July 01, 2015
Missouri Conference Lay Leader Brian Hammons is excited to be a United Methodist. He attributes that excitement to five reasons:
- My Personal Experiences in the church through the United Methodist community of faith;
- Our Beliefs – our balanced Wesleyan perspective of Christian doctrine and theology;
- Our Outreach to help people, to serve in so many ways;
- The Spirit-led Movement that led to our formation and growth, and is fueling reform in the church even now; and
- Our Vision and Hope for the future in leading people to follow Jesus.
During the Laity Address Hammons spoke of his appreciation and admiration of laity of the Missouri Conference who are out there, doing life-changing work, responding to the leading of God’s Spirit in their communities and throughout our conference.
“When you work through a clear process to connect people with Jesus, God works amazingly to transform lives,” he said.
The vision of the Missouri Conference lay ministry team is “Spiritually engaged laity leaders partnering with pastors to lead congregations to fruitfulness in our mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
To help accomplish this vision, they work through two main strategies: Connecting and Learning. Hammons noted that both occur through Laity Leadership Training offered through the districts. A track of this includes Lay Speaking courses to strengthen the preaching and leading skills of those laity called to preach. There is also a new Compass program and even online courses.
Getting back to his reasons for excitement, Hammons shared his own personal experiences in the church.
“I was baptized and married in the church,” he said. “I’ve been a part of the Methodist and United Methodist church all my life, connected with congregations wherever I’ve lived. I can’t even begin to list all the ways my family and I have connected with people, worshipped, grown, and served.”
Meagan Sinn, a member of our Lay Ministry Team from The Gathering in St. Louis, spoke about doctrine and theology.
“I love how we are grounded first in Scripture, and then use tradition, reason, and experience to understand and apply faith to our lives – not having to check your brain or past at the door,” she said.
Amy Thompson, a District Lay Leader from Woods Chapel, spoke about outreach to help people.
“Together we can accomplish great things through so many outreach opportunities: Imagine No Malaria; Disaster Response; DeFeet Hunger, where over 30 UM churches come together to pack lunches to fight hunger in the KC area, and so many other ways Methodists reach out, like serving meals, food pantries, clothes closet, diapers, children’s books, backpack meals, orphan sponsorships, dental care, medical care, apartment sponsorships, community gardens, job success programs, the list could go on and on,” she said.
“Whatever way we respond to the nudge of the Spirit by helping someone in need, our efforts together are making an impact on God’s Kingdom-expressing His love, being His hands and feet in the world—now that’s exciting!”