I Speak in Favor of One Conference in Nebraska and Kansas #kwc12 #gpgp

English: , located on west side of just north ...

English: , located on west side of just north of the Nebraska-Kansas border in southern . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was my first time to speak on the floor of annual conference. While it was not exactly what came out, this is what I prepared:

My name is Andrew Conard. I am a clergy member of the annual conference.

I am currently serving at Church of the Resurrection in the Kansas City area and will begin serving at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado beginning July 1.

I speak in favor of forming the Great Plains Annual Conference.

Since its statehood more than 150 years ago, Kansas has been a place of action, a place where people could rally around a cause. Whether it was the abolition of slavery, settling the untamed prairie or recovering from disaster, Kansans mobilized around the cause and demonstrated great leadership abilities.

This is the time to demonstrate leadership in the United Methodist Church on the Great Plains. The annual conference exists to equip the local church for ministry. Becoming one annual conference in Kansas and Nebraska creates the best opportunity for the conference to fulfill its purpose on the Great Plains so that all of our local churches can make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Since I was first appointed to serve in Kansas in 2006, I have prayed every week for three things: the mission and vision of the local church where I serve, renewal within the United Methodist Church and spiritual revival across the state. I believe that forming the Great Plains Annual Conference is the next faithful step in our life together of living God’s dream for us as United Methodists in Nebraska and Kansas.

Members of my family are active in the United Methodist churches in Norwich, Plains, Sterling, Burdett and First-Hutchinson. My father is a United Methodist pastor and his father was a United Methodist pastor. The Kansas West Annual Conference is my home.

The month before we began to serve under appointment in Kansas, my wife and I were driving to Colorado on our honeymoon and we made a point to visit two of the churches where my granddad was appointed – the United Methodist Churches in Tribune and Towner on the Kansas / Colorado border. It was a blessing to step into those sacred spaces. I am proud of the United Methodist lay and clergy people who have come before me and been a part of faithful and fruitful ministry all across this Annual Conference for decades. This annual conference is part of who I am.

The Great Plains Annual Conference will be a change. There is no way around it. I believe that this change is the next faithful step in our life together as United Methodists on the Great Plains. I pray that we will continue together in faithful and fruitful ministry.

One hundred years from now, I want the people of the United Methodist Church in Nebraska and Kansas to look back and remember 2012 as a milestone in our lives together when courageous United Methodist took action that fanned the flames of spiritual revival across the Great Plains.

I urge you to vote in favor of forming the Great Plains Annual Conference.

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Institute: What’s the Point? (5 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

I am unable to deny that there are some positive outcomes to Institute. I was still left with the question, What’s the point? It could have been:

  • Provide a safe place for students
  • Offer freely given love as part of a Christian community
  • Create a place where people are always accepted
  • Meet new people
  • Move forward on the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian.
  • Have fun and play games
  • Create a culture of hearing God’s call to ministry

After a week, I am not sure what is the driving purpose of Institute. Those who come to camp become part of the leadership team that plans the next year. Students come year after year. Adults come to serve because they came when they were young. It has been going for 99 years…

I gained some additional insight from Notes on Camp and commend it to you as a great listen and insight into summer camp of all sorts.

Institute: Real Life Outcomes (4 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

I have a tendency, for good and bad, to focus on the outcomes of projects, events or ministry areas to which I commit my time. The outcomes of Institute seem to be a mixed bag for me. This year there were clearly students whose lives were changed by their experience of God at camp. This is an undeniable outcome that is difficult to dispute. If even one life is changed or one student decides to follow Jesus, is not the entire effort worth it? Maybe so… I cannot deny that God is at work through Institute. At the same time, I believe that with changes the week could be more meaningful for a greater number of students with lower anxiety for leaders, student and adult.

What about your local church? What are the outcomes of the projects, events or ministry areas? Is there good as well as bad that is accomplished through the work of the community?

Institut(ion): In Every Sense of the Word (3 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

Institute is an institution with the good and the bad that it brings. There are rich traditions and a history that brings the past to light and looks to the future. Many of the adult leaders at camp this summer remember an experience of the very same camp when they were young. One of the pastors among the adult leaders remembers feeling first called to ministry in the very place where we had morning worship during the week. However, the rich history has the side effect of narrowing the vision of what could be possible for a camp among the high school students of the Kansas East Conference. There are some practices that are clearly leftovers from time gone by and while faithful have ceased to be relevant.

What about in your local church? How has the past shaped who the community is today? In what ways does the history shape both the present and the future?

Institute 2010: God’s All Stars

Today begins my first experience of Kansas East Youth Institute. From a promotional poster:

For almost 100 years, young people have come to Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., to attend United Methodist Youth Institute. Institute is a tradition of the Kansas East Conference Council on Youth Ministry. Institute is a unique week of spiritual formation and discipleship for senior high youth. At Institute, youth are taught to both receive and give care as taught by Jesus Christ.

Youth who have completed the eighth grade through graduating high school seniors are eligible to attend Institute.

The 2010 summer theme is “God’s All-Stars.” The Institute Vision Team selected this theme with you in mind. We will consider how people whom God calls upon for leadership are often a different type of All-Star than those the rest of the world calls upon for leadership.

Here goes something…

Kansas East Annual Conference – #kseumc

Resurrection is hosting the Kansas East Annual Conference. While I am a full elder in the Kansas West Annual Conference, I am currently serving a church located in the East. I care a great deal about spiritual revival across the state of Kansas and pray for that every day that I come to church.

Resurrection Online is hosting the stream of the worship services and plenary speakers. You can find the stream live at http://kansaseast.org/stream.

Happy Conferencing!

Choosing Excellence: A Life of Intentional Ministry

This is the theme for the 2010 Kansas Area Professional Ministry Seminar this week in Wichita, KS. From the website:

“Choosing Excellence: A Life of Intentional Ministry” is the theme of the 2010 Kansas Area Professional Ministry Seminar.

Dr. Paul Nixon, author of “I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church,” will speak on excellence in church leadership.

Rev. Susanna Southard, Phillips Theological Seminary instructor, will speak on excellence in Biblical exegesis and study.

I am excited to be part of this event for several reasons:

  • It is an excellent continuing education event.
  • It provides an opportunity for people from both Kansas West and Kansas East to be together. This does not currently happen very often.
  • The shared experience contributes to renewal across the state.

Kansas clergy – Why did you choose to attend or not attend this event?