Lay Servant Ministries News

Lay Servant Ministries Newsletter, Jan 2017

Jana Waite, Conference Director, Lay Servant Ministries

New Years' greetings.  Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don't rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight" (CEB).  My prayer for you is that, as you trust in and rely on God, you may find new energy and passion as you joyfully serve Him in this New Year.

Changes to Lay Servant Ministries Effective Now

Effective January 1, 2017, Lay Servant Ministries has three categories:  Certified Lay Servant, Certified Lay Speaker, and Certified Lay Minister.  As mentioned in the last newsletter, the changes are the result of legislation adopted at the 2016 General Conference. 

Thank you to all who faithfully served as Local Church Lay Servants but decided not to be recommended to become Certified Lay Servants.  Although you will no longer be a part of Lay Servant Ministries, I pray that you will still employ your gifts and graces serving God through your local church.  If you have a change of heart and would like to be considered for Certified Lay Servant status, please talk with your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries, who can help you with the paperwork and needed approvals.  If you don't know who your District Director is, please refer to www.igrc.org/layservant.

There is still some confusion about who is a Certified Lay Speaker. The role and requirements for Lay Speaker were changed by the 2012 General Conference.  The name was changed by the 2016 General Conference from Lay Speaker to Certified Lay Speaker, but the role and requirements did not change.  Certified Lay Speakers must meet specific educational requirements, receive specific approvals, interview with the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, and be approved by the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.  The official list of Certified Lay Speakers may be found at www.igrc.org/conferenceapprovedcertifiedlayspeakers. Please see www.igrc.org/layservant_about for more information.

Classes                               

I have heard some concerns about Lay Servant Ministries classes--not enough classes, not enough publicity, not convenient locations or times or formats, etc.

Classes are sponsored by the District Committees on Lay Servant Ministries.  Our policy is that each District offer at least a BASIC class and an advanced class each year.  Course offerings are posted on our website (www.igrc.org/layservant) as soon as I receive the information.  The website offers several ways of finding the information.  There is a page dedicated to the BASIC course, a page listing all advanced courses, and one listing courses by District. There is also a page listing Alternative Advanced Courses.  Every effort is made to keep the website current and accurate, so check back often.

You are not limited to taking classes in your "home" district;  you may choose to take a course in another IGRC district.  There is also the option of taking a course on-line (with certain restrictions). Alternative advanced courses are available from time to time; please remember that they require prior approval of your District Director.  Your District Director will be happy to talk with you about course options.

Record Keeping

I have started reading the 2016 Lay Servant Annual Reports and have noted required information is missing from some reports because lay servants have not kept accurate personal records.  As you start a new year, please resolve to keep a log of your activities--both courses taken (date and course title) and ministry performed. Plus always keep a copy of your Annual Report for your records.