General Conference Laity Address

LAITY ADDRESS Presentation Date: Fri. May 13, 8:45-9:15am SCOTT JOHNSON: Good morning! I am Dr. Scott Johnson, I am one of six laity representatives addressing you today from across the global connection. I am the conference lay leader from the Upper New York Annual conference. It is an honor to be one of your presenters this morning….(PAUSE)… Jesus is clear, “19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ...


General Conference – Here We Go!

Brian Hammons

General Conference, the every-four-year gathering of United Methodists from around the globe, begins soon – May 10.  864 delegates and a lot of others will descend upon Portland, Oregon for almost two weeks.  Including 12 delegates (lay and clergy) from Missouri, with 4 alternates.  During the conference we will celebrate ministry, worship, pray, deliberate, and vote on legislative proposals to set policy and direction for the church.  Sounds like a typical Methodist conference, doesn’t it?  ...


Our Next Bishop?

Brian Hammons

The question was pondered a lot by Missouri conference leaders recently as they interviewed several candidates:  “Could this person be our next bishop?”  I’ll describe those interviews below.  But first, some background:  Bishop Robert Schnase has provided exemplary leadership of our Missouri Conference for almost twelve years.  We’re so thankful for his ministry, and we’re glad that he still will be with us to preside over our upcoming annual conference in June.  With his twelve years of ...


General Conference 2016 – Preparations Continue

Brian Hammons

General Conference is coming up soon. In just a few weeks, May 10-20, 864 delegates from around the world will meet in Portland, Oregon to celebrate, pray, worship, deliberate, and vote on proposals to set policy and direction for the entire United Methodist Church.  Twelve of those delegates are from Missouri (six lay and six clergy), with four alternates – all elected last June at our Missouri Annual Conference session. I’m honored to serve in leading the delegation, along with Rev. Cody ...


Four final “Words for a Fruitful Lay Ministry”: Simple, discipline, fruit, & spirit

Brian Hammons

To finish up this 4-part series, we explore the last four words on our list of the “Ten Words for a Fruitful Lay Ministry.”  As you recall, the ten are:  Jesus, Mission, Pastor, Field, Connect, Read, Simple, Discipline, Fruit, and Spirit.  Previous articles discussed the first six.  I hope this series is helpful to you in continuing to grow and strengthen basic practices in your ministry leadership.   Simple brings to mind Basics. Essentials. Core practices. Our need to make sense out of ...


Next Words for a Fruitful Lay Ministry

Brian Hammons

For this first month of 2016, we explore three more of the “Ten Words for a Fruitful Lay Ministry.” As you recall, the ten are: Jesus, Mission, Pastor, Field, Connect, Read, Simple, Discipline, Fruit, and Spirit. Previous articles discussed Jesus, Mission, and Pastor. I hope this series is helpful to you in continuing to grow and strengthen basic practices in your ministry leadership.   What does the word Field have to do with lay ministry? Well, maybe the image of an empty field isn’t what we’...


General Conference 2016 -- Our Delegation Begins Preparing

Brian Hammons

Have you been wondering what our Missouri Conference delegates to the 2016 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference have been doing since they were elected in June? Well, even though the conferences are still months away (General Conference in May, Jurisdictional in July), they’ve already spent a lot of time preparing. In fact, the full delegation of 28 people (14 lay and 14 clergy) have met three times in Columbia and several attended a jurisdictional briefing in Oklahoma City.


Two More "Words" for a Fruitful Lay Ministry: Mission & Pastor

Brian Hammons

This month we continue with the next two of my “10 Words for a Fruitful Lay Ministry.” As you recall, the ten are: Jesus, Mission, Pastor, Field, Connect, Read, Simple, Discipline, Fruit, and Spirit. Last month we noted that Jesus is “THE Word.” Now we turn to “Mission” and “Pastor.” Leaders in the church absolutely must have a clear focus upon their “Mission,” or purpose, if they want to be successful in ministry. We’re very different from other organizations, as our purpose involves a focus ...


Jesus: First "Word" for a Fruitful Lay Ministry

Brian Hammons

Have you ever noticed the tendency for leaders to simplify things in communicating? Complex, multidimensional ideas are simplified into a few key words. This helps in memory retention, and also helps focus upon the essential idea undergirding the message. You know what I mean – 3 Simple Rules, 5 Practices, 7 Habits or Levers, Top 10 Lists, etc. You also see pastors presenting many a sermon series with 3-7 messages around a single common theme. OK, I’m about to join the trend – again – to ...


Press On

Brian Hammons

“Welcome!” Or, “Welcome Back!” These words are heard a lot this time of year as churches and schools enter a new season. Summer is over and fall is beginning. Some experience new places, relationships, and opportunities. Others return to familiar places, but with fresh opportunities in front of them. Whether it’s a new school year with new classes, a new church season with a new sermon series or small groups forming, a new football season, or simply returning to “normal” after a summer change ...


Preparing for Annual Conference: It's In The Discipline

Brian Hammons

Annual Conference is coming up soon. Are you looking forward to it? I am. Of course, I look forward to all of our conferences as a great time for seeing Christian friends from all over Missouri, learning new ways the church can reach our communities, and celebrating transitions. We’ve had some memorable conferences, inspiring speakers, and helpful themes for past conferences – remember Practicing Passionate Worship last year?


Elections - Again? Looking Toward 2016 General & Jurisdictional Conferences

Brian Hammons

What is the future of the United Methodist Church as a denomination? That’s a question that’s being asked by many as we approach the season of electing delegates to the 2016 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference.


2015: Happy New Year

Brian Hammons

What an opportunity we have! 2015 – a whole year in front of us. 365 days of life, each one a gift from God. As I look back on 2014, there are many blessings; and also many challenges, frustrations, and painful times. Which will I focus upon? Which will I build upon in 2015?


Good News of Great Joy

Brian Hammons

 I love Christmas. The sights, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings. Special choir music, caroling to neighbors, and Scripture messages of good news. Reflecting upon blessings of the year, giving to help those in need, and planning for a new year ahead.


Camping: A Future with Hope

Brian Hammons

The future of Camping ministries in Missouri has generated a lot of discussion in the past few weeks.


College-Age Years: The Best Years of Your Life

Brian Hammons

That’s what an older adult told me when I was 18 and about to start college. A few years ago. Well, maybe a lot of years ago. Looking back, I don’t really think they were the best years, although they were very memorable and I still have several friendships that began in those years. But they were some of the most pivotal, transformational times of my life.


Reflecting on Boston

Brian Hammons

The Boston Marathon. Those three words bring to mind tradition and endurance. For anyone who runs, the words carry a sense of awe, difficulty, and maybe ultimate accomplishment.  


Lay Leaders Will Remember Missouri

Brian Hammons

“Remember the Future.” This was the theme for a recent gathering of United Methodist conference lay leaders from all over the country, and a couple from Europe and Africa.


Spiritually Engaged Laity

Brian Hammons

During this season of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, I’m pondering this question: “What would it be like if my entire congregation were filled with Spiritually Engaged laity?” I invite you to ponder that question, too.


What About The Main Thing?

Brian Hammons

Do you ever get distracted and lose focus from something important? It happens a lot in our lives with the constant barrage of tasks, demands, and changes.


It's Advent Season!

Brian Hammons

A time of hope, expectation, longing. We think of Advent as the few weeks leading up to Christmas that are filled with holiday activities at church, with our families, and in the community. Decorations, carols, gift shopping, special gatherings, etc., etc., etc.


Sharing the Harvest

Brian Hammons

Fall is a wonderful time of year. I love the mild weather, colorful leaves, and many activities in our churches, schools, and communities. Of course, I also enjoy the outdoor sports activities and festivals.


Imagine No Malaria - Running for a Cause

Brian Hammons

Can you imagine running to help save lives through “Imagine No Malaria”? You know, moving the legs, pounding the pavement, covering a few miles.


Laity Voice: Angels Along the Way

Brian Hammons

Do you ever experience times like that when you need guidance, or even feel you’ve got ten lost while walking with Christ?


Running for a Cause - "Imagine No Malaria"

Brian Hammons

Here we go again . . . . Yes, another Marathon – 26.2 miles. On Labor Day (Sept. 2), I’ll be running the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia. I’ve been training some for this, and hope to battle the heat, humidity, and hills to qualify to run Boston again with my daughter April.

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