Lay Leader's Blog


What Leading Meant to Me

Amy Thompson

5/22/2018

By Amy Thompson It’s June and time for Annual Conference. The theme this year is Freed-2-Lead. As I attend meetings and talk with directors and district superintendents, I find myself in many conversations centered around leadership. As we explore leadership in this conference, it causes me to pause and wonder how laity approach leading within their church, their ministry areas and their community. On a quest to understand the perspectives that our laity hold, I reached out to laity across our ...


A Time of Connection

4/23/2018

Freed 2 Lead is grounded in scripture as we consider the words of Paul in Ephesians, “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” We are all gifted. We are all called to respond in ministry. Some of us are called to lead others in ministry. The theme for the 2018 Missouri Annual Conference is Freed-2-Lead where clergy, laity and guests will be ...


Hurricane Maria Relief

Amy Thompson

3/23/2018

Imagine this... the sunshine with rays reaching far and wide. As you are walking, you look to your left and see the beach with debris, broken palm trees. Your eyes move slowly to the many shades of blue in the water that is crashing the beach. The sound and view are amazing. Now as you look to your right, it’s not what you see but what you hear. You hear voices, laughter, clapping and the hum of a generator. You see a concrete building with the windows open, and the front doors wide open with ...


Begin with Knowledge

2/10/2018

By Jeff Fothergill At our Church Council meeting a couple of months ago, we spent time discussing what it means to be a “sent” church. I’m not sure if we touched all the bases, but it was clear that we couldn’t get there without laity involvement and support. Of course, that’s easy to say but more complicated to do. Whether you’re looking to inspire involvement in your church or get more involved yourself, every journey needs a starting point. Here’s a model to consider; begin with knowledge ...


Rural Ministry: Matching Assets to Opportunities

1/25/2018

By Lori Kiehl As the Mark Twain District Lay Leader, I want to invite you to North Missouri to engage with problem solvers of small rural churches. The Mark Twain District’s Rural Ministry Now conference is meeting the challenge of helping rural churches thrive by providing training to church leaders on Saturday, February 17 at the Northeast Missouri Fairgrounds in Kirksville from 8:30 am to 4 pm. The focus will be “Missional Engagement: Matching Assets to Opportunities.” We will discuss ways ...


The Lay Leader

1/10/2018

By Mitch Ross What does a Lay Leader really do? The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline outlines responsibilities for lay leaders, but that is the easy answer.       To answer candidly, we need to recognize the role of laity in the church. “The witness of the laity, their Christ-like examples of everyday living as well as sharing their own faith experiences of the gospel, is the primary evangelistic ministry through which all people will come to know Christ and The United Methodist ...


The Four Weeks of Advent

12/1/2017

By Amy Thompson Advent is the season of the church in which we prepare our lives for the coming of Christ. Growing up, my favorite part of Advent was placing our advent wreath with its three purple candles and one pink candle next to our nativity scene. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we would read stories and scripture related to the themes of hope, peace, joy and love.   As a child, my interest was in the stories, but now as I think of these themes, I wonder do we really ...


Leading an Active Prayer Life

Amy Thompson

10/18/2017

By Amy Thompson As leaders, it is important to be intentional in your own personal spiritual development. Your personal commitment to growing in your faith could begin with many things. I would like to suggest prayer. An active prayer life can be a major piece to your spiritual development as you explore your relationship with God through quiet time, listening, requesting and conversation. My own prayer life dramatically changed a few years ago when a pastor recommended Mark Batterson’s book, ...


The Gift of Presence and Music in Mozambique

8/23/2017

By Amy Thompson Here are the words from an email that I received in May prior to traveling to Mozambique in June: “We are preparing to receive you and the team. Let me share with you what preparing to receive means. The sound of voices floating through the air as you turn the corner to leave the terminal of the airport. The chanting and clapping of men, women and children as you arrive at a church or orphanage. As it is heard in Psalm, I will praise the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise ...


Preparation for Pastoral Transition

6/1/2017

By Amy Thompson The month of June is known as Annual Conference time. Last month I asked you to keep the individuals attending and the work of conference in your prayers. This is your reminder…pray for us June 9-12!      June is also known as moving month for pastors. 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.       The Cabinet has shared resources with local ...


Connecting Through Conference

5/10/2017

By Amy Thompson One of the things that I love about United Methodism is the connectional system. The connectional system reminds me how we are all connected in working for the Kingdom of God. We are not in the Kingdom– building work on our own. We can work together and learn from one another. I am reminded of how big our local connectional system is when I attend Annual Conference each year. If you stand in the vendor area located upstairs in the Expo Center, you can look out the windows and ...


Show No Mercy in Doing Justice

3/24/2017

By John Miller When Methodists met, and John Wesley was in their midst, he often took special offerings for the poor, including five in one day from what his brother Charles called the “same poor exhausted people!” Charles said of John and his captive congregation. “He has no mercy on them.”      John Wesley showed no mercy in his collection efforts, or in his advocacy on social justice issues like slavery, because he faithfully lived the words of the prophet Micah: he did justice, and he truly...


Getting Closer to God During Lent

2/28/2017

By Amy Thompson Well, Missouri Methodists, we are entering the season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter, excluding Sundays. It begins with Ash Wednesday. If you have attended an Ash Wednesday service then you know that the minister will mark the sign of a cross using ashes on your forehead. Part of Ash Wednesday is remembering that our lives are a gift from God which the ashes remind us of. Lent is a time to repent. We turn our lives toward Christ in a more focused intentional way ...


Rural Ministry in Missouri

2/1/2017

By Karen Shearer, Mark Twain District Lay Leader A pastor friend of mine recently sent me some statistics that may be surprising: 77 percent of our United Methodist churches here in Missouri have weekly attendance of fewer than 100 people.* Furthermore, almost 60 percent of our churches have attendance of fewer than 50 people each week. Those churches with 50 or less, however, account for just 15 percent of our statewide weekly attendance.      Some may say, “So aren’t you stating the obvious? ...


The Gift of an Experience

11/21/2016

By Amy Thompson I recently found myself involved in a conversation about gift giving. This individual was sharing the pressure she feels in selecting a gift for her children or family member. The conversation centered around seeking the perfect gifts to give and then a year later noticing that you are placing those same gifts in the donation pile. She even noted the disappointment felt when finding the gift hadn’t even been used.      She went on to share that she had heard a segment on the ...


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