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Lay Leader's Blog

The Power of One


By Tasha Stephens Empower and empowerment are common catch phrases these days, in church and in other areas of our lives. Words that are overused tend to lose their impact, although this term resonates with me, regardless of how often I hear it – I like it! Empower means the power, right or authority to do something.  As laity, we often feel unable to do much without the approval, oversight or agreement of our pastor or administrative council. But we have been empowered – unleashed, even – to ...

Laity Supporting Pastoral Transitions

Amy Thompson


Within the United Methodist Church, we are in the appointment season. This season is a time for the Cabinet to explore and discern pastoral appointments across our conference. Some of our local churches are preparing to say goodbye to their pastor and to welcome their next pastor. This transition time creates a mix of feelings for both laity and clergy.

Making the Most of Change

Amy Thompson


Conference Lay Leader Amy Thompson on Managing Transitions

How to Have Effective Meetings


Tony Bavuso brings us this month's Laity Voices with tips on how to have effective meetings.

Lord, Change Me and Make Us One


By Amy Thompson, Conference Lay Leader As we enter the Advent Season, it is with anticipation that I find my Advent wreath. The green wreath with the skinny purple and pink candles continually leans no matter how hard I try to twist them into the holders! The wreath sits next to my many nativity scenes. I can remember as a child the excitement I felt when I was allowed to use the lighter to light the advent wreath! I remember the honor I felt when my mother and I were asked to share the reading...

Protective Factors to Increase Resilience

Amy Thompson


By Amy Thompson, Conference Lay Leader Resilience. We have heard this word a lot during the pandemic. I have marveled at the resilience of medical professionals, school administration and teachers, and so many others during this pandemic. The short definition of resilience is the ability to adapt to difficult situations. Most often, though, the difficult situations have a limited duration of time, so our skills can be utilized to help us cope and move through the situation. The pandemic, ...

Practicing Gratitude and Finding Joy

Amy Thompson


By Amy Thompson, Missouri Conference Lay Leader While sitting in a training two months ago, the speaker mentioned that she had been missing joy in her life. This comment resonated with me. During the pandemic my joy has been missing! Did you know that research shows joy and gratitude are connected? Practicing gratitude leads to joyfulness. Gratitude is not an attitude. You can practice gratitude through gratitude journals, gratitude meditations, creating gratitude art or by actually stopping ...

God Has Prepared All Of Us


By Lori Bruens, Heartland District Co-Lay Leader Over the years, I have come to a specific mantra. At the beginning of the year, I anticipate that I will be different by the end of the year than on January 1. Over the last few years, I started writing down significant changes, since sometimes I forget where or how I learned something new. These changes come from all sorts of avenues: a book, a podcast, devotion, a small group study and a conversation. The following are some of the epiphanies ...

Deliverance and Sustenance


By Jill Wondel, Associate Conference Lay Leader During Lent this year, my small group has been studying the Psalms. We’ve had wonderful conversations, reflecting on the stories behind the Psalms and imagining both what the author was experiencing and how Jesus and the disciples might have understood these poems and songs. But one in particular stands out to me this time. It’s Psalm 3. The heading at the top of the poem tells us that this Psalm was written when King David was fleeing from his ...

Laity Leadership: Grounded In Solid Faith That Includes Making Space For Discernment


By Amy Thompson In our society today we see many images of leaders. Amid all these images, it can be hard to determine who might be a good leader and worth following. In thinking about leaders and what makes them good, my attention often turns toward the work of Ken Blanchard with servant leadership and to the readings in the Maxwell Leadership Bible by John C. Maxwell. Both identify that leadership is influence. Ken Blanchard goes on to say, “anytime you seek to influence the thinking, ...

Electing the 2020 Delegations


It is the season in the life of the church where leaders across the Conference along with Conference staff are preparing for Annual Conference. The residents of Springfield, Missouri will be invaded by laity and clergy from across our Conference on the weekend of June 7th. Our Conference theme this year is New Places for New People which lifts up one of our three conference priorities. It will be exciting to celebrate the stories of how new places are touching new people in communities across ...

A Commitment to Questions


By Jill Wondel As a delegate to the special session of General Conference, when I agreed to write this article, I thought I would write about my experience in St. Louis. But then, near the end of the Conference, someone made a motion to pull a group of petitions called the Simple Plan to be voted on separately. The Simple Plan would have simply removed language about homosexuality from the Book of Discipline and was offered by members of the LGBTQI movement. Because of the way the votes had ...

God Calls All of Us

Amy Thompson


By Amy Thompson God calls all of us. Throughout scripture, we are told about God's call on our lives to be in ministry. We hear these words in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” God calls all of us for ministry. We, the ordinary people, are called by God and filled with the Spirit to create extraordinary ...

Working Towards Resolution

Amy Thompson


The General Conference of the worldwide United Methodist Church has called a Special Session. It will take place for a few days at the end of February in St. Louis. Methodists from the Missouri Conference and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will be providing radical hospitality. We will welcome 864 delegates from around the world along with numerous guests. This Special Session is a result of the work of General Conference 2016 when the Commission on the Way Forward was organized to work on...

Witnessing in Our Daily Life


By Amy Thompson A couple of months ago I was serving in the Welcome Center at my church on a Sunday morning. I entered into a conversation with a church friend. She mentioned that she would like to read something about witnessing in your daily life. By the end of our brief conversation, I offered to share a book with her that could be helpful in sharing Jesus with others. When I found Purple Fish by Mark O. Wilson on my bookshelf, I noticed the dog-eared pages, the writing in the margins and my...

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