3 R’s for the Laity

Lay Servant Ministries


As we enter the month of May we tend to think of the end of the school year, that time when grade cards tell how well students have done in the 3R’s—reading, writing and arithmetic. (Suggesting these all start with the letter R probably doesn’t set the best example for our youth as they study spelling…) We have also just passed the annual observance of Earth Day with its own 3R’s—Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. As stewards of God’s creation, we should all be observing these actions as well.
Today, however, I want to consider another set of 3R’s—Read, Reflect, Respond. Whether in Sunday School setting or small group Bible Study (even individual study), we are challenged to:

  • Read the word of God,
  • Reflect on what we read, and
  • Respond to God’s call.
Many of the study guides we encounter follow the Common Lectionary, allowing us an opportunity to read though the Bible in an organized manner. These ‘bite-sized’ passages can be a daily source of though for us to ponder. As we think about the passages and discuss within our groups, we begin to comprehend what God intends for our lives. And as this takes it place within us, we need to respond. Our response may come in a variety of ways depending on which part of the ‘body of Christ’ is touched within us. Whichever part this may be, we recall that we are charged to use this as inspiration to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

For Lay Servants (Certified Lay Servant, Certified Lay Speaker or Certified Lay Minister), the Book of Discipline indicates some specialized studies that provide guidance. In these several areas of study, we are encouraged to Read the Word, Reflect on how we can use those thoughts as leaders in our congregations, and to Respond by sharing that message with others. Those ‘others’ may be part of our congregation, part of our community or someone outside of either of these groups.

The final set of R’s are probably the greatest challenge for the Laity. They include:
  • Remember—God calls Laity the same as he calls Clergy—just different method of action,
  • Relate—Share God’s love with ALL of God’s children anywhere you encounter them, and
  • Rejoice—that the joy of knowing God flows through us so that we may touch others.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum from Laity to Clergy, I pray that as you READ God’s word you will REFLECT on how this can impact your life and others, and, finally, you will choose to RESPOND in a way that blesses you, blesses those you encounter, an most importantly blesses our God. 
--Kirk Pemberton, Topeka District LSM Director