This was Amy Thompson’s seventh address as Lay Leader of the Missouri Conference, and each year she has held fast to the theme of encouraging a culture of call.
She started by naming three people who died in the past year who took their call very seriously and shared their faith with others in their communities and throughout lay ministry in the Missouri Conference: Rick Mattson, Ken Cieslak and Mike Rushing.
“They were lay people who led out of their call, who explored their callings and served in response while maturing in their faith,” Thompson said. “I imagine that all of us in this room could name a lay person that has impacted our faith development. From vacation bible school teachers to Sunday school teachers, bible study leaders to musicians and worship leaders, care team members to maybe a mentor, lay people that have responded to God’s call by using their gifts to serve others.”
A new online, on-demand learning platform was released in February. Absorb is shared with several other conferences providing opportunities for learning from home. The platform launched with four courses in February, additional courses have been added throughout the spring, three more courses will be available by the first of July and another four this fall. There were 102 laity users by the end of April this year. The goal for the year is to have 200 laity users this first year.
“John Wesley founded a laity movement,” Thompson said. “What step are you taking to be a part of this movement? Clergy, I am inviting you to preach about the call and responding to your call. If you already do, then consider inviting lay people to share their own call stories to inspire others to step out in faith. The Laity, I am inviting you to engage in a learning opportunity, to have a conversation with someone about your call, or to find someone to mentor so they can learn from you and move into a ministry or leadership