Servant-Leadership in the Local Church

Lay Servant Ministries


I have been giving the role of servant-leader some thought recently. I believe if one were to ask the pastors of our United Methodist Churches of the Great Plains Conference, “What is one of the greatest needs for the church?” the reply would be, “Leadership among the laity.”

Lay Servant Ministries is all about training up servant-leaders for the church of Jesus Christ. Training courses in a variety of ministries and roles within the local church are offered in the Great Plains Conference on a regular basis. District committees on Lay Servant Ministries strategize their actions and effectiveness by responding to requests for courses that come from lay servants as reported on annual reports to the Charge Conference of the local church.

Jesus and his disciples modeled this kind of response as described in Mark 9:35-37. Jesus taught about servant-leadership in this passage declaring, “Whoever wants to be first must be the least of all and the servant of all.” The person who is ‘first’ is the leader. That leader must in turn serve the others. In the case of our local churches, leadership means seeing the needs and responding in Jesus’ name. 

A recent initiative of the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries is to encourage training for Lay Leaders and Lay Members of the Annual Conference. An effort is being made to offer a 3-hour training for these leadership roles in the local church. Check out the training being offered on the Great Plains website in the Lay Servant Ministries section. Navigate to “Training” and find there descriptions and links to information regarding both lay servant courses and lay leader/lay member training events. 

Ardith Davenport

Director, Gateway District Lay Servant Ministries