Blogs


11/1/2018

Blessings Bucket

Amy Thompson

By Amy Thompson The beginning of this year marked a new journey for me as a new professional adventure began. The decision to pursue this new adventure was based in a lot prayer and reflection. The new professional adventure allowed me flexibility with my work schedule and provided the opportunity for me to pursue work that addressed prevention as well as intervention. As with any new adventure, I experienced a range of feelings from excitement to fear but amid the feelings found peace.      A ...


10/1/2018

Prayer

Amy Thompson

By Amy Thompson I remember one of my first small group experiences as a young adult was about prayer. Several members of the group wanted to learn how to pray, so our group leader found a book that would guide us in learning all about prayer. It was during that time that I formed a foundation in understanding the importance of prayer. My prayer life has been shaped over the years through further studies and readings, through experience, and through the influence of others.      As our ...


9/1/2018

Three Priorities

Amy Thompson

While at Annual Conference, the Bishop introduced to us the three conference priorities that have been affirmed by the Mission Council and Cabinet. During my laity address, I provided a brief introduction about the three priorities before the directors providing leadership shared the specific goals and strategies. The following is an excerpt from my address: Priority One – New  Missional Leaders Essential to the work of the conference is increasing our new missional leaders. We become missional...


8/1/2018

5 Cups of Coffee

Amy Thompson

We are all called to be in relationship with God. We are called to be active in the world sharing God’s love with others. Sometimes it is difficult to respond to the second call. We sometimes do not know where to start. Our own uncertainty about identifying and using our gifts and talents leaves us sitting in the pew. Our own discomfort in trying something new keeps us from reaching out. Growing in our own discipleship means taking time to explore our gifts, our passions and our opportunities. ...


5/22/2018

What Leading Meant to Me

Amy Thompson

By Amy Thompson It’s June and time for Annual Conference. The theme this year is Freed-2-Lead. As I attend meetings and talk with directors and district superintendents, I find myself in many conversations centered around leadership. As we explore leadership in this conference, it causes me to pause and wonder how laity approach leading within their church, their ministry areas and their community. On a quest to understand the perspectives that our laity hold, I reached out to laity across our ...


4/23/2018

A Time of Connection

Freed 2 Lead is grounded in scripture as we consider the words of Paul in Ephesians, “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” We are all gifted. We are all called to respond in ministry. Some of us are called to lead others in ministry. The theme for the 2018 Missouri Annual Conference is Freed-2-Lead where clergy, laity and guests will be ...


3/23/2018

Hurricane Maria Relief

Amy Thompson

Imagine this... the sunshine with rays reaching far and wide. As you are walking, you look to your left and see the beach with debris, broken palm trees. Your eyes move slowly to the many shades of blue in the water that is crashing the beach. The sound and view are amazing. Now as you look to your right, it’s not what you see but what you hear. You hear voices, laughter, clapping and the hum of a generator. You see a concrete building with the windows open, and the front doors wide open with ...


2/10/2018

Begin with Knowledge

By Jeff Fothergill At our Church Council meeting a couple of months ago, we spent time discussing what it means to be a “sent” church. I’m not sure if we touched all the bases, but it was clear that we couldn’t get there without laity involvement and support. Of course, that’s easy to say but more complicated to do. Whether you’re looking to inspire involvement in your church or get more involved yourself, every journey needs a starting point. Here’s a model to consider; begin with knowledge ...


1/25/2018

Rural Ministry: Matching Assets to Opportunities

By Lori Kiehl As the Mark Twain District Lay Leader, I want to invite you to North Missouri to engage with problem solvers of small rural churches. The Mark Twain District’s Rural Ministry Now conference is meeting the challenge of helping rural churches thrive by providing training to church leaders on Saturday, February 17 at the Northeast Missouri Fairgrounds in Kirksville from 8:30 am to 4 pm. The focus will be “Missional Engagement: Matching Assets to Opportunities.” We will discuss ways ...


1/10/2018

The Lay Leader

By Mitch Ross What does a Lay Leader really do? The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline outlines responsibilities for lay leaders, but that is the easy answer.       To answer candidly, we need to recognize the role of laity in the church. “The witness of the laity, their Christ-like examples of everyday living as well as sharing their own faith experiences of the gospel, is the primary evangelistic ministry through which all people will come to know Christ and The United Methodist ...


12/1/2017

The Four Weeks of Advent

By Amy Thompson Advent is the season of the church in which we prepare our lives for the coming of Christ. Growing up, my favorite part of Advent was placing our advent wreath with its three purple candles and one pink candle next to our nativity scene. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we would read stories and scripture related to the themes of hope, peace, joy and love.   As a child, my interest was in the stories, but now as I think of these themes, I wonder do we really ...


11/13/2017

Prayer Circles of Thanksgiving

Amy Thompson

By Amy Thompson The month of November reminds us to be thankful as we celebrate Thanksgiving. I along with many of you offer thanks for our health, family members, friends, employment and healing. I also offer thanks for the strong clergy and lay leadership that exists throughout the Missouri Conference. I offer this thanks throughout the year not just around Thanksgiving by using my prayer circles that I have created in my prayer journal. My prayer journal has webs of circles (literally ...


10/18/2017

Leading an Active Prayer Life

Amy Thompson

By Amy Thompson As leaders, it is important to be intentional in your own personal spiritual development. Your personal commitment to growing in your faith could begin with many things. I would like to suggest prayer. An active prayer life can be a major piece to your spiritual development as you explore your relationship with God through quiet time, listening, requesting and conversation. My own prayer life dramatically changed a few years ago when a pastor recommended Mark Batterson’s book, ...


8/23/2017

The Gift of Presence and Music in Mozambique

By Amy Thompson Here are the words from an email that I received in May prior to traveling to Mozambique in June: “We are preparing to receive you and the team. Let me share with you what preparing to receive means. The sound of voices floating through the air as you turn the corner to leave the terminal of the airport. The chanting and clapping of men, women and children as you arrive at a church or orphanage. As it is heard in Psalm, I will praise the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise ...


6/1/2017

Preparation for Pastoral Transition

By Amy Thompson The month of June is known as Annual Conference time. Last month I asked you to keep the individuals attending and the work of conference in your prayers. This is your reminder…pray for us June 9-12!      June is also known as moving month for pastors. Some of our local churches are preparing to say goodbye to their pastor and to welcome their next pastor. This transition time creates a mix of feelings for both laity and clergy.       The Cabinet has shared resources with local ...


5/10/2017

Connecting Through Conference

By Amy Thompson One of the things that I love about United Methodism is the connectional system. The connectional system reminds me how we are all connected in working for the Kingdom of God. We are not in the Kingdom– building work on our own. We can work together and learn from one another. I am reminded of how big our local connectional system is when I attend Annual Conference each year. If you stand in the vendor area located upstairs in the Expo Center, you can look out the windows and ...


3/24/2017

Show No Mercy in Doing Justice

By John Miller When Methodists met, and John Wesley was in their midst, he often took special offerings for the poor, including five in one day from what his brother Charles called the “same poor exhausted people!” Charles said of John and his captive congregation. “He has no mercy on them.”      John Wesley showed no mercy in his collection efforts, or in his advocacy on social justice issues like slavery, because he faithfully lived the words of the prophet Micah: he did justice, and he truly...


2/28/2017

Getting Closer to God During Lent

By Amy Thompson Well, Missouri Methodists, we are entering the season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter, excluding Sundays. It begins with Ash Wednesday. If you have attended an Ash Wednesday service then you know that the minister will mark the sign of a cross using ashes on your forehead. Part of Ash Wednesday is remembering that our lives are a gift from God which the ashes remind us of. Lent is a time to repent. We turn our lives toward Christ in a more focused intentional way ...


2/1/2017

Rural Ministry in Missouri

By Karen Shearer, Mark Twain District Lay Leader A pastor friend of mine recently sent me some statistics that may be surprising: 77 percent of our United Methodist churches here in Missouri have weekly attendance of fewer than 100 people.* Furthermore, almost 60 percent of our churches have attendance of fewer than 50 people each week. Those churches with 50 or less, however, account for just 15 percent of our statewide weekly attendance.      Some may say, “So aren’t you stating the obvious? ...


12/22/2016

Called to Lead

By Amy Thompson When we turn to scripture, we find numerous examples of God calling persons into leadership roles. The roles range from individuals involved in one-on-one ministry to specific situations to leading the masses. Ultimately, God calls all of us to lead. In the Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell references Genesis 1:26-31 as evidence that we are all born to lead.      He highlights some points based on this scripture.  Being made in God’s image means we were created to lead.  ...


11/21/2016

The Gift of an Experience

By Amy Thompson I recently found myself involved in a conversation about gift giving. This individual was sharing the pressure she feels in selecting a gift for her children or family member. The conversation centered around seeking the perfect gifts to give and then a year later noticing that you are placing those same gifts in the donation pile. She even noted the disappointment felt when finding the gift hadn’t even been used.      She went on to share that she had heard a segment on the ...


11/2/2016

An Attitude of Gratitude

As we enter the month of November, many of us take some time to pause and give thanks for the gifts in our life. Gifts like friendship, family, health. This year I am giving pause asking myself how do I show my thankfulness and gratitude throughout the year and not give special attention just around the Thanksgiving holiday? We can all create an attitude of gratitude that extends beyond the month of November. If we would pause daily or weekly we can identify persons, places and things to which ...


9/22/2016

The Witness of the Laity

By Amy Thompson As our former conference lay leader, Brian Hammons, mentioned at Annual Conference in the laity address, the UM Book of Discipline Paragraph 127 reveals the key to the renewal of the Methodist movement is the witness of the laity. What does that mean? It means a challenge lays before the laity of the church to reach out into this world to help others know God. Many of us have various images in our minds when we hear the word witness. I offer this image. A Christ follower seeing ...


8/26/2016

New Beginnings

A buzz is around the Missouri Conference. You may hear talk of transitions, new teams for the next quadrennium, a new conference lay leader, a new Bishop. What does all this mean for the laity and local church?


8/1/2016

Faith Walk

By Amy Thompson Amid the endless topics available for my first article as Conference Lay Leader, I would like say thanks to all of those who have touched my life and been a part of my faith walk. While there are too many to name, I want to acknowledge a few as they were present at Annual Conference, making this transition more special to me.    My earliest memories of Sunday School contain Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. While shaping my early learnings of Jesus Christ, they continued to influence my life...


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