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The Vital Connection
31 minutes | Aug 19, 2019
TVC 21: Ron Johnson on New Consecration Sunday...the better way to teach about money
Ron Johnson, Senior Pastor of Yankton First UMC, shares how he got started with New Consecration Sunday and the difference it has made for the church. He gives a good description of exactly how this works and what the challenges are.
54 minutes | Jul 22, 2019
TVC 20: Taryn Ragels & Steve Trefz on what it's like to be a full-time church with a quarter-time pastor
In this episode, Steve Trefz and Taryn Ragels share what they have learned from Mitchell Fusion UMC's experiment of having a very part-time pastor and a full-time lay person.
58 minutes | May 13, 2019
TVC 19: Jeff Adel and Clay Lundberg on starting a new service in a rural setting
In this episode, Rebecca Trefz has a conversation with Jeff Adel (Wheatland Parish) and Clay Lundberg (United in Faith Parish) on their experience of launching a new service for their rural communities. Gettysburg UMC and Burke UMC each launched new services and are reaching people they wouldn't have otherwise. Besides insight on launching, they share some great wisdom about worship service design.
61 minutes | Apr 15, 2019
TVC 18: Randy Hedge on Redefining the 2-Point Charge
In this episode, we have Randy Hedge who is pastor of Plankinton UMC and White Lake UMC. In 2017, Randy retired from a career in the university system in Wisconsin to become a pastor in the Dakotas. During the past two years, Randy has lead with courage and creativity to guide these two churches in a way that is healthier for everyone and has born much fruit.
60 minutes | Mar 11, 2019
TVC 17: Brandon Vetter, Jenny Hallenbeck Orr, and Randy Cross on money and the role of pastor
This round-table discussion ranged from personal finances to the handling of giving records to fundraising to apportionments as Brandon Vetter (Bismarck Legacy), Jenny Hallenbeck Orr (Bismarck McCabe), and Randy Cross (Northeast District Superintendent) sat down with Rebecca Trefz (Director of Ministries). They share great insights to help new pastors as well as help lay folks understand the delicate position of the pastor in relation to money in the church.
59 minutes | Feb 11, 2019
TVC 16: Doug Anderson on facing anxiety in ministry
It has been said that we are living in the midst of an anxiety epidemic. Dr. Doug Anderson of Sioux Falls Psychological Services has a conversation with Rebecca Trefz, Director of Ministries, about the subject of anxiety. How do you lead in an anxious time? How does a leader not get consumed by anxiety?www.dakotasumc.org
64 minutes | Jan 14, 2019
TVC 15: Kyle Reinhiller & Jerry Stravia on the Band Meeting
Every Monday afternoon, Jeff Pospisil, Conference Treasurer, Kyle Reinhiller, pastor at Harrisburg UMC, and Jerry Stravia, associate pastor at Mitchell Downtown First UMC, get the band together. As awesome as it would be to see these three in a rock band, we are referring to the Methodist Band Meeting. Today, they share with us their experiences in rediscovering this accountability group rooted in the beginning of the Methodist movement.What is the Methodist Band Meeting?In the early days of Methodism, John Wesley formed several types of small groups as a place for accountability and spiritual growth for early Methodists. The class meeting, consisting of no more than twelve individuals, focused on ‘how is it with your soul’ and the spiritual life of the individual. Band meetings, hosting four to five people, allowed members to openly wrestle with and confess their sin as a way of spiritual growth and holiness. It is a place for Christians to be completely vulnerable and honest about how they have fallen short of where God is calling them. What happens during a Band Meeting?Each meeting opens with prayer and the of reading James 5:13-20, with special emphasis on verse 16: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Then, each person takes a turn confessing their sins from the past week. As someone is confessing, the others in the group can ask deeper questions, but most importantly they listen. After one is done, the group prays over that person, declares forgiveness, and asks for healing before moving on to the next individual. Facing your sinThe main focus of band meetings is to openly address your own sin and have others who can hold you accountable. The thought of putting your sin out in the open and confessing in front of others can be terrifying. The power of sin wants to keep us isolated from everyone else and we have a lot of fear. But there is freedom in being vulnerable with others. Not only does confessing your sins to others lift a huge weight off your shoulders, but you also have the freedom of knowing that you have someone who you can reach out to when you are struggling with temptation. “There is something powerful about confessing to someone and they still like you and love you. A lot of times they love you more because you are willing to show your worse self and risking that,” says Kyle.Social HolinessPart of drawing closer to God is to grow closer to other people through deeper relationships. John Wesley believed ‘There is no religion that is not social, no holiness that is not social.’ Social holiness is about people walking with each other to grow in their holiness, and not struggling to do it on their own. Jeff prays for both Kyle and Jerry on a regular basis, sometimes several times a day, and all three see God actively using them in each other’s lives. There is strength in knowing that other people are facing the same struggles you are. Jerry shares, “This isn’t about shaming yourself into being better, it’s about accountability, which is positive.” Checking in with each other’s goals, being a support system, and having the opportunity to minister to others through your own brokenness is where the strength lies in this practice. Why it worksWe live in a society surrounded by social media, which allows everyone to show their best face. What we don’t see or show others is the messy and painful stuff we are dealing with. At some point, you get tired of always trying to put on a show for everyone, and you need someone who you can confide in. Jerry says, “This is an opportunity to just be human. For a second, we don’t have to be the world’s definition of man, we can be vulnerable and just be the broken person that God loves.” Band meetings work because it is about casting light on and letting go of what is weighing you down. “What we keep secret has power over us. When we bring that to light, that secret loses its power, loses its hold. That is really what the band meeting is: bringing our secret things that hold us captive to light. That is the power of that confession,” says Kyle. “If I hate myself because of this sin and I confess it and they don’t hate me, then I realize God doesn’t hate me and I don’t have to hate me. That’s the beauty of this as well. You’re precious. You’re valuable. You’re loved for you who are.” As you grow throughout this process, you start to love yourself, God, and others better. It is a holistic approach to growth that is rooted in divinity and spiritually.Getting started on your own Band Meeting While Methodists have fallen away from the band meeting, there is a movement to revive this accountability group. Jeff, Jerry, and Kyle urge church leaders to be a part of something similar to this. If you are interested in getting your own group going, a good place to start would be to read “The Band Meeting” by Kevin Watson and Scott Kisker, and pray about who God may have placed in your path that can join you in this journey. Members should be the same gender or around the same age to allow for deeper conversations. Be intentional about starting a band and then just do it. Jeff said of his first meeting, “I thought ‘I have 39 years worth of sin and I can’t confess that much, so I am going to confess the last week’s worth.’” You don’t have to unload everything, but you do have to be willing to open up and share with others. And don’t be discouraged if someone says no, it might not be the right time for them.
51 minutes | Dec 10, 2018
TVC 14: Scott and Colleen McKirdy on reaching young adults
In this episode, Scott and Colleen McKirdy, Spearfish UMC, share with Sheri Meister, executive director of the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation, their strategies in reaching young adults. Scott, serves as the senior pastor of Spearfish UMC, where the congregation is committed raising up young leaders into ministry. Spearfish UMC is engaging with students from Black Hills State University. The McKirdy's have a very practical approach that other congregations, with a college near by, could emulate.
34 minutes | Nov 12, 2018
TVC 13: Jenene Earl discusses tithing, apportionments, and being led by the Holy Spirit
In this episode, Jenene Earl, pastor of Sturgis UMC, visits with Jeff Pospisil, who serves as the executive director of finance and administration for the Dakotas Conference, about a risky proposition she put before her church. Jenene felt led to tell her church that apportionments should be paid before everything, even her paycheck. A remarkable act of faith that helped the church get unstuck in the area of apportionments. The congregation moved forward boldly through the MCCI process and in other areas where the Holy Spirit was leading.
41 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
TVC 12: Katie Ricke shares her journey through ministry
In this episode of The Vital Connection, we are joined by Pastor Katie Ricke, who serves at Zion UMC in Beresford, SD. She shares with us her journey through ministry – from her calling to becoming a church leader and the things she has learned along the way.
51 minutes | Jun 25, 2018
TVC 11: Sheri Meister and seeing behind the curtain
In this episode, Sheri Meister, executive director of the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation, discusses ideas about centering on stewardship and generosity. One of the things she noticed, after taking the position with the foundation, is how fearful many pastors are about talking with donors about money. Part of her ministry has been helping people see how relationships, money, and faith all compliment each other.
44 minutes | May 14, 2018
TVC 10: Doug Diehl and Sharla McCaskell share thoughts about nurturing a call to ministry
In this episode of The Vital Connection, Pastors Doug Diehl, retired clergy, and Sharla McCaskell, Rapid City Knollwood Heights UMC, discuss their roles in building each other's' callings across their lives and ministry together at Rapid City First United Methodist Church. They discuss the power of discovering the callings and spiritual gifts of others in your congregation, and how pastors and laity are called to work side by side in ministry.
70 minutes | Apr 17, 2018
TVC 9: Andy Bartel on making a good transition to a new appointment
In this episode, Rev. Andy Bartel, lead pastor at St. John UMC, Anchorage, Alaska, visits with Jeff Pospisil, executive director of Finance and Administration for the Dakotas Conference about pastoral transitions. Bartel, an ordained elder of the Dakotas Conference, experienced four different appointments in six years. He shares a wealth of wisdom for pastors and churches as they experience transitions.
33 minutes | Mar 12, 2018
TVC 8: Cory Thrall discusses creating balance when serving five churches
Pastor Cory Thrall joins us on this episode of The Vital Connection to discuss the ministry he is doing in the Bismarck area. With five churches under his leadership, Cory had to find a way to balance each individual church to meet their needs. He shares some of his insights with us today.
43 minutes | Feb 12, 2018
TVC 7: Tom Freier shares thoughts about mentoring the next generation of leaders
In this episode, Jeff Pospisil, Dakotas Conference executive director of finance and administration and Tom Freier, member of Bismarck Legacy UMC, discuss mentoring in the local church. Freier and Pospisil were both part of First United Methodist Church of Bismarck which would later become Bismarck Legacy United Methodist Church. Freier invested his time in the lives of several young men of the church who have played important roles in Bismarck Legacy UMC becoming the church it is today. Freier's story exemplifies how a layperson, with a passion for the mission of the church and some leadership experience, can greatly impact the future of a church.
38 minutes | Jan 8, 2018
TVC 6: Taylor Johnson and Curtis Mittendorf talk about how they were called to ministry
In this episode of the Vital Connection, Taylor Johnson and Curtis Mittendorf, Sioux Falls First United Methodist discuss how they are discerning their call to ministry with Sheri Meister, executive director of the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation. The two candidates for ministry, share their called stories and discuss several different processes they went through while discerning their call to ministry.
66 minutes | Dec 11, 2017
TVC 5: Kermit Culver teaches us the challenges of leading church transformation
In this episode of The Vital Connection, Rev.Kermit Culver, Northwest District Superintendent talks about the processes of church change and transformation. Culver was appointed Bismarck First United Methodist Church, the church had once been a very strong church. The membership dwindled by about 40 young families and struggled. Congregants told Culver they wanted to grow, but, he learned, “There is no growth without change, and there is no change without pain.” How do you go about the change and survive the pain? Kermit has some great insights.
46 minutes | Nov 13, 2017
TVC 4: Jason Smith on using social media
Churches across the Dakotas and beyond are always asking the questions, "How can we reach people for Christ? And, "how can we connect with people who haven't decided to walk through our doors yet?" In this 4th episode of the Vital Connection, Jason Smith, Creative Director for Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, SD, provides some insights. Smith sat down with Rebecca Trefz, Executive Director of Ministries for the Dakotas Conference, to talk about how social media can be a powerful tool in reaching people for Jesus. Relocating from Indiana to join the Embrace team about seven months ago, Smith shares his passion and wisdom that he has gained not only from his time at Embrace, one of the fastest growing United Methodist Churches in the U.S., but also from previous experience at midsize and large churches and experience in the marketing industry. Some key points from the interview include: Utilizing Social Media is about meeting people where they are. Engage people in an authentic and consistent way--utilize social media like a coffee shop, not just a billboard. Use social media to share what God is doing, not just get people to events. Always start with the Why, the Vision for your ministry and this tool's use in it. If you have questions for Jason, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for links to many articles about social media from United Methodist Communications: http://www.umcom.org/learn/social-networking
30 minutes | Oct 11, 2017
TVC 3: Kent Millard shares attitude of gratitude and giving
NOTE: We have recently changed podcast hosts. We are working to redirect subscribers, but, to avoid missing an episode, you may need to unsubscribe and re-subscribe. Sorry for the inconvenience.In episode three of The Vital Connection, the Reverend Dr. Kent Millard, president United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio and South Dakota native joins Sheri Meister, Executive Director of the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation to discuss his knowledge and the importance of generosity. He states, "I like to teach about generosity from a point of gratitude."
47 minutes | Sep 9, 2017
TVC 2: Charlie Moore on raising up new leaders
"Our job as a pastor is to build relationships and give people a chance to try things out. Empower them, create a space for God to work on their passions," Pastor Charlie Moore, Sioux Falls Sunnycrest UMC. In this episode Jeff Pospisil, Executive Director of Finance and Administration interviews Moore on the keys to raising up leaders within the church.
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