Disciples Together

Regional News of the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest

August| 2022

Inflation and Ministry

Rev. Joshua Patty

Regional Minister and President

Everywhere you look, prices seem to be more expensive than last year.  It affects all of us.  And this steep inflation (about 10%) significantly impacts the financial pieces of our ministry.  Our supplies cost more; utilities cost more; people who provide services to us charge more; and our ministers and staff members need to earn more to maintain their standard of living.  Plus those who participate in and generously give to support the ministry are facing the same inflation, which might impact how they can give of their time or finances.

What do we do when not every giver can afford to increase their financial support by at least 10%?  What do we do if our congregation cannot afford to increase compensation for staff members and ministers by 10%?

First, we remember and celebrate that we are not facing this alone.  This is a shared experience for most of us and for most ministries.  In the coming months we may be able to commiserate and share with each other – maybe even lean on each other’s wisdom and gifts.

Then, we admit reality.  Most people tend to be private about finances – and many congregations are the same way.  We need to be open about things that are more expensive or decisions to decrease (or share) some costs.  For those of us that make financial gifts, we need to recognize that for our 2023 contributions to have the same buying power as in 2022, they need to be at least 10% larger.  For those of us budgeting, we need to recognize that our expenses will be higher and for our staff members to have the same buying power with their 2023 compensation, they need to make at least 10% more.

Honestly, it may be unwise or impossible for congregations to increase compensation by 10% for staff along with the other increasing costs of ministry.  And It may be unwise or impossible for some givers to increase donations by 10%.  But we cannot let that be an excuse to do nothing.

What should we do, especially if we find we cannot increase everything by 10%?  As givers, we need to prayerfully figure out how much we can increase our gifts, commit to doing so, and find other ways to participate in ministry.  As employers, we need to have honest conversations with ministers and staff members about budgetary constraints, find a way to increase compensation at least some, and then consider other practical ways to demonstrate our appreciation and gratitude (commitments for future increases, additional paid vacation/time off, etc.).

Like most challenges we face, our best approach is to work and serve side by side.  And we must not let uncertainty or fear interfere with the important loving, teaching, justice-seeking ministry we share together in Jesus’ name.

2022 All Congregational Gathering


2022 Regional Calendar


For more details go to the Regional website:



August 11-21 Hymn Sing and Children's Time @ Iowa State Fair 

August 25 Regional Operations Council Online

Sept. 6  CMEP Fall Class Begins: Bible I

Sept 9-10 Committee on Ministry

Sept 19-21 Senior Adult Retreat

Sept. 22 Regional Operations Council Online

Sept 25-28 Pastor Camp

Sept 30-Oct 2 UMW Fall Women's Retreat

Oct. 15 All Congregational Gathering

Oct. 27 Regional Operations Council Online

Nov. 4-6 Chi Rho Retreat

Nov. 11-12 Committee on Ministry

Nov. 18-19 CMEP Retreat

Nov. 18-20 CYF Retreat

Regional Prayer Calendar

Video Archives

More Regional videos

More Disciples videos

Where in the Upper Midwest is Josh?

Josh's travels take him across our four-state region to share in worship, support, and celebrate your ministries! Here's where Josh's travels have taken him in the last month.


  • July 22-23 - Forum of Regional Moderators/College of Regional Ministers (online)
  • August 6 - National Convocation Biennial Session (online)
  • August 14 - Worship with Bondurant Christian Church, Bondurant, IA; BSD Treehouse Dedication, Christian Conference Center

General Assembly 2023

News Around the Region

Pastor Camp 2022

Join colleagues and friends for a special church camp experience September 26-28 at the Christian Conference Center. Wake up with energizers and a keynote, enjoy conversations in small groups, create and share meaningful worship, rest, enjoy time together on Holy Ground, and end the day sitting around the campfire.

Tiff and Josh will serve as your directors. Camp starts at 2 pm on September 26 and concludes at 11 am on September 28. Registration includes meals, cabin lodging (yes, bring your own bedding!), and a special Pastors Camp t-shirt. Must register by Sept. 12 to receive a t-shirt.  Camp cost is $150.

Register Today!

The BSD Treehouse Dedication

On Sunday, August 14, a group gathered at the Christian Conference Center to dedicate the new treehouse in honor of Rev. Bill Spangler-Dunning and his service in the Upper Midwest.  The treehouse overlooks Wolf Lake and will be used by campers and other visitors to the CCC.  Bill offers these words in response:

   "I am thankful that there were adult faith leaders, like my older sister and many others, who invited (gently forced) me to attend camp on this particular holy ground. So many faithful leaders in just as many places nudged me to see God-given gifts that could make the world a little better. In time I became one of those adults who was given the holy privilege of encouraging others to see their potential in this life. It was an honor to have this treehouse named for me because it will provide one more place on this Holy ground where someone might receive a word of hope that they have a God-given gift to change the world. “What has been passed on to me I pass on to the next generation”. Thank you to all who helped make this day happen."

Cluster Hosts Clergy Retreat

The clergy of eastern Iowa enjoyed a "Day Apart" retreat together at Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat Center on Saturday, August 13.  Retreat expenses were covered by a Disciples Together Grant from the region.  

Covenant Conversations

Three years ago, the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) began a process to rethink and reinvent how we engage in conversation and decision-making as a whole body of faith.  This process was named the Covenant Project.  Before the ideas they've gathered are heard at the next General Assembly, they need your feedback.   

from the Covenant Project's webpage:

"The future of the church is more connected. The future of the church is in deeper conversation. The future of the church is a future with deeper covenant. The Covenant Project is the work of changing structures to be more just and relationships across the church to be more connected."

Pastors, chaplains, elders, church boards, regional boards, and congregation members are invited to participate in digital town hall meetings.  There are dates from now through September available for you to join in.  

Learn More about the Covenant Project
Register for a Town Hall

2022-2023 Class Offerings

Bible I and II will be taught beginning this fall with Dr. John Bolen as instructor. The School of Ministry course offerings are taught online on Monday evenings. Bible I will begin in September. 

Register Today!

News Around the Denomination

"Investing in Elders"

The Fall 2022 "Thriving Together" series focuses on the work of Elders and Pastors as strong collaborative teams.  Elders are central leaders in Disciples of Christ congregations.  When a strong team of elders collaborates with pastors in congregational leadership, the capacity for a thriving ministry expands!  This workshop series helps congregational teams of Pastors and Elders strengthen their ministry.  The three workshops help teams to explore implications of the role of Elders in the Bible and the Stone-Campbell Tradition, equip them for leadership and provide guidance to help teams take best next steps.  

Register by Sept. 2

"Marks of a Vital Congregation"

The Center for Faith and Giving - a ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – is sharing a series of videos about “Marks of a Vital Congregation” through early September. These videos will cover issues like Leadership, Education, and Gratitude. They may be a helpful discussion starter for ministry leaders in your congregation. Access the playlist here.

General Board and Moderator Team Nominations

Nominations are currently being sought for the General Board and Moderating Team for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Learn more or offer a nomination today!

New Church Ministry’s annual event is back! This online gathering of Disciples and ecumenical partners takes place October 18 - 20. It includes track sessions for teams at various stages of the church launch process, DOCTalks which will address missional transformation, and LEADLabs, interactive workshops designed to help participants imagine and innovate. This year’s keynote speaker is Rev. Sandhya Jha.

Learn More

Week of Compassion is excited to be part of the launch of a new tool for networking congregations for disaster preparedness and response: Willing to Respond!

As a registry of willing congregations and a library of vetted resources, this tool will help them connect with you and introduce you to other congregations and organizations in your area. It also provides your congregation with trainings, tips, and tools to reduce your risk and be ready to help your neighbors when disaster strikes.

Click the link above or email

Caroline Hamilton-Arnold for more information.

Learn More and Register
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