Can you believe it...it’s almost August. I hope you had the opportunity to participate in some of the fun things of summer, swimming, camping, summer games, Vacation Bible School and maybe even some time away on vacation. August marks a time of new beginnings — kickoff to new programs at church, a new school year, fall sports, marching band competitions, fall festivals, cooler weather to name a few.
As lay servants, it’s a time to review where you are in your journey as a lay servant. What do you enjoy most about being a lay servant? What would you like to do this fall as a lay servant? What are the needs of your church for a lay servant? Have you remembered to take a lay servant class? While many of you do travel to take classes in person, if you haven’t you should consider going to classes in another district and getting acquainted with other lay servants.
Remember to check the calendar (https://www.greatplainsumc.org/lsmtraining) for upcoming lay servant classes in your district or a nearby district, or take an adventure and travel to a district you’ve never gone to before. This calendar will be changing as new classes are scheduled. While you are required to take at least class every three years, consider looking at options to take classes more frequently.
Remember, being a lay servant does not mean only providing pulpit supply, although that may be your calling. There are many activities that lay servants can do to help their local church, nearby churches or the district – leading a Bible study, teaching a Sunday School class, serving on one of the committees in your church, visiting members, creating unique classes to offer at your local church, being a disaster response volunteer, serving on the worship committee, helping lead worship in your local church, welcoming newcomers to your community and church….
What other ways might you serve? What is God calling you to do?
One of the newer opportunities is to write one of the Great Plains Daily Devotions. We would like to have people from throughout the Great Plains participate. It’s a perfect way to showcase the talents of laity in the conference! There are lectionary verses available, however if there is a verse that fits your message, we welcome you to use that verse instead. If you have questions, let Lisa Soukup in the conference office know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested, here’s how you can sign up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a054dafaa23a2fc1-daily
And the newest opportunity for lay servants is the opportunity for a scholarship to help cover expenses so that you can register for and experience advanced leadership development opportunities, such as the Leadership Institute offered by the Church of the Resurrection. We have $500 scholarships available for lay persons to pursue advanced trainings (these are not our regular CLS, CLSp or CLM trainings). You can download the application here (Word document) (PDF)
Some districts have many lay servants and others have fewer numbers. As you consider what your role might be, consider serving on the district lay servant committee or co-teaching one of the Lay Servant classes. Would your church like to serve as a host for a Lay Servant training? Contact your district director if you would be willing to help in these ways or if you have a particular class you need to or would like to take.
Here’s the link where you can find the contact information for your district director: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/lsmcontacts
Sometimes the number of classes offered depends on having churches willing to be the host church, and also on lay servants being willing to help teach the classes.
It’s also time to begin thinking about completing your Annual Report. Yes, you need to complete a report each year and have it signed by your pastor and your church/charge conference or church council. When you fill out your report, be sure to use the current form and be sure to use the appropriate Great Plains form for your current Lay Servant certification – Certified Lay Servant, Certified Lay Speaker or Certified Lay Minister. Use the Great Plains Conference specific form (Annual Reports from other web sites are not applicable).
Here’s the link to the current Great Plains Conference form: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/chargeconferenceresources
You will need to scroll down on the page to find your specific report form which is available in Word or PDF format. The 2019 form will be available after August 30.
As a Lay Servant, it’s important to be involved in your local church; however, it’s also important to become involved in activities beyond the local church at the district or conference levels.
To stay in touch with what’s happening in the Great Plains Conference, sign up to get the weekly GPconnect email: https://gp-email.brtapp.com/subscribe
As a Lay Servant, it’s important to be informed about what’s happening in the Great Plains.
Blue River District Director