Elaine Winward, the chair of my district’s lay speaking committee, asked me to write some thoughts down on the development of my ministry for use in a Ministry Fair at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church (location of the church).
This isn’t so much why I am a lay speaker but more of how I came to the ministry that I do.
When I was twelve years old, I begin this walk by starting on my God and Country award. I completed that task in 1965, pinned the award on my uniform and then did nothing about it.
When the Boy Scout troops I belonged to went on weekend campouts, I would prepare and lead a Sunday worship service but I never thought more about what I had earned or what it would mean to me.
In 1990, I began to hear God calling me, calling on me to finish the task that I started so many years before. The only problem was that while I heard the call, I did not know how to answer it.
In 1991, I volunteered to lead the Laity Sunday service at my church in Minnesota and with that decision I started the journey once again. In 1995, I was called by the District Superintendent of the Parsons District in Kansas to cover a three-church charge while the Conference looked for a regular pastor to appoint. That summer, I “held the fort” for that charge and two other multiple church charges while regular pastors could be found and appointed.
Since then, I have been involved with four churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, and New York where there was no pastor or the resources of the pastor were limited.
When I ended my last district assignment, I wondered what would happen next. That is when I discovered blogging and the community of Methodist bloggers. Now, I post my thoughts every week on my blog.
Lay speaking is more than just something you do for a few hours on a Sunday morning once a year. It becomes a part of your soul, planted and nourished by the Spirit. We are challenged by Jesus to spread the Gospel message throughout the land, through our words, our deeds, and our thoughts. I heard the call first in 1965 and then again in 1990; I find my strength in knowing that every now and then, be it in a regular service on a Sunday or through something that I posted on my blog, someone will say that I helped them through a rough time. Then I know that I did the right thing in answering the call and I will continue to answer the call.
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I am a lay speaker with the Athens Elberton District of the North Ga Conference and enjoy hearing stories from preachers, lay speakers, missionaries and others who make a conscious decision to spread the Gospel to those people who might be in remote areas or areas where the Bible may not otherwise be spoken.Thank you for sharing your story and may God bless you in your ministry.