Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to Top

To Top


Missouri Conference Action Plan

On 07, Aug 2018 | No Comments | In Events, From Mark, Laity, Ministry Spotlight, News, Reminder | By Rebecca


MISSION: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

VISIONThe Missouri Conference will relentlessly lead our churches to become outwardly focused and spiritually centered Christ followers.


Upcoming Events



No Comments

In From Mark

By Rebecca

A Recap of Annual Conference 2018

On 01, Aug 2018 | No Comments | In From Mark, Laity | By Rebecca

A recap of Annual Conference 2018 and goal moving forward for the year to come.



No Comments

In Laity

By Rebecca

Which Relationship Do You Choose?

On 31, Jul 2018 | No Comments | In Laity | By Rebecca

Which relationship do you choose? Reflect with Mark on time away, how you observe a personal Sabbath, and whether a relationship with the world or a relationship with God is more important.



In Laity

By Rebecca

5 Cups of Coffee

On 11, Jun 2018 | In Laity | By Rebecca

Southwest District United Methodist Church: 5 Cups of Coffee
As we return from Annual Conference this week, reflect with Mark on this video blog on how you can start conversations on calling and discipleship.



In Laity

By Rebecca

Annual Conference Info ’18

On 22, May 2018 | In Laity | By Rebecca

Mark overviews some info regarding changes for Annual Conference in 2018.

Links mentioned in the video:

Annual Conference Website:

Conference Vimeo Channel:



In Events

By Mitch

Charge Conference + Holy Momentum

On 23, Oct 2017 | In Events, Laity, News | By Mitch

Charge Conference for churches in the Southwest District is at St Paul’s United Methodist Church on November 4th. The usual charge conference business is planned during a working lunch hour, but the highlight of the day is a class by Sue Nilson Kibbey beginning that morning.  She is the author of Flood Gates, Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church and is best know for her breakthrough prayer initiative. Her book makes an urgent case for change in our prayer lives and shifting each congregation’s culture toward omnipresent discipleship. In other words, this is an opportunity to hear how to transform your church into a congregation of daring, Spirit-driven disciples. Sue Nilson Kibbey never disappoints to deliver a compelling message about the power of prayer.

Flood Gates begins at 9:30am (gathering at 9am), Saturday 4 November at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 2423 W. 26th Street in Joplin. Registration is $20 which includes materials and lunch for those attending the charge conference. You may register by going directly to the Southwest District Facebook page and selecting “Events.” All training materials and lunch will be provided with your registration.  Notify your pastor you want to attend before you register. 

Churches attending charge conference must have all paperwork approved by their respective church councils with proper signatures.

NOTE:  The Sue Nilson Kibbey event has minimum attendance requirements per church.

  • For churches under 30 – 2 laity and the pastor
  • For churches 30-90 – 3 laity and the pastor
  • For churches greater than 90 – 4 laity and the pastor



In Events

By Mitch

The First Earthkeeper in Missouri is from the Southwest District

On 28, Jul 2017 | In Events, Laity | By Mitch

Full disclosure: I am married to Cheryl Marcum, a candidate for Earthkeeper, scheduled for commissioning on August 6.  

Maybe you’ve heard of Earthkeepers.  They are United Methodists who discerned a call from God to a vocation of caring for God’s creation. They help us understand how caring for God’s creation is a core part of our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ. 

The first Earthkeeper in the Missouri Conference will be from the Southwest District, Stockton United Methodist Church.  Cheryl Marcum will be commissioned an Earthkeeper at the commissioning ceremony at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, upon completion of the August 1-6 Earthkeepers Training Conference at Mount Sequoyah Retreat & Conference Center in Fayetteville. 

Earthkeepers is the inspiration of Rev. Pat Watkins, a recently retired missionary for God’s Creation with the General Board of Global Ministries.  His successor, Rev. Jenny Phillips, will lead this new, globally-focused ministry, based at the new Global Ministries’ Center for Mission Innovation in Atlanta.  

Earthkeepers can be laity or clergy.  Each Earthkeeper is required to participate in four days of intense training in creation care theology, best practices in climate conversations, UMC resources for advocacy and action, and then commit to 10 hours per month of providing leadership for a community project or advocacy campaign.  An Earthkeeper selects her or his own focus area, for example: creating a community garden, advocating for climate action or renewable energy policies, working for environmental justice by cleaning up toxic waste sites, or creating a green team within a church, district, or conference.  These actions connect the local church directly to community concerns.

Do you have someone in your congregation who is called to to become an Earthkeeper, to serve as a caretaker of God’s good creation?

Many people have thought of God’s creation in terms of advocacy but not as a valid mission of the church. God’s creation is as appropriate a mission field as Nigeria or the Philippines or wherever else. In order to be in mission to God’s people, we have to be in ministry to God’s creation.” – Rev. Pat Watkins

Read more at:

Innovative Program Aims to Commission 500 Earthkeepers, The Missouri Methodist, August 2017, page 9.

New Earthkeepers Program Aims to Commission 500 for Creation Care Work

Caretakers of God’s Creation is a grassroots community of United Methodists.



In Laity

By Mitch

Are You a New Lay Member to Annual Conference? Read on….

On 02, Jun 2017 | In Laity | By Mitch

Bishop Farr will preside at Annual Conference

What lay members to annual conference need to know:

Each year, our bishop presides over the annual conference for worship, fellowship, and to conduct the business of the United Methodist Church in Missouri. Annual conference includes reports of ongoing ministry, future goals, programs, budgets and the ordination of clergy. Workshops, live music, training sessions and exhibits add to the experience you take back to your congregation.

An effective lay member to annual conference returns to his/her local church to inform the congregation about the decisions, news, and learning experiences. As the elected member from the congregation, it is the responsibility of the lay member to interpret the actions of annual conference to the congregation. We are a connectional church and the lay member to annual conference strengthens the connection between the local congregation and the Missouri Conference.

Talk with your pastor before annual conference

Endeavor to understand the hopes and dreams of your local church and search for ways your leadership can advance the vision for ministry. Prepare for annual conference.

  1. Talk to people in your congregation who have attended previous annual conference sessions.
  2. Take advantage of pre-conference orientation sessions and information on the annual conference website to prepare you to learn and to contribute to the life of the church.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the ministries and concerns of your congregation.
  4. Become familiar with the rules of annual conference and basic parliamentary procedure.
  5. Participate in pre-conference sessions that cover upcoming issues, budgetary items, and proposed resolutions.
  6. On Friday of the conference attend the laity session and southwest district laity breakout.  This is an opportunity to meet other district lay leaders and share ministries and experiences.

As soon as practical after the close of the conference, report your experience to your church council in cooperation with your pastor. Communication truly improves connection.  

Amy Thompson, Conference Lay Leader, addresses Annual Conference 2016

Use resources available online

Read this handout to understand your role:

Watch this video recap of annual conference 2016:

Check out this publication by Cokesbury:

A great deal of info is available at the conference website:

Talk to your District Lay Leaders

District lay leaders can provide resources to point you in the right direction. Connect with your district lay leaders at annual conference – they want to help. The key responsibility of the lay member is linking the vision and resources of annual conference back to the mission of the local congregation. Ask district lay leaders, Marsha Egan and Mitch Ross, any questions you have and keep the link between annual conference and the local church strong.



Tags | , ,



In Laity

By Mitch

Passing the Baton

On 19, May 2017 | In Laity, News, Reminder | By Mitch

Appointment season in the United Methodist Church comes around every year at this time. This June many churches will say good-bye to their current pastor as they greet a new pastor. Change, expected or not, can be stressful for congregations. But, “passing the baton,” pastor to pastor, is part of our Methodist heritage.

Here’s the good news: Change can also become an opportunity for mission focus, reevaluation of church values and growth. A change of pastor is a chance for new eyes to envision otherwise unseen possibilities. As laity, we pray for a smooth transition and that God will embolden us to support and minister alongside our pastors.

Prayer goes a long way toward calming the turmoil of change, enabling acceptance of what is new, and opening our eyes to see what God is doing in our midst.

  • Pray that congregations receive pastors sent to new charges in the spirit in which they are sent.
  • Pray that PPR committees provide the support and leadership that pastors and congregations need for continuity during a time of change.
  • Pray that congregations partner with new pastors and encourage them to minister as John Wesley taught: “Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel.”
  • Pray that we laity follow suit alongside our pastors. 

If a new pastor is sent to your church, please read this excellent resource provided by the Missouri Conference:

Pay attention to social media. See “Digital Transitions When Pastors Change” at:

Look at this resource from for 50 ways to welcome your new pastor:

We are an itinerant church. Wesley’s vision of itinerant ministry encourages a system of sending and sending again. But remember that as these changes occur, the mission of the church stands fast – the mission is unchanging even as leadership changes. Pray for each UMC congregation that the Holy Spirit guides and directs vital change in the local church, new pastor or not. Read more…

Tags | , , , ,



In Laity

By Mitch

Laity Servants Tell Stories – May 6th at the UMC Conference Center

On 05, Apr 2017 | In Laity | By Mitch

Mid-State District is offering a great opportunity to learn from Ray Buckley, a distinguish storyteller.

“Lay Servants Tell Stories” is a course offered at the UMC Conference Center in Columbia on May 6th.  The course is open to everyone and counts as an advanced course for Lay Servants.

See the flier below for more information and to complete your registration or follow this link:

Tags | , , , , ,