Lanning has taken the position following the departure of Rev. Clif Crockett on June 12. Crockett transferred to the Kimberling City United Methodist Church.
Lanning comes to Monett from Gashland Methodist Church in north Kansas City where he served as pastor for six years.
"This is a very comfortable church with wonderful people," said Lanning. "The Monett church probably has the best outreach ministries in our conference. It is incredible."
Prior to the ministry, Lanning was in the shoe business for 14 years as a training supervisor. In 1992, Lanning decided to become a minister, marry his wife, Linda, and finish his bachelor's degree. He took a church and started seminary the same year. His wife is retired from AT&T in computer management. While in Kansas City, she went to work for the library. She is originally from Republic.
|The Monett First United Methodist Church is the seventh church that Lanning has pastored in his 20-year ministry. The couple has one son, who lives in Cedarville, Ark. and two grandchildren.||"People have really reached out to us as newcomers," said Lanning. "The church congregation have been welcoming and caring individuals, and the community has welcomed us as well. That is what Monett is all about."|
Lanning said that recently the church went through a process called Healthy Church Initiative, which is new for the Methodist denomination. A professional group comes to the church to evaluate the different programs, staff and ministries and give the church five prescriptions.
"It's just like when you go to the doctor," said Lanning. "They tell you what your ailments are and give you five prescriptions to fix the ailments."
The church has to vote to accept the prescriptions that have to be taken as a entire group. The church congregation voted 97 percent to accept the prescriptions.
Basically, all of the prescriptions involve communication in the church, evaluating staff and the different ministries.
"I think there will be growth here," said Lanning, "but it is not really about growing the church, it is about growing God's Kingdom and that is certainly embraced here.
"Love God, Love Others and Serve the World has always been the vision here and we will work together to make that happen," Lanning added.