Lay Speaking / Lay Servant Ministry

Lay Speaking Ministries is not a ‘ministry’ in itself. The goal of the Lay Speaking Ministries program is to provide training opportunities and experiences to equip disciples of Jesus Christ to realize and respond to their personal call to ministry. Since each disciple is ‘gifted’ with one or more spiritual gifts (skills given by the Holy Spirit for the express purpose of serving the body of believers and thereby God), the Lay Speaking Ministries program strives to help disciples become aware of their particular gift or gifts by offering educational events to enhance and develop the skill level necessary for the full fruition of these gifts. It is an excellent vehicle for servant ministry skill development and has aided thousands of church members to be better servants of Jesus Christ, to become stronger church family leaders, and to more capably assist their pastors.

Lay Speaking Ministries is not just about leading and speaking from the pulpit on a given Sunday. Eighty percent of all ‘layspeakers’ never serve in this fashion. Rather, they serve their local churches, their districts, and the conference by filling council and committee positions, working in the church kitchens, helping trustees, leading Sunday school sessions, and attending to all the other various requirements and obligations of church activity and leadership. Entry into Lay Speaking Ministries begins by completing the basic course. This course of instruction begins by asking the participant to seek their own calling from God and searching for an understanding of servant ministry. Participants also examine how worship is structured in the church and how one’s own ministry continues to be an extension and reflection of that worship. After completing the Basic course, lay speakers are eligible to move to Advanced status by completing other more specific courses pertaining to various areas of ministry or discipleship development. This is accomplished by direct educational opportunities offered each fall as a conference event, by spring training in each district, and in conference-wide corporate worship and celebration events. The fall academies are offered in north and south locations each year presenting training materials approved by the General Board of Discipleship. Course offerings cover main areas of ministry and a new course is offered each year. The districts reflect this course selection in the spring training to bring as many opportunities for training as possible to the lay speaker. In addition, events honoring each districts’ Lay speaker of the Year’ and ‘Pastor of the Year’ are planned. ACTS is celebrated in April and The Gathering is celebrated in June.

If you are interested in the Lay Speaking Ministries program, please contact your district director for an application form. This annual report form is required each year to maintain enrollment. It asks the lay speaker to reflect on the previous year and list areas of ministry as well as other discipleship questions. Yes, lay speakers are accountable to our church families, The United Methodist Church, and, most especially, to God.

For a schedule of upcoming training events, click here .

For a Mahoning Valley district Lay Speaking registration form, click here .