As a participant several years ago in the first of the lay servant courses, the “Basic Course,” I was moved by the connections that were built among the class members in just 10 hours. The lay servants of the Great Plains Conference are a very special community that welcomes all seeking to follow God's call to ministry.
In the years since my first experience, I have taken courses at locations in the conference and online at beadisciple.com. I have "met" classmates in other countries, been in a discussion group online and sat in classes with a neighbor down the street. After a recent offering of courses here in the Gateway District, the registrar for the event shared with me that had she not known better, she might have thought she was witnessing a family reunion. No matter the location or delivery system for the course, in every instance community is a key element to the appeal and success of the courses.
The lay servant courses are designed to enhance the ministries of the local church. I have found that many who are active in our local United Methodist congregations think lay servant ministries exist only to develop speakers for pulpit supply. Lay speaking is just one facet of Lay Servant Ministries. Lay servant training relating to every area of the life and outreach of the local congregation is available through these courses. In other words, there is a course for everyone!
I can't guarantee that once you take a course, you will be "hooked for life.” You may find new leadership skills, personal spiritual growth, better Bible knowledge or a stronger understanding of what it means to be United Methodist. And you may just form a strong Christian friendship that sustains you in your day-to-day calling to serve Christ.
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry ... ." Ephesians 4:11-12
Learn more about Lay Servant Ministries.
Ardith Davenport is director of Lay Servant Ministries in the Gateway District of the Great Plains Conference.