With only 61 members on its rolls at last count, the Lebanon United Methodist Church in southeast Iowa’s Van Buren County has 3 lay speakers who provide leadership within and beyond the congregation.
All have received training through the Iowa Conference Board of Laity’s Lay Speaking Ministries. Yet, each has chosen a different form of service based on the particular ways that God has blessed them with gifts for ministry.
Joyce Burdett is a certified lay speaker, who recently completed a class that focused on care for aging adults. Averaging 2 visits to the nursing home each week, she found the information from the class very helpful. “New ideas are still spinning in my head,” she remarked as she considered ways to apply her learning to her ministry.
Joyce’s husband, Sanford, just completed the basic lay speaking course. This class provides an introduction to the ways that lay people serve in ministries most suited to their abilities and interests. He is already very active along with Joyce serving the needs of homeless persons in their area. He looks forward to new possibilities that God may place before him as a result of his training.
Kenneth Wells has been active for years with as the Work Project Coordinator for Mobile United Methodist Missionaries (MUMMS). He has led work teams throughout the state of Iowa and beyond to respond to natural disasters from tornadoes to floods. He enrolled in lay speaking classes “to feel more comfortable talking about missions” with local churches.
Lay speaking ministries provide one avenue for developing leaders in the United Methodist Church. Apportionments help to support curriculum development as well as to underwrite the costs for the classes, which are coordinated by each district in the Iowa Conference.