One of my favorite pastimes is reading, so when I go to a thrift shop, garage sale, flea market or any other place where there might be books, I’m always looking for good, used, inspirational and/or spiritual books by good authors.
Of course I have my favorites, but I do occasionally pick up one written by someone I don’t know. On my trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado, in July, I found one titled “Seeing With a Native Eye” that contained essays all written by Native Americans. The theme story was of a gentleman who had lived with the Navajos in Southern Utah for two years. He tried to educate the elderly Navajo he lived with about the outside world. He wanted to eventually take him to Salt Lake City and introduce him to the “new world.”
He brought him pictures of large buildings, traffic and all that goes with the big city. The older man looked at him when shown the large building and asked, “How many sheep will it hold?” He was seeing things “with a Native Eye.”
Here were two men who looked at the world with different eyes. Most of us have known people that we don’t seem to see things as they do. Maybe some of you have looked at lay servants and wondered why they are involved in taking training and being servants. There are different ways lay servants look at it also.
Some get involved to learn about the United Methodist denomination and its beliefs. They can take classes in heritage and polity. For those who want to help the ill or lonely or disabled, there are classes in lay pastoral care. Those who are interested in helping with the worship service in their churches or another church, there are classes in leading worship. Others may be interested in prayer methods, so there is leading in prayer. Preaching is a class that some take to learn more about putting together sermons. Some don’t know what their gifts are, so there is a class for discovering your gifts.
Even taking the classes helps us to see things differently as we learn new things and experience new things. That doesn’t mean that we have to give up everything as we see it. We can also share with others the world as we see it and help others learn.
Learn more about Lay Servant Ministries in the Great Plains Conference, including upcoming training opportunities.
Phyllis Stoppel is Lay Servant Ministry director for the Hutchinson District.