How well does your lay ministry connect? Let’s consider 3 primary ways:
First, we connect with God through Jesus Christ by regularly practicing the “means of grace” – worship, prayer, study of scripture, communion, fasting, etc. Being a disciple.
Second, we connect with people outside the church. Our mission is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” That means reaching out to new people. Another way of expressing that is “connecting people with Jesus Christ.” Connecting people. Of course, in order to connect them with Jesus we must connect with them ourselves.
As lay persons, we have multiple places and opportunities to connect with people. Or, to use a common phrase, to “network.” If you think about it, our connections with people are amazing -- we have many more than we might have guessed. Work, family, school, neighborhood, community organizations, kids’ activities – all provide additional connections with people. What a fantastic opportunity for God to reach people with the truth and life of Jesus Christ – through us and our connections! Then to help them connect and grow through worship, small groups, mission projects, and other ministries of the church.
Third, as leaders in the ministry of the church, we connect with each other.
Our Methodist network of pastors, laity, and congregations is called a “connection.” You see the word used a lot, at various levels, but especially relating to conferences and districts. It reminds us that as United Methodist Christians we are connected in purpose and mission, working together with our unique gifts in our many places and situations. Scripture describes the church as the “body of Christ” with all of us connecting together as individuals using our gifts for the common purpose. (See Romans 12:5-8 and I Corinthians 12:4-28) Our gifts in ministry are most effective when we connect with others who bring their diverse gifts too – both pastors and laity.
How well do you connect? Are you using all the opportunities you have to network, to connect, with people around you? How about with other laity leaders in the church? Yes, those in your own congregation, but also your District Lay Leader and leaders in other nearby congregations. Connecting with them can provide great ideas and insight. Plus inspiration and encouragement too. Connecting at district events, lay speaker training, annual conference, WOW, Festival of Sharing, LLD classes, etc. provides all this. And don’t forget to read the Missouri Conference Review newspaper and check the website regularly – www.moumethodist. org.
I hope you’ll enhance your lay ministry by strengthening and increasing your connections – both with other leaders in the church and with folks you see in daily life. SO THAT through you others may be better connected through Jesus Christ to the source of all life and hope – “for the transformation of the world.”
Thanks again for your leadership!
Brian Hammons, Mo. Conference Lay Leader