THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Bishop formally calls for special annual conference session, Sept. 10
Dodge City standing strong with UMC as neighbors disaffiliate
Website additions, online courses focus on discipleship
Methodists worldwide helping others experience abundance of life
Missing something? Lost, found items from AC22 available at our office
Clergy retreat, for Sept. 25-27, is a time for learning, formation
Clergy invited to continue bolstering their discipleship
Mentoring registration for candidates, local pastors is now available
BOOM scholarships open; priority applications deadline Friday
After sermon series workshop, clergy will have six months of material
Lessons from God become more involved, complex as we grow
Online ministry certification opportunities begin in August
Videos from Laity Summit now available on Learning Lab
MERCY & JUSTICE
Micah Corps member reflects on historic day in Washington, D.C.
In-person ERT training scheduled for Sept. 17
'Being the Church' includes volunteering opportunity near Omaha
Friday is deadline for KMF 2022-23 seminary scholarships
Nebraska United Methodist Foundation offers ministry grants
Facebook Q&A planned for local churches July 27
BSA affiliation agreement now available to UM churches
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Cavitt is first female president of clergy group in Omaha
Kansas churches taking sides on abortion amendment vote
In other news
Bishop formally calls for special
annual conference session, Sept. 10
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has formally called a special session of the Great Plains Annual Conference, online, on Saturday, Sept. 10.
The session will include:
- Consideration of resolutions ratifying the disaffiliation of local churches from the United Methodist Church
- Consideration of action affirming the “GP Camps 2.0” governance model as adopted by Great Plains United Methodist Camps, Inc.
- Consideration of the 2023 budget for the Great Plains Annual Conference.
Read more here.
Dodge City standing strong
with UMC as neighbors disaffiliate
As a half-dozen of its neighbors in southwest Kansas have decided to disaffiliate this year, Dodge City First UMC is standing strong with The United Methodist Church.
Last month, the church held a special charge conference to reaffirm their stance behind the denomination.
Read more here.
Website additions, online
courses focus on discipleship
The Congregational Excellence Team introduces a new section on the conference website dedicated to Reimagining Discipleship: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/discipleship. Here you will find follow-up material from Alex and Hannah Absalom’s presentation at annual conference and links to other resources. You will find resources like the following on this page:
SOW: Season of Witness
WELCOME to the SOW: Season of Witness Course!
This course is designed to help you more fully develop an intentional pathway of discipleship in your unique context.
As your presenters, our prayer is that you are inspired and practically equipped to grow both as a disciple of Jesus, and simultaneously as a maker of disciples for Jesus!
We’re praying for you and cheering you on!
-- Alex & Hannah Absalom
Three upcoming discipleship webinars with the Absaloms:
Alex and Hannah Absalom presented at annual conference 2022. Were you interested in learning more? If your heart was stirred about discipleship, carry their message into the new year check out the upcoming live webinar the last Wednesdays of the month at 11:30 a.m. CT. The first webinar will be an overview of the book “Discipleship that Fits: The Five Types of Relationships God Uses to Help Us Grow” by Alex Absalom and Bobby Harrington. Over 500 copies of this book were given out at annual conference. Invite someone to join you in the webinar to review this book together!
The first webinar: Discipleship that Fits – July 26, 11:30 a.m. CT : Register here for a link to join the webinar.
The second webinar: Barriers to Embracing a Discipleship-Making Culture – Aug. 30, 11:30 a.m. CT :Register here for a link to join the webinar.
The third webinar: Transitions Between Contexts -- Sept. 27, 11:30 a.m. CT : Register here for a link to join the webinar.
More intentional discipleship resources
UMC Discipleship Ministries
"Intentional Discipleship" by Rev. Hollie Tapley
"Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations" by Junius B. Dotson
United Methodists worldwide helping
others experience abundance of life
United Methodists worldwide seek to bring abundant life to people at every stage through the hands-on ministries we support and the advocacy we do. In a new seven-part series, Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, explores the ways United Methodists value life and help others experience the abundance of life Jesus promises. The first two installments address maternal and neonatal health and the denomination's views on abortion and adoption.
Missing something? Lost, found items from AC22 available at our office
So you've been home from the 2022 annual conference for more than a month, but there's still something you can't find -- say, your black sweater, your white sweater, earrings, notebook or a necklace.
Those are just some of the items we've retrieved and are sitting in a lost and found box in the conference office.
If you can claim any of them, contact Julie Kohr at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-414-4217.
Clergy retreat, scheduled for Sept.
25-27, is a time for learning, formation
Would you benefit from having a two-day, two-night guided retreat to give you an opportunity to connect with others through worship together, take an honest look at how you’re doing, and also learn about creating a Rule of Life and Learning Plan for focusing your plan for growth?
For Your Life: Giving Your Soul Time and Means to Grow is a retreat for clergy, led by Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford and Rev. Dr. Shelly Petz, to help you create space to work on a plan for learning and formation for the year ahead. It includes time for honest reflection, introduces you to a template for growth in the year ahead, and helps you identify next steps in your individual development. You will have time to worship, space to spend time in solo reflection, and/or connection with others. The retreat will be held at Heartland Spirituality Center in Great Bend, Kansas, with a check-in at 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 with rest for your time away. We will wrap up by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.
The cost to participate is $50 and includes two nights of lodging, meals and a retreat notebook. Scholarships are available upon request. The deadline for registering is Thursday, Sept. 8.
To register and for more information, check out the website, www.greatplainsumc.org/foryourlife or email Ashlee Alley Crawford at email@example.com. (If this time doesn’t work for you, but you’re interested in creating this space, you can register for a self-directed retreat! Learn more here.)
Clergy invited to continue
bolstering their discipleship
As a continuation of the “Reimagine Discipleship” theme from the 2022 annual conference session, the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford and the Rev. Dr. Shelly Petz are inviting clergy to consider their own discipleship in this season so they can build on their leadership for their congregations.
They’re “going on the road” to invite conversation with several groups of clergy and are conducting some one-on-one interviews with a few more leaders. All are invited to watch videos of their conversations to learn more. And then clergy are invited to join in some Q-&-A sessions in small groups via Zoom in the fall.
The first video is available now, and two more will be released later this summer. Stay tuned for more information about the Q-&-A sessions with the Rev. Dr. James Bryan Smith and the Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff!
- Shelly and Ashlee talk first with Smith, associate professor of religion and Dallas Willard Chair of Spiritual Formation at Friends University in Wichita, and Tomson-DeGreeff, senior pastor at Trinity UMC in Hutchinson. Watch the video here.
- Another episode coming July 2022!
Read more about this series and find previous episodes here. For questions, reach out to Ashlee or Shelly.
Mentoring registration for candidates, local pastors is now available
Registration is open for 2022-23 group mentoring for certified candidates and local pastors.
There are several options. Find out more about mentoring in the Great Plains here: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/mentoring -- 201 or 301 groups will be best for most people. We have lots of great mentors, so sign up early to get your first choice! (Links will be emailed to you later this week and will be in next week’s GPconnect.) Local pastors participating in residency do not need to sign up for group mentoring. Residency fulfills the mentoring requirement. If you are in a Clergy Community of Practice group or would like to set up a one-on-one alternate plan, email Heather Clinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rev. Karen Jeffcoat (email@example.com) for instructions and approval.
If you believe you are exempt from mentoring, please email Heather or Karen to verify your exemption. And if you think you should be in a mentoring group but didn’t get the email that went out last week, contact Heather so we can make sure you’re on our list!
BOOM scholarships open for ’22-’23; priority applications deadline Friday
Applications are now being accepted for seminary scholarships for the fall semester and winter term.
Priority will be given to applications received by July 15, and the deadline to apply is Nov. 30. The scholarship amounts are the same for 2022-2023 as in 2021-2022.
The MEF scholarship (for certified candidates and local pastors) is $100/credit hour, up to 15 hours per scholarship period and the Seminary Trust Scholarship (for any GPUMC member) is $50/credit hour, up to 15 hours per scholarship period. Links to applications can be found at www.greatplainsumc.org/boomscholarships. There’s also information about the scholarships and eligibility requirements, and other scholarship opportunities.
Contact Rev. Karen Jeffcoat (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford (email@example.com) if you have questions.
After sermon series workshop, clergy
will have six months’ worth of material
Pastors are invited to join the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (Health Fund) for a free online sermon workshop: “Connecting Faith and Health: A Sermon-planning Workshop for Preaching with Impact.”
The Health Fund is dedicated to improving the health and wholeness of Kansans. Over the past year, the Health Fund has worked in partnership with Lisa Hancock, Ph.D, to develop a series of sermon guides that bring together scripture, theology, and health to help congregations connect their faith to health.
Each sermon guide contains multiple weeks; each week includes a call to worship, hymn selections, children’s sermon, call to action, and benediction, in addition to an exegesis and sermon notes section based on the week’s scripture passage.
Lisa Hancock will lead the workshop. Participants will learn more about each guide, have time for writing and group discussion, and will leave with up to 25 weeks of their liturgical sermon calendar planned.
When: Tuesday, July 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT
Who: Any UMC pastor is welcome to attend
Questions: Email Katie@healthfund.org
Lessons from God become
more involved, complex as we grow
“Jesus Loves Me,” Bryan Hankins writes, is one of the first lessons he learned in church.
“If we stay connected with God, we continue to learn and know more about God,” Hankins, Missouri River District director of Lay Servant Ministries, writes in the latest LSM blog. “The lessons become more involved and complex as we open ourselves and let the Holy Spirit guide and direct us.”
Read the blog here.
Online ministry certification
opportunities begin in August
A new cycle of online ministry certification courses is set to begin Aug. 22 at BeADisciple.com. BeADisciple.com is part of the Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College and has offered quality online educational experiences with roots in Wesleyan theology since 2006.
Church leaders and interested persons can begin progress toward certification in seven different disciplines — church administration and leadership, children's ministry, women’s ministries, spiritual formation, rural ministry, ministry with people with disabilities, and music ministry.
Requirements typically include successful completion of four online courses; each course is six weeks long. (Some programs include a 12-week practicum in place of the fourth course.) The four classes in this certification cycle are set to be held Aug. 22 to Sept. 30, Oct. 10 to Nov. 18, Jan. 16 to Feb. 24 and Mar. 13 to Apr. 28 (no class during Holy Week).
Full information is available online at www.beadisciple.com/ifd-certifications.
Unlike individual interest courses, persons working toward certifications move through the sequence with a cohort of learners. This allows for sharing of participant knowledge and experience.
“Many of our certification learners are already serving in active ministry, and they tend to find that the camaraderie of sharing a common goal is one of the most rewarding aspects of the courses,” says Lori Richey, BeADisciple program director for certifications.
The certification in church administration and leadership is new to BeADisciple and is intended for pastors and laypersons in congregational leadership roles. The first class, Biblical Compassion and Church Administration, offers a non-denominational Christian perspective.
For more information or to enroll in the course, visit BeADisciple.com.
Videos from Laity Summit
now available on Learning Lab
Videos of all 15 of the workshops from the 2022 Laity Summit are now available in the Learning Lab portal. Build your own leadership transcript!
Here is the Laity Summit resources page for Laity Summit: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/laity-summit-resources. Videos can be found here as well.
Here is a video from Shane Warta, lay leadership coordinator, for the Learning Lab platform to remind laity in the Great Plains Conference how to register.
Mercy & Justice
Micah Corps member reflects on
historic day in Washington, D.C.
Micah Corps members were in Washington, D.C., last month when the Supreme Court announced that the Roe v. Wade abortion decision had been overturned.
"Everything politically that I thought would never happen keeps on happening," writes Charlotte Carroll, left, in the latest essay from Micah Corps members.
Read more here.
In-person ERT training
scheduled for Sept. 17
Our next in-person ERT training is scheduled! If you would like to join our ministry of compassion and care, make disciples of Jesus Christ, and meet new people, come take the training and be ready to respond.
What: Early Response Team Training (Disaster Response)
Where: Waverly First UMC, 14410 Folkestone St, Waverly, Nebraska
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17
Trainer: Rev. Joshua Johnson
'Being the Church' includes
volunteering opportunity near Omaha
Volunteer with United Way of the Midlands as it assembles more than 5,000 Shine Bright hygiene kits for local area schoolchildren in need.
Each kit contains essential items such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, deodorant, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products and much more. Each kit will be distributed by school social workers to help children "Shine Bright" this school year.
The Shine Bright event will be at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Aug. 10-12. You can sign up for one or more two-hour volunteer opportunities. Sign up as an individual, with friends and family, or as a corporate team. Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.
Please log-in and sign up to volunteer here.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday is deadline for KMF
2022-23 seminary scholarships
The Kansas Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce seminary scholarship applications are currently being accepted for the 2022-23 academic year.
- The KMF Seminary Scholarship provides support for ministerial students who are from or serving in Kansas and working toward ordination in the Great Plains Conference.
- The Pass the Torch Scholarship is a ministry of retired clergy of the Great Plains Conference as well as their spouses and surviving spouses who are committed to providing funds to educate quality seminary students to lead the church. The scholarship is open to seminary students from the Great Plains Conference.
For more information on these scholarships, visit www.kansasmethodistfoundation.org/scholarships.
The deadline to apply is July 15.
The Kansas Methodist Foundation is grateful for the many individuals, families, and churches who have given to make these scholarships possible. If you are interested in helping raise up the next generation of church leaders by supporting one of these scholarships or creating a named scholarship to honor your ministry, a mentor, or a loved one, contact Tyler at email@example.com or 620-664-9623.
Nebraska United Methodist
Foundation offers ministry grants
The Nebraska United Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce a ministry grant opportunity available to Nebraska churches and affiliated agencies of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference.
The Foundation is able to award these grants due to the generosity of donors to the Gifts from the Heart Endowment Fund. These grant dollars are available to enhance and expand your ministries. The ultimate goal of these awards is to provide assistance, both for new ministries and thriving ministries wishing to grow.
These grants are made for programs and activities and include operating expenses and supplies necessary for those programs or activities. They are not made for building repair, replacement, or expansion.
The application deadline is Sept. 30. For application materials and more information, please visit our website at https://www.numf.org/scholarships-grants.
If you have questions about the application process or would like to talk to the Foundation about how you can help grow these types of grants, call us 877-495-5545.
Facebook Q&A planned
for local churches July 27
United Methodist Communications has a question-and-answer session planned to help congregations grow through marketing and outreach. The session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT Wednesday, July 27 on Facebook.com/umcom. Communications experts will be on hand to answer questions throughout that timeframe.
BSA affiliation agreement
now available to UM churches
The Boy Scouts of America and The United Methodist Church have forged a new relationship, and part of that is the creation of an affiliation agreement for local churches that want to host and have a key supporting role with a Scouting group. A new facilities-use agreement is intended for churches that just want to provide space for Scouting meetings. Both documents and other resources are now available online.
Read documents and watch explanatory videos
Read about new relationship with BSA
Across the Connection
Cavitt is first female president
of clergy group in Omaha
Rev. Portia Cavitt, who gave a memorable sermon on the Friday of annual conference this year, is once again a trailblazer.
The pastor of Omaha Clair Memorial UMC is the first woman to become president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in Omaha.
“I've watched a long time and now it's time to share and give direction of where we're going,” Cavitt, who has been at Clair Memorial for 15 years, told KMTV.
Watch video from KMTV, and from KETV.
Kansas churches taking sides
on abortion amendment vote
Among the churches taking a stand on the vote for a constitutional amendment that would open the way for an abortion ban is Lenexa St. Paul’s UMC.
The Rev. Lora Andrews tells KCUR that the church council voted to post signs opposing the amendment, although she said church members are divided on the issue.
“It’s a chance for us to witness how we live out our faith,” Andrews said.
Read more here.
In other news
- Ministry Matters, July 13, 2022
- Leading Ideas, July 13, 2022
- Great Plains UMM, July 2022
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, July 12, 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Children’s Ministry, July 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship Planning, July 11, 2022
- Leading Ideas Talks, July 9, 2022
- SmallChurch.org, July 8, 2022
- Religion and Race, July 7, 2022
- Camp Norwesca, July 2022
Classifieds are posted for 30 days unless otherwise requested. Please allow three business days for your classified to appear on the website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to update or renew your classified. Submit your classified here.
- Methodist hymnals available for free
- The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is recruiting an administrative assistant
- Director of children and youth ministries opening in Sheridan, AR
- Food Truck Party Crafts available for donation
- Free Songs for Praise and Worship books
- Director of student ministry position open at Tarrytown UMC, Austin, TX
- Pratt First UMC is looking for a children, youth and families minister
- Used handbell tables wanted for Goodland, KS UMC
- GCFA is recruiting an inbound marketing and content specialist
- GCFA is seeking candidates for a senior help desk specialist
- Hospitality and facility services director needed in Little Rock, AR
- Director of family ministries (full-time) position open in in Columbia, MO
- Derby-Madison Avenue UMC is seeking a part-time choir director
- Director of student ministries needed at First UMC, Waxahachie, TX
- Part-time modern worship leader/director needed at First UMC, Waxahachie TX
- Saint Paul's UMC is hiring an audio/visual director, Papillion, NE
- Children's ministry director position open First UMC, Mountain Home, AR
- Director of student ministries needed at First UMC, Mountain Home, AR