One of the ways we cultivate new leaders for both local churches and regional shared ministries is through our lay servant ministries. Lay servants, according to ¶ 266 in the 2012 United Methodist Church Discipline, are to serve “in any way in which their witness or leadership and service inspires the laity to deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship, including the interpretation of the Scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of the church.”
Laity are trained as lay servants with the support of apportionment gifts from local churches through their districts. Lorene W. Dykstra, for instance, chairs the committee in the North Central District. She helps to coordinate training events for about ten local lay servants and an additional fifty certified lay servants each year. Lay servants, she explained, “serve in capacities ranging from filling pulpits to doing committee work or visiting shut-ins.”
The story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 was the inspiration for selecting the term “servant.” Recent changes in our use of language in the United Methodist connection now emphasizes the broad range of ways that laity can engage in ministry with—and even beyond—the church. Contact your district office for more information.