June 16, 2017, 10:24 PM

The Status of Lay Leadership

Our family is five generations deep into the Methodist Christian tradition, and I recall the birth of the United Methodist Church. The merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethen on April 23rd of 1968, we gained an organized "double portion" of evangelical zest to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Moving onward to our 50th year as First Church Baldwin United Methodist, might we rekindle the zest and fuel the zeal for church growth through. What might the status of lay leadership need to be, in order to maximize our making of disciples of Jesus Christ, during the conference year of 2017-2018?

Recently, our committee on nominations and leadership development met to begin the process of discernment. We are discerning the who, where, and what for the status of lay leadership, which might carry forth the divine intentions of our ministries in Baldwin, New York and beyond. As we were meeting, I deemed it important to encourage person to person contact among laity preceiving personal contact from the pastor. Why?

If lay leadership, as I believe, need assurance of continuity in support, there has to be team building of relatedness with the greatest potential of long term presence. Clergy in the United Methodist Church are subject to itinerate (move to another appointment) within any given year. While it is true that laity may choose another congregation or be subject to job transfers, it is a quarantee that pastors under appointment serve at the discretion of the Bishop and Cabinet in the intinerant system. 

Given such reality, I deem it to be important to empower the lay leadership with development through selection, election, and trainings that enable continuity on the leadership team for an expected three or move years with varying term limits. 

Our current status of lay leadership at First Church Baldwin United Methodist holds a group consisting of chairpersons for Trustees, Finance, SPRC, and Nominations and Leadership Development as the areas for the administration of the local church with chairpersons for Nurture, Outreach, and Witness/Worship for the ministry programs of the congregation. We shall strengthen these areas by having members fill open positions to work with chairpersons in each of the above areas. In other words, we desire for you to serve in one or more areas. Will you?

A core position to be filled during the work of our 50th year as The United Methodist Church is that of Lay Leader.  The local church without a lay leader is missing a beat necessary to operating at full capability.

Janet Heaney for many years has served as lay leaders, very effectively. I often tease her that her work was done with such authority and success that laity dare not attempt to follow such an outstanding servanthood. It does take preparation and dedication to follow one seen as the perhaps the greatest to serve in this era. Sports commentators often speak of who might be the next Ali, Jordan, Nicholas, etc... I wonder who will be the next effective lay leaders for First Church Baldwin United Methodist. 

Is it you?

Might you be the one to work closely with the pastor and ensure that the heartbeat of the local church operates, when transitions and transformations are bound to come? Change is coming to come, we know that, so we must be ready when it comes. Without the status of lay leadership being at full capacity the causes of change agents are strained and the damages hinder our mission in the making of disciples of Jesus Christ. Pray about stepping into open positions for lay leadership, especially the position of lay leader.

Giving a change to the changes brought by my move into Baldwin means providing my administration with a lay leader for the Leadership Team to function at it greatest.

I want to work with you, and show the world that the status of lay leadership here is at its absolute best.


Luonne Abram Rouse