Being involved with the Lay Servant Ministries has been a true blessing. Unique to the lay servant program are the wide range of ministries offered to and by each of us. The only restrictions to the good that we can do are the limitations of our own passions. Isn't it a joy to have such a broad spectrum of possibilities from which to serve others? So, you may ask, "Don't Lay Servants and Lay Speakers just fill in for vacationing ministers or fill pulpits in small churches?" The answer is a resounding, No!
A few years ago the former Certified Lay Speaker designation was renamed Certified Lay Servant. This very intentional change has expanded the ministry to include an ever-wider spectrum of essential ministries to our congregations, conference and denomination. The chances are that if you have a passion for serving, if you see a need not being met, or if you see those around you in need of God's grace, you are being called to service. And rest assured that the Lay Servant Ministry program can provide training, guidance and insight to focus your passion into a loving, caring, grace-filled ministry that will fill your heart and those you help with the presence of God.
As you match your gifts with your passion, you will find that there are others who share your commitment. As you provide leadership and organization to your ministry and seek God's persistence and guidance, you will find that energy that only He can sustain. Where can lay servant training lead us? A partial list might include pastoral care, prison ministries, pulpit supply, outreach, homeless ministries, court child advocacy, big brother/sister programs, small church ministries, social justice issues, food pantries, community meals, elder care, environmental issues, sex crimes and trafficking, urban or rural poverty, stay-in-school programs, GED support, new-church development, programs to enhance congregational growth, nursing and health care ministries, support of campus ministries, camping ministries, mission trips, youth programs, minority (African American, Native American, Hispanic, gay and lesbian) outreach and advocacy. You can add your own to the list, but you get the idea.
Our challenge, you see, is not determining if there is a need, but rather narrowing our focus. The Lay Servant/Speaker ministry may not provide specific classes on each of the areas listed, but it will help you understand your calling and help you realize that, with God's strength, we can do more than we could ever imagine. The program can help us realize that we most fully realize our blessings when we are in service to others.
Learn more about Lay Servant Ministries in the Great Plains Conference.
Pat McReynolds is Lay Servant Ministries director in the Parsons District.