Ministry Together

Clergy Resources from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest

August | 2022

Learning Together

Rev. Joshua Patty

Regional Minister and President

My parental leave has now concluded.  This week I return to full-time work, with more travel beginning after Labor Day. I have appreciated this space to focus more on my family, but I have plenty of things I want to do in our region in the coming weeks.

One of those things is connecting again with my colleagues in the Upper Midwest.  Clergy Chats will begin again in September.  For the next few weeks, I would appreciate the chance to view and discuss the video series, Marks of a Vital Congregation, being offered by the Center for Faith and Giving.  I want to hear your experiences and reflections -- and I think you may want to hear from other ministers too.

We will view and discuss one video each Wednesday at 1 pm, starting on September 7.  No advance viewing is required, but you can watch the series' overview video here.  I hope that you will join me and other ministers in our region, as you can.

Emails will be sent with complete Zoom connection information for these Clergy Chats with Josh, beginning on September 6.

August is a good time to remember that we have continuing education hours, including anti-racism experience, to share on our ministerial standing renewal applications.  I hope that you've been pursuing opportunities throughout this year.  

In each Ministry Together, we list continuing education opportunities, including our regional book study.  (Make sure you look for the "Other Continuing Education Opportunities" section each month.)  However, I know that some find the anti-racism portion challenging to meet.

My hope is that you will engage in something that is transforming for you personally and for your ministry.  But I also know that sometimes we need our awareness awakened to experience such transformation.  First Christian Church of Minneapolis has offered a series of speakers to engage their community as part of their "voices 2022" series. Perhaps you can find a way to engage your own stretching by finding an experience in one of these areas.  Or, if you are moved to awaken your awareness of issues of racism endured by Native Americans, perhaps you can join a session this fall.

You can read the continuing education guidelines, with suggestions here.

Regional Calendar


For more details go to the Regional website:

Aug 25 Clergy Book Study, 2 pm

Aug 25 Regional Operations Council, 7 pm

Sep 7 Clergy Chat with Josh, 1 pm

Sep 9-10 Committee on Ministry

Sep 12 Registration Deadline for Pastor's Camp (to receive t-shirt)

Sep 14 Clergy Chat with Josh, 1 pm

Sep 21 Clergy Chat with Josh, 1 pm

Sep 22 Clergy Book Study, 2 pm

Sep 22 Regional Operations Council, 7 pm

Sep 25 Reconciliation Special Offering

Sep 26-28 Pastor's Camp

Sep 28 Clergy Chat with Josh, 1 pm

Oct 2 World Communion Sunday; Reconciliation Special Offering

Save the Dates!

October 15, 2022

All Congregational Gathering

January 30-31, 2023

Minister's Institute

July 29-Aug 1, 2023

General Assembly

Pastor Camp, September 26-28

Join colleagues and friends for a special church camp experience September 26-28 at the Christian Conference Center. Learn with our keynote speaker, Bryan Feille, enjoy conversations in small groups, create and share meaningful worship, rest, enjoy time together on Holy Ground, and end the day 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 (bring your own bedding!), and a special Pastors Camp t-shirt. Camp cost is $150. 

Register Today!Deadline is September 12 to guarantee a t-shirt

Upper Midwest All Congregational Gathering, October 15

Are you and other leaders trying to figure out what to do in your church?  Does everything seem harder?

The 2022 All Congregational Gathering will focus on resources to make sense of and adapt to many challenges that the church is facing.  In addition to learning, there will be worship and fun as Disciples Together.

Please plan to participate and please promote this to others in your congregation: Saturday, October 15.

Important News and Resources

Covenant Conversations (New Dates Added!)

Our general church is rethinking how we gather, engage, and make decisions together. You are invited to join one of several upcoming online town hall sessions to learn and engage in these conversations about our covenantal relationships. Learn more hereRegister for a town hall session here.

Continuing Ed Scholarships

Disciples Home Missions offers educational grants of up to $500 for ordained and commissioned ministers with standing.  Applications for 2023 may be submitted between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31.  Learn more and find application instructions here.

Free Online Elders Workshops

Lexington Theological Seminary is offering a series of three online elders workshops in September.  Funding from the Lilly Endowment allows these workshops to be free for all registered participants.  Sessions are Sept. 13, 20, & 27 from 6:30-8:00 CDT.  Each congregation's registration for pastor and 2-7 elders is due by Sept. 2.  Learn more and register here.

Church Security Advice

Recent violence in and around religious sanctuaries has heightened awareness about church security.  Insurance Board offers some guidance, conveniently packaged in two one page documents:

Help General Ministries

Our wider church is asking for nominations for people to serve on the General Board and the next Moderator Team.  Nominations are due by October 15.  Learn more here.

Disciples Home Missions and the General Youth Council are asking people who work with young people in the church to fill out a survey.  You can access the survey here.

Helpful Recent Articles

Tis the season... for stewardship.  If you are looking for something to share with lay leaders, here's an essay that draws parallels between welcoming guests and developing stewardship.

Worship numbers lower than you'd like?  Here's a study about how online worship doesn't replace in-person worship for engaged millennials.

Transitions and Prayers
Please submit your celebrations and personal prayer requests to Liz Woodward,


Noelridge Christian Church, Cedar Rapids, has been led through the interim season by Rev. Cindi McKee. Rev. McKee's final Sunday with the congregation will be September 25 when she and the new pastor, Gregory Chambers will share worship. Thank you, Cindi, for your service.

Cluster 11 gathered for "a day apart" for participants from the six congregations of the cluster. Our Lady of the Prairie, Wheatland, IA was the gathering place for a focused retreat on Psalm 23. It was a good day to build community as "Disciples Together."

First Christian Church, Albia, has been served during the interim season by Rev. Arlene Johnson. Rev Johnson's final Sunday with the congregation will be Sunday, August 28. Rev. Josha Patty was present on Sunday, August 21, to award Rev. Johnson the Honored Minister's Pin. Thank you, Arlene, for your service.

Prayers for Clergy Colleagues

With school beginning, summer activities coming to a close, congregational ministries and mission begin to take on a new energy level for pastors and laity.  Let's hold one another in prayer as together each congregation faithfully responds to God's leading. 

Prayers for congregations, pastors and chaplains as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect life.

Congregations in Transition

Friends, you will see listed below the congregations in the Upper Midwest in the search and call process. Gratefully many of these congregations have interim leadership, equipping the congregation to transition with hope and grace.

  • Mitchellville Christian Church is in the search and call process. Alice Bolen is serving as interim.
  • Altoona Christian Church called Lisa Grace as interim.
  • Newton First Christian Church is in the search and call process. 
  • Oakland Christian Church is in the revitalization process, using regular pulpit supply for Sundays.
  • Waukee Christian Church is in the search process.
  • New Disciples Christian Church, Cedar Rapids has called Sherry Schwab as interim.
  • Park Ave Christian Church, Des Moines is in the search and call process with Tim Johnson serving as interim.
  • Lennox Christian Church is in the search and call process.
  • Trinity Christian Church, Bridgewater, will enter the search and call process.
  • First Christian Church, Hampton is exploring regular pulpit supply.
  • New Beginnings Christian Church, Urbandale, is in the search and call process, with Nick Green as the interim.
  • Central Christian Church, Boone, is in the search and call process, with David Clark as the interim.
  • Hedrick Christian Church is seeking pulpit supply.
  • Carlisle Christian Church is beginning the search process and seeking pulpit supply.
Looking to Serve?

Each month, we list the congregations in the Upper Midwest who are in the search and call process. It is challenging to identify enough pulpit supply, interim, and settled ministers for these many congregations to consider.

Please contact Josh, Tiff or Liz to learn more or share your ideas.

Clergy Book Study Starts August 25

The monthly book study with clergy from across the Region will continue on Thursday, August 25, 2 pm. We will begin our discussion of our next book: The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann. This classic work of Biblical theology traces prophecy as a critique of power and source of new vision.

For our discussion on August 25, please read the introductory material, chapters 1 and 2.  The book study is a Zoom meeting. The link is sent the morning of 8/25. To participate please send an email to Your participation will earn continuing education hours plus join your colleagues in engaging conversation.

This Clergy Book Study will also be held on the fourth Thursdays of September and October. If you have a book recommendation for 2023 book studies, please submit it to Liz.

Other Continuing Education Opportunities

Greater Kansas City Region

Boundaries and Anti-racism Opportunities

Kansas City region invites clergy to participate in upcoming in-person and online sessions, space permitting.  Courses scheduled in August and September.

More info about sessions.

Luther Seminary

Digital Marketing for Churches

online, on-demand, $49

More info about program.

National Council of Churches

Christian Unity Gathering

online, Oct. 9-11, $25

More info about program.

Continuing Education Requirement

All Upper Midwest clergy are expected to complete continuing education each year in order to be granted ministerial standing in the following years. Details on our regional website.
Resources and News
Clergy Sermon Resources

Sermons by Mission Co-Workers, offered through Global Ministries

Mental Health Sermons, prepared by Mental Health taskforce of National Benevolent Association

Fourth Sunday Sermons, recorded and offered by AllianceQ for Disciples congregations to use

Helpful Articles

Your financial gifts to the Christmas Special Offering and Disciples Mission Fund
support Disciples Together and other publications from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest.
Support Regional Ministries

Wider Church Positions

Other Resources

Children Worship & Wonder trainings, offered by Ministry Across Generations

Disciples Tech Corp, technology guides for congregations

Mental Health Resource for all active ministers and families

Important -- you do not need to be a member of Pension Fund to access this service, but only active minister of a DOC church

Free Stewardship campaign materials

"Marks of a Vital Congregation" videos

Practicing Our Faith website

Regional Newsletters

Stay up to date! Click here to sign up for any of our regular regional newsletters.

Click here sign up for Disciples News Service newsletters from the general church.
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