Great Plans for the Great Plains – #GPGP or #Kanaska

I support the formation of a new United Methodist Annual Conference that would cover Kansas and Nebraska. This possibility was put before the annual conference sessions of Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West this year as a five finger vote (PDF). This is basically a way to share a level of approval or disapproval without an up or down vote. You can read more about it at Three conferences express support for moving forward as one.

I believe that it was wise to receive this input before the opportunity to vote up or down on this proposal. The team that is working on considering this transition has a great deal of work still ahead. I was most hopeful about the openness of sharing the responses to the vote. You can find all of the open ended responses online here. I read through some but not all of the comments. For me, the willingness to share these responses is a positive sign. I am confident that the transition team, along with those addressing some of the technical changes will be able to move forward in a way that will bring positive change across the area.

Kansas West Annual Conference – Day 3 #ksw2011

Day 3 of Annual Conference went well. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We took the 5 finger vote in response to the Great Plan for the Great Plains, in which we are considering the possibility of one annual conference across the states of Kansas and Nebraska
  • We passed resolutions to close seven United Methodist Churches. This is never easy, but it is necessary.
  • The Harry Denman Evangelism Award was awarded to three recipients.
  • The Bridges to the Future capital campaign which was undertaken
  • Sharing a meal with Jeff and Amy to talk about life and parenting, as they are a month away from a new member of their family.
  • Completed election of our general and jurisdictional conference delegation. Laity seem to beat the clergy every year and this is no exception.
Life is good as part of the Kansas West Annual Conference.

Kansas West Annual Conference – Day 1 #ksw2011

Pronto Pups
Image via Wikipedia

It was a good first full day of Kansas West Annual Conference. Some of my reflections from the day:

  • The Great Plans for the Great Plains conversation about a new annual conference across Kansas and Nebraska continues to be a lively.
  • The Kansas State Fairgrounds has provided an excellent venue for meeting. (Although, I still wish that a Pronto Pup stand was open.)
  • I enjoy being a teller. This involves passing out and picking up ballots, resolutions and other material to the members of the Annual Conference.
  • It is very much a means of grace to gather together in Christian conferencing.
  • It was good to hear from The Reverend Cynthia Fierro Harvey the Deputy General Secretary of The United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Evaluation that Leads to Cuts: Senior Staff Retreat (4 of 4)

Cutting warm bread, at Q's party, Broadview Ne...
Image by Wonderlane via Flickr

The conversation around the  Call to Action: Reordering the Life of the UMC and the subsequent UMC Leadership Summit, as well as the conversation in Kansas and Nebraska about Great Plans for the Great Plains: A Vision (PDF Link), I have been reflecting on the time that I spent on the spring senior staff retreat at Resurrection in which we read together, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.

How do you do evaluate the programs and ministries of your local church? It is part of my life in ministry to always ask the question – How could we improve? A time of reflection, evaluation and planning to improve is important. What I had not considered carefully before was evaluation that lead to an ending. This is not just asking – How could we improve? Instead it is asking the question,  “Do we need to be doing this any longer?” This could be connected with my earlier post about strategic pruning.

How do you evaluate? Does your evaluation lead to cuts?

Seasons of Work and Rest: Senior Staff Retreat (3 of 4)

"The Covered Wagon of the Great Western M...
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The conversation around the  Call to Action: Reordering the Life of the UMC and the subsequent UMC Leadership Summit, as well as the conversation in Kansas and Nebraska about Great Plans for the Great Plains: A Vision (PDF Link), I have been reflecting on the time that I spent on the spring senior staff retreat at Resurrection in which we read together, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.

It is important to attend to seasons of work and rest. I am aware of this across the course of a year. As a pastor, there are seasons of the year when I will work many more hours in a week than others, for example – Easter and Christmas Eve. I have become better at paying attention to these ebbs and flows. What I realized on this retreat is that this is true across the course of a week and a day as well.

In a week, there will be days when work is more and less intense.

In a day, there will be hours when work is more and less intense.

From your experience, have you found this to be true? I would be interested to hear more – yes or no.

Strategic Pruning: Senior Staff Retreat (2 of 4)

View of the Great Plains near Lincoln, Nebraska
Image via Wikipedia
The conversation around the  Call to Action: Reordering the Life of the UMC and the subsequent UMC Leadership Summit, as well as the conversation in Kansas and Nebraska about Great Plans for the Great Plains: A Vision (PDF Link), I have been reflecting on the time that I spent on the spring senior staff retreat at Resurrection in which we read together, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.

If your organization is strategically planning, it is also important to strategically prune.

When have you or your church stopped doing something good so that you could do something better and better align with God’s work in the world?

Wesley’s Focus on Fruit: Senior Staff Retreat (1 of 4)

Gwennap Pit

The conversation around the  Call to Action: Reordering the Life of the UMC and the subsequent UMC Leadership Summit, as well as the conversation in Kansas and Nebraska about Great Plans for the Great Plains: A Vision (PDF Link), I have been reflecting on the time that I spent on the spring senior staff retreat at Resurrection in which we read together, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.

John Wesley focused on outcomes and fruitfulness in ministry. He initiated practices in his ministry and among Methodists which he saw bearing fruit in God’s kingdom, despite the fact that some of these practices did not make sense to him. Wesley writes in his journal in 1739:

“Saturday, [March] 31. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scare reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the savings of souls almost a sin, if it had not been done in a church.

Mon [April] 2. – At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile, and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city, to about three thousand people.”

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about practices that bear fruit despite not making sense to you?