastor Jeffrey Croft

Jeffrey Croft

Jeff is from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He has an undergraduate degree in marketing from Robert Morris University and a Master of Divinity degree from The Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He has served as a pastor since 1993 in a variety of settings. In 2003, he started a new church in urban Mansfield, Ohio called All God’s Children, The Church in the "Hood." Jeff has a passion to walk alongside individuals and organizations as they discover new possibilities and direction. He currently resides in Akron, Ohio with his wife and two children.

 

 

  • Laity Abundance featuring Adam Barlow-Thompson from The Neighboring Movement

Adam Barlow-Thompson

Adam Barlow-Thompson

Adam Barlow-Thompson is the executive director and a co-founder of the Neighboring Movement. Adam loves playing banjo and laughing loudly. He can be seen around the neighborhood playing music on the front porch or riding his bike to the office. Adam is always up for a story or a laugh and is an eternal optimist when it comes to his neighborhood. Adam is married to Ashley and they have a son named Prescott.

When Adam isn't working at the Neighboring Movement, he is a trainer in effective communication and positive conflict (adambarlowthompson.com). He is co-owner of Servants By Design, the spiritual model of the Process Communication Model which offers a personality inventory, tools for self-awareness, and communication strategies (servantsbydesign.com).

 

  • Energizing Leadership featuring Thane Chastain from The Kansas Leadership Center

Thane Chastain

Thane Chastain

With a B.A. in history and communication from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, and a master’s in mass communication from Wichita State University, Thane has worked in youth ministry, sales, radio, television, and at the college and university level in teaching and administration. As a volunteer and consultant, he has played key roles over the past dozen years in the ever-growing Tallgrass Film Festival, held the third week of October each year in downtown Wichita. He has volunteered over 40 years with the American Legion’s Boys State of Kansas and over 20 years with the American Legion’s Boys Nation program held near Washington D.C. each summer. He has met several U.S. presidents, yet knows his work with thousands of young people is far more important.