Once-in-a-while I feel the message that lay servant leaders give out and the message within the culture of call are at odds with oner another, when in truth they just might be one in the same. To avoid scaring a potential or newly trained lay servant by NOT mentioning Lay Speaking or Lay Ministry, some Lay Servants may be thinking that the leaders are out-of-touch or not listening.
These thoughts were inspired recently when I realized that in Gateway District, a significant number of now licensed local pastors started out as certified lay servants. With some training and experience, these persons recognized a call on their lives and are now serving full-time in churches throughout our district.
Our Great Plains Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries has previously expressed a goal of training at least one Certified Lay Servant in each of our churches within the conference. We fall far short of that goal! The next step is to prepare Certified Lay Speakers to be able to fill pulpits as needed within their geographical areas. Again, we fall quite short, leaving our pastors in a jam when it comes time to find a qualified person to bring a message to the people for a worship service.
Is your church without trained Lay Servants? Is your church nurturing a culture of call within its constituents? Are you wondering how to begin?
I have two ideas for you:
Courses being offered throughout the conference are listed on the conference website under the Lay Servant Ministries section. Then look in the navigation menu to find “Training”. There you will find information about courses, how to register, and what text to order.
P.S. Ask your local pastor about they path he or she followed into ministry. Then support your pastor in recognizing who is being called to Lay Servant Ministries from within your congregation.
Director Lay Servant Ministry
Great Plains Conference UMC