About David

David Burke has been the content specialist for the Great Plains Conference since December 2015. He serves as the primary news reporter for the conference, telling stories of the people and ministries in Kansas and Nebraska. He spent nearly 25 years as an arts and entertainment reporter and columnist in Iowa and Illinois before returning to his native Kansas.


David Burke, conference content specialist, hosts this monthly podcast that features one-on-one interviews with those making a difference in the two-state area and beyond through their ministries and outreach. 

Have an idea for a podcast topic? Contact David at dburke@greatplainsumc.org.


Featured Episodes


Women of Justice

Five districts in the Great Plains Conference have recently added positions specifically addressing justice issues in their area. In this episode of "Potluck," we talk to the four people facing those new tasks in an episode we're calling "Women of Justice."

Reporting the News While Sharing the Good News

After more than 40 years as a reporter with the Topeka Capital-Journal and now with WIBW television, Phil Anderson has entered the ministry. He's in the middle of course of study while serving as the pastor of Kansas Avenue and Oakland UMCs, both in Topeka. Anderson talks about his entry into ministry and compares his two vocations. This episode debuted Sept. 15, 2020.




The Art of Hospitality

The warm welcome that visitors get when they enter the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood is all by design and — two of the hospitality leaders of the church say — is a reflection on the church's founding pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton.

Yvonne Gentile and Debi Nixon have written a book, "The Art of Hospitality: A Practical Guide for a Ministry of Radical Welcome," that is meant to help churches develop a culture to truly become a warm, welcoming place for people seeking an encounter with the Holy Spirit. This episode debuted Aug. 31, 2020.



Rev. Brenda Davids

"Potluck" host David Burke's friendship with the Rev. Brenda Davids, pastor of Council Grove Dunlap-Wilsey UMCs in Kansas, goes way back — before they were born! They explain how their lives have intersected many times through the years, as well as her former career in baking and how she transitioned to becoming a pastor, as well as how her churches are surviving and thriving during the pandemic.
This episode debuted Aug. 26, 2020.



Rev. Dee Williamston

In this episode, recorded before the postponement of the General and Jurisdictional conferences, Williamston — Salina/Hays District superintendent — talks about her candidacy for bishop in The United Methodist Church, including her inspiration to try for the post and what it takes to spread the word about her commitment to the church. She also talks about growing up in Topeka, her educational setbacks and how work in the Army National Guard prepared her for the ministry. This episode debuted May 19, 2020.


Maye Saenz

This two-part series provided the people of the Great Plains Conference with the opportunity to get to know better our bishop's spouse. In part 1, which debuted Dec. 6, 2019, Maye Saenz talks about her childhood in Texas, the importance of her longtime friends and a high school romance with a star football player — the principal’s son — that led to marriage. In part 2, which debuted Dec. 11, 2019, Maye talks about the importance of family in her life, including the holiday traditions she’s kept through the years, and how her family remembers its more challenging years while enjoying their current lives. 

Rev. Junius Dotson

The general secretary of Discipleship Ministries, Dotson returns to Wichita — where he spent 14 years as pastor Saint Mark UMC, the largest African American congregation in the Great Plains — to talk about his then-new book, “Soul Reset.” In the book, Dotson opens up about his personal mental health struggles and the need for pastors to take time out for themselves.

This episode debuted Oct. 22, 2019.



Trever Rook

Neighbors Church, a United Methodist Church plant in Lincoln, is as unique as its founder. Trever Rook is a former standup comedian and radio host who reluctantly felt the call to go into ministry. The church, started in a suburban subdivision rec room, believes in reaching out to people where they are. Both Rook and his church have a fondness for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

This episode debuted Oct. 4, 2019.


Ronda Kingwood

In the debut episode of “Potluck,” Pastor Ronda Kingwood talks about turning a campus of Saint Mark UMC in Wichita into the Heart of Christ Church, and its vision for the future. An accomplished vocalist and actress, Kingwood also talks about what led her to turn to the ministry full time and how Heart of Christ is different from its former parent.

This episode debuted Sept. 20, 2019.