FAQ's About Lay Servant Ministries
What Are Lay Servant Ministries?
Lay Servant Ministries had its origins in the early organization of the Wesleyan revival in England. With more societies than ordained clergy, John Wesley authorized the use of lay assistants who preached and conducted worship in the absence of clergy. Speaking from the pulpit has always been one important role of the lay servant. However, many lay servants never speak from the pulpit. Today there are a wide range of functions, both in the church and in the world.
Lay Servants show their faith by responding to others with care-giving love and service. Some are involved with crisis ministries or hospital visitation, while still others visit in nursing homes. Some share in caring one-on-one or are involved in specialized ministry in their community.
The Scriptures and Christian experience point to the importance of proclaiming God's transforming love. Lay Servants fill pulpits; lead Bible studies; teach/lead Sunday school classes; speak at retirement centers, to prisoners, and at youth group gatherings, as well as teach and facilitate in other small group settings.
Lay Servant Ministries help Christians to claim their spiritual gifts, talents and skills, by offering them empowering training. This training encourages them to find places to use their God given gifts in ministry while providing them a network of support.
What is a Lay Servant?
A Lay Servant is...
- An active, supportive member of a United Methodist Church
- Someone well informed on the Scripture, doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of The United Methodist Church
- Someone committed to Christian service that is supported by on-going formal training to help them develop skills in witnessing to their Christian faith through:
-- Leading in their church and community
-- Caring by providing care-giving ministries
-- Communicating through the spoken word
Lay Servants reach out to others in time of need, lead classes, chair committees, volunteer to organize outreach efforts of the church, and speak out about their faith.
How Do I Become a Lay Servant?
To begin as a Lay Servant you must:
- Apply in writing by completing the Application Form. For a copy of the form please go to the tab at the right for "Forms." You will then be taken to the page with the link for the Lay Servant Application form. Click on that link to bring up the form.
- Be an active member of a United Methodist Church*
- Be ready and desirous to serve the church.
- Be recommended by your pastor and Charge Conference or Church Council.
- Complete the Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course.
- Be willing to exercise leadership, according to your spiritual gifts, under the guidance of a pastor.
- Be willing to submit an annual written report of ministry/re-application form to the Charge Conference each year.
*NOTE--In many cases non-members may also enroll in a class, as availability allows, if they submit a registration along with a letter of recommendation from their United Methodist pastor and in consultation with the District Director of Lay Servant Ministries in their area. Non-members will be recognized as "graduates" of the course, but cannot be "credentialed" in the UMC.