Since having taken early retirement from the insurance industry (required, for self-sanity!) this has left me with time for things I once could not do, and being Lay Leader at Colby, Kansas, United Methodist Church for the past 25 years (“member of everything and chairperson of nothing”... the way I like it!) has left me thinking that serving in some way beyond the local church could be “interesting”.
I was right.
I could name names to blame for how I got here (!) as your new Hays District Director of LSM, but the truth of the matter is that serving in this capacity comes as close to “ideal” for me as I think it could come. Along with being Lay Leader, I've also been a Lay Speaker for more years than I can document (yepper, I was one of those “grandfathered” but with 15 years of classes...!) so obviously I'm passionate about the LSM program and desire to help it in any way that I can. Besides, I get to go to annual conference! OK, take that any way you want...
But seriously, these past few months have been a fun ride. Since our district has rode on the LSM coat-tails of another district for the past couple of years, we've had some catching-up to do. I've fielded numerous questions, recently helped with our joint LSM School at Camp Lakeside, trying to get the database up-to-date (sorta!) and the best part is learning of other folks and of their ways of joining together in ministry in greater Western Kansas and conference-wide. What a joy it is to experience hands-on all these people and their ministries! And in all this, one cannot do ministry alone: I would be remiss in not mentioning my mentor, Dodge City District Director of LSM Patty Lahey... what a patient saint she has been in answering my questions and putting on the LSM School. ...Thank you Patty! And to many others I've leaned on. ...Thank You!
Let me quote from the Lay Servant Ministries Guide book ... that “an effective district director of lay servant ministries works with the district lay leader, the district superintendent, the district committee on lay servant ministries, and the district board of laity to equip the laity of the district for mission and ministry by providing a system for developing principled Christian leaders so that the mission of the church - to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world -- is fulfilled.” What a tall order! But what does any of this “mean”? Why me Lord, now? Oh, the Great Mystery of Faith, and our individual faith journeys and how we respond to the calling of God. For most of us including myself, we start out with baby-steps, timidly stepping out where we've not been before. With each step taken perhaps we look back, amazed at how far we've come when we didn't know where we were going and realizing that Something Greater was nudging us along, opening doors we didn't see coming, giving us the confidence to step through and continue on this journey. I've experienced the Presence of God in the people I've met, in the ministries I hear about, and in this work that I do. In feeling God's presence and Holy Spirit, together with such a great cloud of witnesses, I truly feel blessed to be doing this ministry, and am part of that transformation of the world!
Thanks be to God!