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Contemporary worship

Have questions?

Please contact Associate Director for Lay Leadership Development - Laura Witkowski

The Ministry of the Laity

As baptized Christians, we are all called to carry out the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Laity have been instrumental in the growth of The United Methodist Church since its beginning, and were called to lead congregations between visits of the circuit-riding clergy. Today, that tradition continues in successful congregations, where the partnership of the clergy and laity leads to vibrant missions and ministries.

Each month, this page will have a highlighted resource.

What is a Disciple? What does a Disciple look like? What does it mean to be a Disciple?

The Board of Laity considered these questions. Click here to check out their responses!

Meet the new Associate Director:
Laura Witkowski

Read Profile in Leadership - Laura Witkowski  and how she wants to "get back to basics" as she launches into her role as the Michigan Conference Associate Director for Lay Leadership Development.  Read her profile.

Looking for information on
General Conference 2019?


The Michigan Conference Communications Team is working hard to make sure you're
'in the know' at!

St. Louis skyline with Arch

Group in Coffee ShopA Three Part Guide for Lay Members of Annual Conference

Part 1 - Overview

Part 2 - Registration & Legislation

Coming Soon Part 3 - Arrival & Onsite Info

The Michigan Annual Conference 2019

MAY 30 - JUNE 2, 2019


What does it take to be a bold and effective leader these days? When you experience bold and effective leadership, what do you notice? When you’re trying to be a bold and effective leader, what do you try to “stir up” from within?  We think it takes wisdom...and heart... and courage to be the leaders God calls us to be as we strive to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Members of the Michigan Annual Conference will gather for a time of fellowship, worship and legislating during the 2019 Annual Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2, 2019. The Michigan Conference will be a time of worship, learning and fellowship.
Registration opens March 1, 2019. Go to for more info.

What is Annual Conference?

The annual conference session is the annual meeting of the lay and clergy members of the geographical area, currently the state of Michigan. This session may include reports of past and ongoing work; adoption of future goals, programs and budgets; ordination of clergy members as deacons and elders; appointments of clergy members and election of delegates to Jurisdictional and General Conferences (every 4 years). The bishop presides over these meetings.



When and where is Annual Conference?

Annual conference usually covers a time span of three to five days and is typically in May or June. This year, Annual Conference is May 30 - June 2 in Traverse City, MI.

What is the role of the lay member of annual conference?

The lay member of annual conference, along with the pastor, interprets the work done by the annual conference session to the congregation. They are the liaisons between the congregation and the general church and represent the congregation in the actions taken at the annual conference sessions.

The lay member of annual conference

  • Participates in the annual conference sessions and votes on legislation;
  • Reports to the congregation after the close of the conference;
  • Serves as a member of the charge conference, church council, finance committee and staff/pastor parish relations committee.

Who attends Annual Conference?

It is important to recognize that The United Methodist Church is committed to providing an equal voice to both clergy and laity to help determine who we are and where we are going.

All ordained elders and deacons, as well as licensed local pastors currently serving a church are members to annual conference.

At least one lay person is elected by each charge (one or more local churches). Each charge with more than one clergy under appointment is entitled to as many lay members as it has clergy under appointment. Then there is a formula for larger churches who are entitled to more lay members based on the membership of the church.

In order to ensure an equal number of clergy and laity members the annual conference registrar calculates how many additional lay members are needed to achieve balance. These lay members, who are called equalization members, are identified in two ways.

Lay members serving in leadership positions at the conference level (on boards, councils and standing commissions among others) become members. 

Remaining slots are then selected by the Conference Board of Laity (typically divided at the district level).

All lay members are required to be a professing member for at least 2 years and an active participant in the church for at least 4 years at the time of his/her election.

How does the voting and legislation process work?

To help you prepare, the Committee on the Annual Conference Session invites you to watch a brief light-hearted video that demonstrates the legislative process,"One Cookie At A Time!"  When it becomes available, be sure to also read all legislation and our Rules of Order so that you are fully prepared to participate.