Ten Words to Remember for a Fruitful Lay Ministry: Jesus, Mission, Pastor, Field, Connect, Read, Simple, Discipline, Fruit, Spirit.

Jesus is first. He is “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [him] (John 14:6). For “he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; . . . he is the head of the body, the church; . . . for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell . . .” (Colossians 1:15,18,19).

And we could cite many, many more passages of scripture, including John 3:16, that tell how Jesus Christ is at the center of our faith in God.

So “Jesus” is the first, and most important, word to remember as we do anything in the church – including growing a fruitful lay ministry.

My last article introduced Ten Words to remember, which I think help summarize many concepts and suggestions for lay leaders who seek success – fruitfulness – in their ministry of leadership in the church. All ten words will stimulate a focus and certain practices that have proven helpful for successful Christian leaders, both lay and clergy, in all sizes of congregations.

But the foundation of all is Jesus Christ. That should be obvious, but too often we forget. We get busy doing and organizing, leading and putting out fires. When we remember that it’s not about us and we re-focus upon Jesus, there’s a certain peace, energy, even power, that drives us. We are called to be, then to make, disciples of Jesus Christ – the main thing. Focused upon him. Learning about him. Walking with him. Knowing him. As Paul said, everything else is loss compared with knowing Christ (see Phil. 3:7-11). That’s why the first expectation of a leader is to be Christ-centered, focused upon Jesus.

So a growing personal faith, commitment, and witness for Jesus Christ is the first thing necessary for a fruitful lay ministry. Jesus – name above all names, word above all words, the way, the truth, and the life, who makes all things new.

Let’s remember that – first, and always.

Thanks again for your leadership! Brian Hammons, Lay Leader Mo. Conference of the UMC