The Role of Laity in Congregational Vitality

Speaking at the Laity Session during the 2012 Annual Conference, Sharon Luther,

Conference Lay Leader, quoting Romans 12, stated that all baptized Christians are

called into service and that as laity, we must take that call seriously. God has great

things in store for us, Sharon said, if only we trust in His leading. God doesn’t call

the qualified, He qualifies the called. Sharon continued by pointing out that one of

the main drivers of vital congregations is committed and effective lay leadership

partnering with clergy.

That leadership, Sharon continued, is one which is intentional about growing in

discipleship and practicing what John Wesley called “the means of grace,” the

spiritual disciplines. It is laity who meets daily with the world and who must be

equipped to give a reason for the hope that they have. “We just have to live our lives

as disciples – followers of Jesus,” Sharon said.

We must also understand that lay ministry is not an easy task. We

need to go out and serve Christ everywhere – in our workplace, our

school, our communities and elsewhere. We need to change the

culture of our church and be equipping and training more people to

take authority along with us. Train and mentor your replacement.

Too long-tenured leaders in our churches can stifle new initiatives

and dampen fresh perspectives; term limits and leadership rotation

prevent this from happening. God needs the talents, passions, and

gifts of each of you, Sharon said, to bring about God’s Kingdom here

on earth.

Quoting Bill Hybels, saying, the local church is the hope of the world

and its future rests in the hands of its lay leaders, Sharon concluded

her remarks by thanking those in attendance for being leaders in The

United Methodist Church of Florida. All Glory to God!

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