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9002 miles for Jesus

W. Robert Hampton
Lay Servant Ministries, DAC

How can we measure the dedication of Lay Servants? 

One component might be the number of miles people are willing to travel to receive the training they need to do God’s work more effectively.

Twenty-eight laity and clergy converged on Munising UMC in the Marquette District of the Detroit Conference to celebrate communion together.  The occasion was the conclusion of two Lay Servant Courses.

The Basic and Advanced courses met on two Saturdays, October 17 and 31, which meant participants travelled those long distances four times.  Collectively they travelled 9,002—now that is dedication!

This map connects the home church location of each participant with the Munising UMC host church.  It can readily be seen that it encompasses the entire breadth of the Marquette District
Lay Servants
Rev. Sandra Kolder, pastor of Munising/Trenary UMCs, and Certified Lay Servant, Carlene Harwick, Munising UMC, were the led the Advanced Course, From Your Heart to Theirs.  Seventeen Lay Servants completed the course; finishing it by delivering a 10-12 minute message based on the text from Luke 18:1-8.  This parable ofJesus, about a widow and an unjust judge, was presented with 17 different interpretations, as each participant related how the passage spoke to them.  Many commented on how wonderful it was to witness God’s word being internalized in so many different ways and presented with clarity.

Catherine Stephenson, Certified Lay Servant, Gwinn UMC, was the leader for the Basic Course.  Although small in number (three), the depth of the faith journeys they shared was phenomenal.  Each person told how participating in this beginning course  provided discernment and confirmed the next best steps to whatever God has planned for each of them.

The Lay Servant Ministries program is a vital way to equip laity for Leading, Caring, and Communicating in our congregations.  Each church may want to consider utilizing the Basic Lay Servant Course as a core resource for leadership development. Or consider one of the many Advanced Lay Servant Courses to help further equip the laity for various ministries.

Contact your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries for help in organizing a course in your church.  It would definitely involve a lot less miles than what the dedicated Marquette District Lay Servants travelled.

If these persons pictured above were willing to travel 9,002 miles to receive training, can you even imagine how far they may be willing to go to spread the word of God and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?