Good Idea Webinars


Good Idea webinars are a series of interactive presentations designed to address issues and concerns of pastors and laity during the COVID-19 crisis. Good Idea webinars are a joint effort of the Office of Congregational Excellence, Office of Clergy Leadership and Excellence, the Cabinet, and lay leaders of the Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. They will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.


3/26/2020: Basics of Online Worship

Learning the Basics of Online Worship in the midst of the challenging times of the Coronavirus is essential for faith communities to reach their members, friends in their communities, and beyond. Rev. Matt German, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa, leads an interactive conversation about tips, tools, and techniques of an electronic worship experience.


3/28/2020: What Parents Should Say About Covid-19 

Presenter is Gladys Noll Alvarez MSW, LISW, IMH-E ® who is a Trauma Informed Care Project Coordinator at Orchard Place/ Child Guidance Center. She has worked with children and families since 1976 when she was a counselor with the Upward Bound program at Coe College. Her passion is providing education and trainings which promote a trauma-informed care approach to interactions with children, families and in the work environment. 


3/31/2020: What to Do With Holy Week and Easter

Are you wondering how to make Easter Worship special? Looking for some creative ideas? Have some ideas to share with others? 

Our guests were Rev. Brody Tubaugh, Pastor of The Shueyville United Methodist Church & Rev. Eric Schubert, Pastor of the Greenfield United Methodist Church. Our host was Rev. Melissa Drake, Associate Director for Congregational Excellence. Melissa is the incoming Superintendent of the Southwest District and will formally begin those duties on July 1. She has a passion for small churches and rural communities. 

4/2/2020: Faith & Finances in Difficult Times 

As a church leader are you worried about the financial impact of COVID-19 on your congregation? Are you concerned about what to do when passing a plate is not possible? If so, then Rev. Dr. Katharine Yarnell, Director of the Iowa United Methodist Foundation, may have some answers for you.  The Foundation is a charitable nonprofit that has been serving churches, organizations, individuals and families across Iowa for over 50 years. The host is Rev. Ron Carlson, Superintendent of the Northwest District and the cabinet representative to Conference Council on Finance and Administration.

4/7/2020: Caring for Our Neighbors 

Caring for Our Neighbors - Looking for ways to connect with your neighbors and be in ministry during this age of social distancing? Looking for some ideas to show you care? Perhaps you have some ideas to share. Our guests in this episode of Good Idea Webinars are the staff of Ames, Collegiate United Methodist Church. The host is Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy & Leadership Excellence.



4/9/2020: Best Practices for Funerals: A Conversation with A Funeral Director 

Wondering about best practices for funerals during the Covid-19 outbreak? Looking for some ideas? Have some ideas to share? If so join us for a Good Ideas Webinar titled Best Practices for Funerals: A Conversation with A Funeral Director using this link 

Our guest will be funeral director Marty Riekin owner of Riekin Veith in Oakland, IA and Rieken & Duhn in Griswold, IA. Marty grew up in Griswold, IA where he graduated from Griswold High School in 1993. He attended South Dakota State University and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science. Marty attended Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL and graduated in 1998. He worked at several different funeral homes before he and his wife Kristy purchased Vieth Funeral Home from Alan and Suzanne Vieth in 2001. They purchased the Duhn Funeral Home in 2012.  Marty and Kristy have five children:  Kyler, Keaten, Kort, Kasper, and Maelie. 

Our host will be Rev. Melissa Drake who is currently Associate for Congregational Excellence and is the incoming Superintendent of the Southwest District.


4/14/2020: Ministry Ideas for Laity

Ministry Ideas for Laity - As United Methodists we believe in the priesthood of all believers. We believe that all people are called to ministry through baptism and not just our clergy. Wondering how lay people might be engaged in ministry given the Covid-19 outbreak? Want to know more about how you might make a difference? Have some ideas to share? Please join us for a Good Idea Webinar on Ministry Ideas for Laity using this link 

Our guests will be Lynn Calvert and Angela Hansen-Abbas. Lynn is well known as one of the Deans for the School for Lay Ministry and is an active leader in the United Methodist Women. Angela is the lay leader in the central district and has been actively engaged in local, district and conference ministry. Our host will be Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck the Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence for the Iowa Annual Conference. Lanette resources the Iowa Conference board of laity and has a passion for helping laity name, claim, and use their God-given talent for ministry.  

4/15/2020: God is With Us: Care of self, Congregation & Community through Trauma, Grief and Fear  

(note this is an addition to the weekly pattern)

God is With Us: Care of self, Congregation & Community through Trauma, Grief and Fear - How many times have you heard “the world will never be the same?” Or watched the news and been horrified by the growing number of Covid-19 cases? Have you wondered what the long-term impact of grief might be on the wellbeing of your congregation and community? If so join us for a Good Idea Webinar titled “God is With Us: Care of self, Congregation & Community through Trauma, Grief and Fear.” Our guest will be United States Air National Guard Chaplain Rev. Dr. Steve Peters. Join us (at a special time) on Wednesday, April 15 at 2 p.m. using this link: 

  Chaplain Peters will be speaking to us on moral injury, trauma response, and grief as experienced with his deployment caring for fallen military heroes. He will help us explore what this might teach us about dealing with the grief our communities are experiencing. Chaplain Peters is assigned to the 185th Air Recovery Wing and was commissioned in 2008. Before going full-time with the Air Guard, he pastored Trinity United Methodist Church in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Prior to moving to Fort Dodge, Chaplain Peters served St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Cedar Rapids, Ankeny 1st United Methodist Church and Bedford/Gravity United Methodist churches. He is a graduate of Newton High School, Central College, Candler School of Theology, in Atlanta Georgia and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.  

Our host will be Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy & Leadership Excellence. Before entering seminary Plambeck was certified as a grief counselor and is currently working on a certificate for Spiritual Direction.  

4/16/2020: Fighting Isolation During Social Distancing 

Fighting Isolation During Social Distancing - Struggling with social distancing? Lonely? Missing people? Want ways to avoid feeling down? Do you have some ideas to share that have worked for you? If so join us for a Good Idea Webinar focusing on Fighting Isolation During Social Distancing with guest presenter Rev. Dr. Mary Bellon, Phd. Mary is the Director of the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling for the Iowa Annual Conference. Using this link: 

Dr. Bellon’s ministry provides confidential counseling and consultation for clergy and ministerial professionals and their families. She teaches about ethics and care and nurture at the School for Lay Ministry and in the Course of Study and provides consultation and support at the School for Ministry. She leads staff days apart and district support days for groups desiring coaching and leadership development. Dr. Bellon employs a range of mental health techniques, such as mindfulness, humor, spirituality and listening, to help people strengthen personal practices of wellness, contemplation, and relaxation. Her ministry also gives people opportunities to address issues from spiritual growth, depression or burn out to anxiety or concerns with family relationships. Our host will be Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence for the Iowa Annual Conference. 


4/21/2020: Small Church Struggles & Solutions  

Small Church Struggles & Solutions - Are you part of a small church? Have you felt like the resources and ideas offered to deal with Covid-19 are not possible for you? Do you have some ideas that have worked for your small church you would like to share with others? If so join us for a Good Idea Webinar titled Small Church Struggles & Solutions using this link 

Small membership and rural churches have faced unique challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak. During this webinar, we’ll talk about how they can utilize their strengths to overcome these challenges and lead in unique and creative ways.  Our guest will be Rev. Allen Stanton, Executive Director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College. Before coming to Martin Methodist College, he served as the pastor of a small United Methodist Congregation in North Carolina. Prior to serving in the local church, he served as the Rural Church Fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues, a non-partisan public-policy think tank at N.C. State University. At the Turner Center, Allen focuses on how rural churches can become leaders in economic and community development and build strong community partnerships. Allen has written for a variety of publications, including Practical Matters, Faith and Leadership, and Ministry Matters. He is currently completing his first book, Reclaiming Rural, for publication in late 2020.  Our host will be Rev. Melissa Drake, currently Associate Director of Congregational Excellence of the Iowa Annual Conference and is the incoming Superintendent of the Southwest District. Melissa has a passion for small, rural churches. 


4/23/2020: Youth Ministry: Staying Connected  

Youth Ministry: Staying Connected - Are you a youth group leader or Sunday School teacher? Wondering how to stay connected with the kids and youth? Are you looking for ways to encourage them in faith when you cannot meet face-to-face? Have some thoughts or ideas to share with others on this topic? If so join us for a Good Idea Webinar with our guest Kelsie DeReus, Director of Youth and Connectional Mission at First United Methodist Church in Marion, IA using this link 

“None of us were trained for this, but I think back to Paul, when he wrote the letters to the various cities and he would often express his yearning to be with them, but despite not being able to be with them he could still encourage them on in the faith,” DeReus said “That’s where we are at in youth ministry right now. While we yearn to be with our students, to disciple them, we simply cannot.”    

During this webinar DeReus will be discussing the strategy for ministry that some of their student leaders, Tyler Hungate, and she put together not only to stay connected, but to encourage them on in this time. DeReus has been with Marion church for about 2 ½ years. She and her family are very passionate about youth ministry, discipleship, and shaping leaders. She is the proud parent of 4 year old, Brinley, and 2 year old, Daxton, who like to call the youth students their friends, and often have Jesus dance parties with them. The host for this Good Idea Webinar will be Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence for the Iowa Annual Conference. 


4/28/2020: Leadership in Challenging Times 




5/5/2020: Caring for Medical Professionals 


5/7/2020: Beyond the Basics of Online Church  

Beyond the Basics of Online Church - Ready to take your online worship to the next level? Maybe you started online ministry because of Covid-19 but now you are thinking about how this ministry might reach new people when the pandemic ends? If so then join for a Good Idea Webinar taking about Beyond the Basics of Online Church us using this link (link not set yet)  

Our guest will be Rev. Nate Nims, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines. Nate is a lifelong United Methodist and an elder in the Iowa Annual Conference. Nate attended Drew Theological Seminary and Simpson College and is currently appointed to Grace Des Moines. Nate has served on and as the chair of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, was a member and chair of the board at ThreeHouse: a Wesley Foundation at the University of Northern Iowa, a Residence in Ministry facilitator, and is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry.  Our host will be Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence for the Iowa Annual Conference.