The Living from God's Center Program Difference

015: The Living from God’s Center Program Difference with Kathy Williams | Bill O’Neil


Shownotes Episode 015: The Living from God’s Center Program Difference. Interview with Rev Kathy Williams, Senior Pastor at First UMC, Holton, KS and Rev Bill O’Neil, Lead Pastor at St Stephen UMC, Troy, MO on the Program’s One-Year Anniversary. Special anniversary edition.

The Living from God's Center Program DifferenceReason for signing up for the Living from God’s Center Program

Kathy had been praying to God to help her move into a deeper time of prayer. While she wasn’t sure what it would look like, she wanted it to be more nourishing. When Kathy heard about the Living from God’s Center Program, her immediate thought was that she didn’t have enough time. Then, she realized she had been praying about such an opportunity. She believes God brought her to that season and allowed her to hear and move past, “I don’t have time.” Prayer is necessary. Start with it rather than stressing and then going to prayer.

Bill had been at an appointment for 9 years and things were going well. Through prayer, he felt it was time to move. He asked his District Superintendent (DS) and also asked for a challenge. He is impatient by nature and after a few months he was asking shere was God in it. Was it too late for the church? He and Claire talked about prayer and he realized he’d gotten to the place of relying on himself rather than God. He prayed about the Living from God’s Center Program and signed up. He’s talked about what it has done for him.

What it was like going through the Living from God’s Center Program

Going through the Living from God’s Center Program was very hard. It took a lot of time and was uncomfortable. He started getting out of the way and letting God and realizing what truly matters is worshiping and praying to God. That’s where he used to be. Whatever happens, to not let Satan steal his joy that god is giving him. Sometimes he falls back and it’s all about Bill but he can feel God quickly yanking him back.

The discomfort came in knowing that as a pastor, he was failing to rely on God. As a pastor he was feeling pressure, as if he had to figure out everything. As a Christian he had allowed his relationship with Jesus to be an after though. He was treating God as a butler or loan officer with whom he was building up enough credit to make what he wants to happen, happen.

The program required Kathy to take an honest look at herself and behaviors and say she had developed unhealthy patterns and ways of serving that had become busyness, filling and cluttering her life with a lot of activities within the church and responsibilities that she felt were proving that she was worshiping God. It helped her to clean some of that up and move some off her plate. If she really believed that prayer and that time with God were important, she had to look how she was spending that time, spending the time with her family and how they were growing spiritually as a family. An honest look showed that how she was using her time wasn’t how God intended it to be. It was uncomfortable but peaceful as changes were made. She is thankful those changes were made. She began to be honest about what should be priorities. She was a people pleaser and not pleasing God. She wasn’t making space to hear from God and vice versa, except in desperate moments.

What had the greatest impact in the Living from God’s Center Program

There were peaceful times after a while. Greatest impact: the devotional times, getting up early in the morning, having coffee with God, journaling, responding.

Doing that required such discipline. It was one of her goals—not to look at her phone first. When she looked at her phone first she got caught up in her emails To begin the day with God—her whole frame of mind was different. Whatever happened was okay. It re-framed everything, strengthened her. She had peace and was more courageous and bold. God was no more an after thought.

The impact of the Living from God’s Center’s Program in their lives now

It impacts how she enters the day is different and impacts her stress level. She was appointed to a different church which she wasn’t expecting. Without the program it would have been more difficult. She entered it more peacefully knowing that God was with her. She structures her day with God, being more mindful. It has been transforming.

He finds himself getting away from people pleasing. He doesn’t want to ignore people. One of the dangers of being a pastor is trying to please everyone. His desire to please has diminished. He knows his best days of being devoted to God are the days he wants to make God smile. It is hard to please a God who is already pleased with you through Jesus. They try to worship in such a way that they’re pleasing. It is realizing, why can’t anything he does be worship, a worshipful attitude? He’s not done changing but that’s where he is going.

Advice on living from God’s center

The Living from God’s Center Program Difference Kathleen:

Living from God’s center is living in a way she is unable to do on her own. The peace she desires only comes from this deeper relationship that God is allowing her to have with God through Christ Jesus.

  • As a pastor, person in leadership the only way you can lead effectively as God calls you to lead is if you are living from God’s center because it is only through God’s strength and nourishment and provision you can grow spiritually yourself and be a spiritual leader for others.
  • Prayer is a necessary discipline in order to be able to do that. It draws you nearer to God.
  • Start each day with prayer and when you do that you are living from God’s center as you meet God each time, experiencing God’s peace.

Re why the program made the difference in terms of starting the day with God, etc, when they must have known in their heads this is what they should do—the accountability the program offered. Knowing they would give an account during the weekly calls.


  • Start in the morning with devotions. Don’t beat yourself up when you miss.
  • Accountability is important.
  • Stick with it. Push through the growing pains, rejoice in the ah-ha moments, when you breathe in the Holy Spirit and have peace.

Favorite resources

From Bill:

  • Scripture and going into Scripture.
  • He likes going back to the devotions from the program and seeing where he is in relation to six months ago.

From Kathy:

Click here to find out more about the Living from God’s Center Program.

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About this Podcast

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Bible Version

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Music:A True Friend” by Josh Molen

Podcast Guest Resources

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