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Associate Director for Lay Leadership Development - Laura Witkowski


UMC Categories of Lay Leadership

Local Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 251, states that each local church/charge will elect a lay leader who is the primary lay representative of the laity. Principal responsibilities include fostering an awareness of the role of the laity, meeting regularly with the pastor, assessing the opportunities for ministries within the church and serving on the church council and various committees (finance, lay leadership, staff-parish).

District Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 660, requires that each district elect a District Lay Leader who fosters an awareness of the role of the laity both within congregations and through ministries in the home, workplace, community and world. The district lay leader meets regularly with the district superintendent to discuss the state of the district, the Church and the needs for ministry. The district lay leader is a member of the conference board of laity.

Conference Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 607, requires that each conference elect a conference lay leader to represent the laity of the conference and foster an awareness of the role of the laity in the home, workplace, community and world. He/she will meet regularly with the bishop to discuss the state of the annual conference, the Church and the needs for ministry both locally and globally. The conference lay leader chairs the conference board of Laity.

Lay Member of Annual Conference: Each congregation elects at least one lay member of annual conference. Equal numbers of clergy and laity are members of annual conference, so each congregation elects a number of lay members equal to the number of clergy for that congregation. Additional at-large equalization lay members are selected by the board of laity to reach the required number of laity, since retired clergy also attend annual conference. An effective lay member attends annual conference sessions and reports the actions taken to the congregation.

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. Coming soon - all resources can be found by clicking on the toolbox!

We're glad you're here! 

Welcome to the new Laity page! I am the Associate Director of Lay Leadership Development and I am excited about the work we’re going to do together!

Here is what Lay Leadership Development will look like in Michigan!

Cultivating bold and effective leaders to be persons of influence in our communities and compelled to BE disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world around us.


In this new position, I intend to:

Build Relationships

  • Build relationships with local church laity
  • Workshops: Focus on Spiritual Gifts Assessment tool and follow-up; Sharing Our Faith; UMC Local Church Leadership, using UMC Guidelines Booklets
  • Develop 'How To's' and share simple ministry tools for laity
  • Recruit teams to attend trainings, and implement strategies in their missional clusters


  • Link with Church Vibrancy Team on New Church, Roads to Vibrancy, VCI, ¶213, addressing conflict, family systems, youth, multicultural ministry, etc.
  • Connect with Clergy Excellence team with a focus on laity working WITH pastors and church staff in ministry
  • Partner with the Board of Laity


  • Lay Servant Ministries Program: strengthen, promote and resource

Podcast & Laity Trends

  • Interview laity, bishops, pastors and church staff with a focus on telling their faith stories, key learnings in ministry and what can be reproduced in other churches
  • E-News that includes articles from MIUMC laity, social media, webpage to include laity stories

I'm looking forward to being on the journey with you!