Laity Summit Workshops



Workshop Schedule

10-11 a.m. Morning Workshops

1:15 - 2:15 p.m. Afternoon Workshops

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Workshop Description and Speaker Bios


Class Meetings and Leader Basics – Rev. Mark Baldwin & Arla Kvanvig

Pastor Mark Baldwin is in his fifteenth year as a United Methodist Local Pastor. He served Hebron and Chester for 10 years and is currently serving the HSP Parish which includes Hershey, Sutherland and Paxton. Mark is a graduate of Arthur County High school and had a bachelor’s degree in History. Mark worked in broadcasting for over 25 years doing play-by-play for many sports and received his call to serve God in 2004. Along with serving his three churches, Mark is the facilitator for the Great West Strategy Team, the Coordinator for the Networks in the Great West and is also the Network Leader for the Platte River Network. Mark has been married for over 31 years to his wife Linda, who is the Chief Nursing Officer at Banner Ogallala Community Hospital. They have one son named Nathaniel.

Arla Kvanvig is a 1994 graduate of Mullen Public Schools. She attended UNK where she ran track earning All American honors and graduated in 1998 with a degree in Advertising and a minor in Sports Administration. She worked 3 years at the Kearney Hub Newspaper as a creative designer and sales representative. She became a stay-at-home mom 19 years ago along with balancing part time jobs over the years as a free-lance designer/secretary for the Axtell Community Schools, secretary for Axtell First Presbyterian Church, and her current position as the Secretary/Class Leader for Mullen and Tryon United Methodist Churches. Arla has been an active volunteer in both the Axtell and Mullen communities. She has served as Den Mother for Cub Scouts, Club Leader for Country Clovers 4-H Club, Treasurer for Hooker County 4-H Council, Assistant Secretary for Mullen Alumni Board, VBS Coordinator, Sunday School teacher/superintendent, Christian Ed Council, Outreach Council, Presbyterian Women President, SPPRC Chairperson, and Youth Football, Wrestling, Volleyball, and T-ball/Baseball volunteer. She currently resides in Mullen, Nebraska with her husband of 23 years Mike who is the Mullen High School Principal and their 4 children, Ty, Tel, Tate, and Ava.


Mark and Arla will walk through a class meeting process and include:

  1. History of Wesley’s Class Model, including the presentation to SPRC asking for someone who would be willing to be the class leader
  2. Arla will talk about her reasonings for taking on the role of class leader, then the process used to fill the pulpit every Sunday and for special services such as Funerals and weddings.
  3. Sharing about the use of networks to help support discipleship

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Becoming Anti-racist and Disrupting Racism – Rev. Michelle Ledder

As a Director of Program Ministries, Michelle crafts and facilitates initiatives focusing on the Institutional Equity priority of GCORR’s Ministry Model. She works to help all levels of the connection create the beloved community with systems, policies, and processes that level the playing field for everyone.

Workshop: This workshop will center on one big idea: the differences between anti-racism and defending oneself against charges of racism. The content will focus on defining anti-racism as interrupting and dismantling racism; identifying which actions fall into categories of anti-racism (avoidance or defending oneself against charges of racism); and building resilience to white fragility.

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Finding Peace in an Anxious World – Rev. Bonnie McCord

Rev. Bonnie McCord is an ordained elder in the Great Plains Annual Conference, currently serving the Red Cloud-Guide Rock United Methodist Parish in south-central Nebraska. She is married with two grown sons and four grandchildren. She enjoys the beauty of creation, spending time with family, and her five fur babies.

Bonnie is active in Mission U, an annual opportunity for transformation and growth through study sponsored by the Great Plains Conference UMW and the Great Plains Mercy and Justice Team.

Workshop: “Finding Peace in an Anxious World,” was the Mission U spiritual growth study for 2020. This study uses the book of Proverbs, the Serenity Prayer, and assorted prayer practices to help guide Christians through anxiety, worry, and fear to a place of peace that surpasses all understanding. Her workshop will be an overview of this 8-hour mission study.

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Growing our Spheres of Influence – Mark Queen

Mark is a disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father of three, owner of several small businesses, author, public speaker, and certified lay speaker for the UMC Flint Hills District. He specializes in building navigation teams that assist entrepreneurs, leaders, churches, and pastors in their pursuits both personally and entrepreneurially. Just because you want to run your own company, or an organization doesn't mean you have to do it by yourself. Higher levels of capability and results are attainable through higher levels of collaboration.  Mark has been called a "life coach" by many entrepreneurs. Mark gives his time, expertise, and resources to a number of organizations including his local church, Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, Rotary International, and founded a business resource group called BIG. He spends time regularly in the pulpit and on the stage engaging and challenging audiences. He has served as president and chair for many organizations, as well as serving on several boards. Mark spends most of his professional time with his company Corescore. He is humbled to lead the team assisting leaders to move from a life of success to a life of significance. They believe what they do is valuable and life forming for clients. Being led by Jesus to help leaders and entrepreneurs get unstuck and grow in all three areas of life, while not achieving it at the expense of one's faith or family, is their mission. 

Workshop: We all have spheres of influence. We are called to follow Christ in each one of them. This workshop will engage and educate you in an entertaining way. You will learn another way to escape from our traps that hold us back from growing our spheres of influence. Attendees will identify their spheres. We will break at least one trap and identify a sphere that you want to make an impact in. We will brainstorm to form a personalized movement and identify who can help you to begin that impact. We will answer the question "Why bother" and be challenged to commit in the strongest means possible.

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Charge It! Credit Cards and Leadership – Laurie Sampson

Laurie is the learning and development coordinator for the Office of Research and Economic Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For more than 20 years she has developed and facilitated leadership and professional development training for her employer, community groups, professional organizations, and her church. Laurie holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from UNL and an MA in Leadership from Doane University. She earned the Certified Performance Technologist designation from the International Society for Performance Improvement. She is a Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner, certified in the DiSC assessment, and is working towards becoming a CliftonStrengths coach. Laurie and her husband, Sam have an adult son Nate, and they live in Lincoln.

Workshop: This session is not about debt accumulation or spending money, but instead we’ll focus on what credit cards and leadership have in common: grace. Anyone who has ever carried a plastic card has depended upon the grace period to pay off the charges. We’ll explore whether your leadership style extends grace to those you direct, which includes confidence, style, courage, empathy, and inclusion, along with humility. In addition to being gracious, we’ll discuss what it looks like when a leader accepts grace.

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Communications in a Virtual World – Todd Seifert

Todd Seifert, conference communications director, is a Certified Lay Minister who hosts In Layman’s Terms podcast that features stories about discipleship in the Great Plains Conference. He interviews with people from throughout Kansas and Nebraska, and reflections on scripture as a way of sharing thoughts on the Bible with people who either haven't read the Bible, are confused by the Bible or who just want a refresher.

Workshop: So much has changed since the onset of COVID-19, and the realities for the church have been altered forever. Congregations have a decision to make: Do they stay stuck in the past or embrace the opportunities that come with the freedom to change how we “do church.” In this workshop, Todd Seifert, conference communications director, will explain how COVID has forever changed how the church worships and communicates with congregants, and he will provide some ideas for how laity can get involved in the worship and communications ministries of their churches, usually making use of skills they already have learned in other facets of life.

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Gospel Discipleship – Rev. Michelle Morris

The Rev. Dr. Michelle J. Morris is an ordained elder in the Arkansas Conference. She served Arkansas churches in West Memphis and Fort Smith at Wesley and Cavanaugh, and now serves as an Associate Pastor overseeing the digital campus of FUMC Conway. She has also served in the Arkansas Conference Offices, working on church revitalization and new church starts. That work gave rise to Gospel Discipleship, which helps people understand their discipleship in terms of defining paths spelled out in each of the four Gospels. She bleeds Razorback red, holding two degrees from the University of Arkansas – BA in English and French and MA in Comparative Literature. She also has her MDiv and a PhD in Religious Studies (emphasis New Testament), both from SMU in Dallas. Michelle writes for the Adult Bible Studies curriculum and is one of the writers for the CEB Women’s Bible. She is passionate about connecting people to Jesus in meaningful ways and loves to help people gain a deeper understanding of their discipleship and how to move forward in it.

Workshop: Rev. Dr. Michelle Morris will introduce you to a way of understanding discipleship using the four gospels as models for distinct understandings and paths to Jesus. She will also discuss how this understanding can help a church have clarity about who they are and how they can reach others. Come to this workshop to learn if you are a Markan, Matthean, Lukan, Johannine, or blended disciple, and what that means for living out your faith!

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Launching Congregational Care – Susan Bell & Nanette Smith

Nanette Smith is a wife, mother, follower of Christ, and a member of Church of the Resurrection. She has enjoyed work in women’s ministry, crossroads' ministry, and as a congregational care minister. Nan has been married for 36 years to Doug and has two grown children, Emma and Josh. She and Doug have a beautiful granddaughter, Ruth, and soon to welcome another granddaughter in April. She is honored to share the Congregational Care model for caring for the people of God.

Susan Bell served on staff at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for 19 years. Her passion for caring for people and providing support to them, drew her to the Congregational Care Ministry for the last nine years of her tenure at Resurrection. Susan served in many roles, but her role as a Congregational Care Minister was the most fulfilling for her. Susan is married with two grown children and a new “Covid” puppy named Buddy.

Workshop: Congregational Care Ministry provides hope and companionship for people that are hurting. Join us if you are interested in learning a model of care to connect your congregation as an extension of the pastoral role for those in your community that are experiencing difficult times.  In this workshop, you will learn ways to use your gifts and graces of compassion, encouragement, and organization. 

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