So you took the leap.
You completed the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course. Maybe you have completed an Advanced Course. Now what do you do?
First, welcome to Lay Servant Ministries. Your next step is to figure out how your ministry takes shape. This is as varied as the number of Lay Servants that have reached this same point. And ultimately it is up to you – with God’s guidance.
Be thoughtful. Be open. Be creative.
LSM underwent a major change four years ago to become Lay Servant Ministries instead of Lay Speaking Ministries. This reminds us that although preaching is important there are other forms of ministry that are just as vital. For those called to preach as a primary ministry, there exists the additional preparations noted in the Certified Lay Speaker role. If preaching is not your forte, there are still plenty of opportunities to continue as a Lay Servant. But in my conversations with other Lay Servants, the first comment is still often “I preached ‘X’ times.” The Basic Course references ministry in areas of leading, caring and communicating. This occurs in places other than the pulpit.
When I encounter the question of what next, my first response is to determine “Where are you now?” With or without the paper that indicates your status of Lay Servant, you may have been serving in that role for some time. Think about how you participate in your local congregation, for starters. Maybe you serve as a trustee. Or a Sunday school teacher. Or a custodian, which is a ministry of caring.
My preferred response to those asking about Lay Servant Ministries and what do I do next is direction to the Bible. We are reminded that the Body of Christ has many parts with many gifts (I Corinthians 12:12-31), so we need to determine which gift we possess and use that gift in our ministry. And to direct the gifts to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46) — serving others as we would serve Christ.
There are lots of ways to take a next step. One of my favorites is visiting with other Lay Servants to see how they have found to serve. This often serves as inspiration for things I can try in my own corner of the world: Take another LSM class, or participate (maybe lead) a Bible study group, serve at a meal site.
Use your imagination.
So I guess the short answer to the opening question is “Take another LSM Class to discover your spiritual gifts.” (That is one of the advanced courses — shameless plug!)
Whichever step you take next, remember there are folks like me praying for your success, and I courage you to pray the same for others.
Learn more about Lay Servant Ministries in the Great Plains Conference.
Kirk Pemberton is director of Lay Servant Ministries in the Topeka District.