Are you a sheep? Respond to a need

Lay Servant Ministries


I recently was asked, “In what type of ministries do Lay Servants participate?” Wow! What a loaded question! The possibilities are endless. As I pondered a response the following came to mind.

First, what does the Book of Discipline say about Lay Servant Ministries? Paragraph 266 is the source for information about Lay Servants. After listing the training requirements, it comments that Lay Servants  “should prepare to undertake …

  1. Provide leadership, assistance, support to program emphases of the church;
  2. Lead meetings for prayer, training, study;
  3. Conduct/assist in service of worship, preaching the Word, giving address;
  4. Work with committees
  5. Assist with communion
  6. Teach scripture, doctrine organization of UMC.”
In my mind at least, this leaves the options wide open. You may teach Sunday School (f), you may prepare a meal (d), you may prepare the elements for communion (e), you may lead a prayer group (b), or (gasp) may preach a sermon in worship(c). Servanthood can take many forms.

Next, I considered scripture. In Matthew 25:31-40 (I’m sure you are familiar with this passage), the Lord separates the sheep from the goats and says, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat … .”

The sheep were the favored group and had provided the Lord’s list to those in need. These are the servants we should be emulating. Your call as a Lay Servant may not be to present in front of an audience, it may be to sit and console the ill, or feed the hungry. Or teach someone else how to do the same.

Lastly, I considered a quote I have heard many times.
                “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”—William Toms

Our servant role is how we respond to the Word of God as presented in the Bible. Sadly, not everyone has an opportunity to read the Bible. But you may be their introduction to the Word of God by how you relate to God and His people. Take a moment to sit with God (called prayer or meditation), open your mind to the possibilities, and listen for the call to express God’s love in your unique way. Make sure Jesus’ message in Matthew is one of the Bible passages that others “read” in you.

Learn more about Lay Servant Ministries.

Learn about upcoming training opportunities.
Kirk Pemberton is the Topeka District director of Lay Servant Ministry.