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Equipping laity to serve the church

Holding hands in prayer during Bible study.

The Lay Servant Ministries program, available in every Michigan district, has classes to encourage the development of lay leaders.

ANNE MARIE HANNA
Lay Servant Ministries Co-Director, Heritage District

The theme for this year’s Annual Conference, “Mourning to Dancing,” may well be needed in all churches. How does a church go from mourning to dancing during and following a pandemic? When the words to the hymn “We Are the Church” are used, composers Richard Avery and Donald Marsh certainly iterate what church is about:

I am the church!
You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!

Being together, either in person or virtually, there is work to be done to make disciples for the transformation of the world!

What has happened to people at your church since the beginning of the pandemic? Are they at worship? Are they participating in the mission of the church? Are new ideas needed? Most importantly, what is God calling you to do?

Is God calling you to discover your spiritual gifts? Lead in worship? Give a sermon? Lead in prayer? Increase your knowledge of John Wesley and Methodism? Lead Bible study? Plan activities for children and youth? Help with congregational care? Organize a mission trip? Encourage generous giving through the stewardship of time and the gifts and resources God has given you?

Help is available! Your church can encourage the development of laity by promoting the Lay Servant Ministries program, one of the richest resources in our United Methodist connection. Lay Servant Ministries is a leader development/Christian education program which is available in every district in our Michigan Conference.

Laity are given opportunities to take classes to enhance their knowledge and skills for leadership, mission, and ministry, as disciples who serve God in the church and in the world around them and lead others to become disciples. Lay Servant Ministry has been the starting point for men and women to become lay speakers, lay ministers, licensed local church pastors, deacons, and elders.

Look for these Lay Servant Ministry classes that are now available in your district or online:

    • “Ministry of the Forgotten: Dementia Through a Spiritual Lens” offers you the opportunity to learn how those with dementia maintain their identity, giving practical ways to nurture and include these often-forgotten people into the life and ministry of the church. Become equipped to do ministry with and for those with dementia and their families.
    • “Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition” will help you increase in patience and devotion leading to witness and service. It will apply Wesley’s “Means of Grace”—more specifically, devotional life, prayer, scriptures, communion, fasting, Christian community, and acts of mercy—to your own spiritual life.
    • “Called to Preach” is designed for those who have not completed formal preaching training, for pastors seeking a basic refresher course, and for others who are called upon to preach in a pastor’s absence. This course fulfills the “Preaching” requirement for Certified Lay Speaker status.

The Lay Servant Ministries program is here to help you equip laity to serve the church, enhancing their leadership skills and knowledge of Methodism in a way that helps transform mourning to dancing. Together, we can learn the steps to the gospel dance and show the world the truth we sing:

The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.

Even in this difficult season, we are more than the building we meet in, and we can be at work making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

For more information on Lay Servant Ministries, contact Michigan Conference Lay Servant Ministries Co-Directors Jody Pratt ([email protected]) and John Hart ([email protected]). You may also contact one of the District Lay Servant Ministries Directors. Find their names and contact information on this page.

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The Michigan Conference