NEW! Webinars and unscripted conversations available for clergy and laity

NEW! Webinars and unscripted conversations available for clergy and laity

March 25, 2020

Good Idea Webinars and opportunities for Unscripted Expressions of Encouragement and Support will begin this week for laity and clergy of the Iowa Conference.

Reverend Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence, describes the twice-weekly webinars and the unscripted expressions that will provide opportunities to share concerns and hopes in our current uncertain times.

Listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations Podcast here.

"It came about because, like all of us, the people in my office's work have all shifted," Johnson said. "We started talking about how do we do our work when it is impossible for us to be in physical contact with our churches and our clergy, and so that led us to talk about how can we best respond to this crisis in ways that provide information, encouragement, dialogue and opportunities to connect with each other through the COVID-19 crisis." 

Johnson added that clergy and churches around the connection who had never held an online worship service were asking for help. Several webinars will be based on how to do online worship, electronic giving, staying connected, how the laity can help and how to talk to kids about COVID-19.

"I was talking to a pastor the other day who has some very young kids, and her seven-year-old came down with a cough and a fever, and he asked her if he was going to die because he heard about this virus going on across the world," Johnson said. "We want the opportunity to help and people working with kids around this discussion." 

Good Idea Webinars 

These webinars will feature best practices for ministry in The United Methodist Church. They will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. except the first week, when they will be on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday at 10:00 a.m. These web-based workshops are hosted by experts in all things “church” and feature learning and a time for questions and answers.

The first webinar will be on Thursday, March 26 at 2 p.m. and will focus on "The Basics of Online Worship." Join by using this link:

The guest presenter will be Rev. Matt German, Associate Pastor of Cedar Falls, First United Methodist Church. Matt will be sharing some best practices for online worship for 15-20 minutes, and then the rest of the hour will be committed to Q&A, and sharing our own learning.

The second webinar will be on Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m. and will focus on "What Parents Should Say About Covid-19." Join by using this link:

Presenting will be 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.

The webinars will be recorded and later posted on the IAUMC Facebook page (@IowaUMCchurch) for those who are interested but cannot join live. For a full list of webinars go to

Unscripted: Expressions of Encouragement and Support

Besides the webinars, Johnson's team will host Unscripted, an unrecorded time for clergy and laity to gather.

"It's really about us gathering people together for praise, for prayer and for encouragement," Johnson said. "Unscripted will be hosted by a superintendent, and all clergy and laity are welcome."

Unscripted will have one joint conversation with clergy and laity on Friday, March 27 and will start its regular schedule next week on Mondays at 2 p.m. for clergy and Monday at 6:30 p.m. for the laity. To join the conversations go to

"We are envisioning a conversation about what's going, what's working, and where are you seeing God at work," Johnson said. "Then we'll flip the conversation to, where do you want to see God at work and what prayer concerns do we need to lift up as a community."

"We're finding in this time of social distancing working from home and isolation that our church leaders are aching to get together and to simply talk to each other, and we're hoping that's what this will accomplish."

The Good Idea webinars and the Unscripted Expressions of Encouragement & Support are a collective effort of the Office of Congregational Excellence, the Office of Leadership & Clergy Excellence, the cabinet, and lay leaders Lynn Calvert and Angela Hansen-Abbas.