Interview with Lanette Plambeck
A Wesleyan Spirit
“My vision for the church is a body of Christ-followers engaged in serving others and finding wholeness for themselves along the way.”
About the time I fell in love with the Methodist Movement and our Wesleyan theology of grace, I was also discovering my passion for Impressionism and Post-impressionism art. Thus it is no surprise to me that it is the artist’s canvas that helps me to hold my vision of what it means to be Wesleyan and my hope for The United Methodist Church and our mission and ministry together.
Imagine, if you will, a blank square artist’s canvas. For me, each side represents one of the Great Calls of Scripture:
The Great Commandment (Matt. 22:36-40)
The Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20)
The Great Requirement (Micah 6:7-8)
The Great Invitation (Acts 1 & 2)
Artists will utilize various tools to help their vision come to life; likewise, in the Wesleyan spirit, I draw on tools available (means of grace) that help me to grow in personal piety and social holiness as I lead self and others in ministry. The canvas is the mission field (context)- and God’s invitation to all of us is to paint the picture of what kingdom on earth as it is in heaven looks like in our churches and communities. And if I can push the metaphor a bit further - the tripod easel of three legs (tradition, experience, and reason) necessarily rests on the foundation (Scripture).
To remain in Christ’s love, I engage in sacred listening. I have a daily practice where I enter sacred, set-apart time from 4:30- 7:30 each morning. This is my time of day when I read, meditate, journal, and pray. This is the most disciplined part of my life - and the most important. As I stay accountable in my leadership, I ask God three questions every day: “How may I glorify you?”, “How might I point others to Christ?” and (at the end of the day) “Did I love?”. I measure outcomes/actions against the Three General (Simple) Rules and know that God speaks to me in that. I also trust my gut (the Holy Spirit spends time in my guts).
With that first cup of coffee, I listen for the emerging sound of birdsong for these winged- creatures of God speak a word of hope to all of us each day. When they begin to sing, even though it still appears dark to you and to me, they already see the light of daybreak. It is the lens of their eye that allows them to see what we cannot yet see… that light has come. Their song announces gloria each and every morning giving assurance that even in the moments of life when it seems as if no light will come… light is already there. And their songs remind me, best of all, God is with us.
Each Sunday morning, I join with other United Methodists across Iowa for worship with rural, suburban and urban faith communities. Weekly, I participate in small groups, meet monthly with my accountability partners, and take every opportunity to share my faith with others.
Throughout my 25 years of pastoral ministry, I have been committed to discipling and developing lay and clergy leadership across the Iowa Conference and the greater UMC Connection. I am drawn to John Wesley’s words, “The gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.” This informs who I am in community with others and why I am committed to how we do life together and engage in ministries of holistic relationship and social justice.
I currently serve as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Clergy & Leadership Excellence for the Iowa Conference. I design and lead programs in Christian leadership formation and work with groups and individuals as a spiritual director, reflective supervisor, and ministry coach. My framework for leadership development is a six-fold flourishing model that can help resource, guide and support laity and clergy in discerning their calling, identifying their gifts, engaging in holistic self-care, and honing their skills so that they can be at their very best as they join God's mission of transformation undeterred by the current and future challenges facing the church and the world.
I was ordained an Elder in the Iowa Conference in 2005. I earned my B.A. from Morningside University in Religious Studies and Political Science. After serving in the United States Army as an Intelligence Analyst, I worked as an executive and therapist for person-centered agencies. In 2001 I completed my Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis on evangelism at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. I subsequently received a Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence degree in 2013 from Wesley Theological Seminary, in Washington, D.C.
My daughter Meghan is in her second year at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. I share my home with two sibling cats, June Carter Cat and her brother, Cash. When I have free time I avidly explore bookstores, antique shops, and art museums. I am fond of kayaking, traveling, walking new and familiar trails, playing board games and spending time with friends over brunch. Attentive to the ebb and flow of the seasons, I enjoy cooking, baking, and finding meaningful ways to celebrate holy days and holidays as I delight in the rites, rituals, and rhythms of the Christian year. My ecumenical, interfaith, and community engagements provide opportunities to know, walk with, and serve veterans, the homeless, the addicted, children-at-risk, folks doing the arduous work of recovery, and survivors of violence as I seek to seek, see and serve the least of these (Matthew 25).