A Moment for Mission
“Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:43b-45, NRSV
In the hymn “Many Gifts, One Spirit” (No. 114, The United Methodist Hymnal), composer Art Carmines could have been writing about Laity Sunday:
“Many gifts, one Spirit, one love known in many ways.
In our difference is blessing, from diversity we praise
One Giver, one Lord, one Spirit, one Word
Known in many ways, hallowing our days.
For the Giver, for the gifts, praise, praise, praise!”
Today is Laity Sunday, an opportunity for The United Methodist Church to celebrate the ministry of all Christians as the Holy Spirit empowers their lives for ministry. Today we give thanks for laity who share their unique passions, gifts and abilities to help us grow spiritually.
Their myriad responsibilities include initiating new programs, encouraging apportionment support, nurturing an active relationship with annual conference and much more.
The ministry of our laity is not only for a select few in our church. Romans12:6-8 (NRSV) says, “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”
Please, thank laity who share their gifts every day. Consider how you might help. What are your gifts and interests? How can you help your congregation to grow disciples? Your unique talents may be just what your church needs.
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. Amen.
– “Here I Am, Lord,” No. 593, The United Methodist Hymnal
From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost / in Kingdomtide
Gracious God, through the witness of Christ, you show us the kind of leaders you desire: people of integrity and obedience who live with patience and peace. Today, we celebrate the ministry of the laity who serve you with faithful hearts and hands ready to reach out in your name. May each of us joyfully give of our talents and treasure from the abundance you provide. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve, and who gave his life for our salvation. Amen. (Isaiah 53:4-12)
This week on Laity Sunday, we will shout “hallelujah” for those helping our congregation fulfill its vital mission. Our laypeople – young, old and in between – inspire us to grow as disciples.
They brainstorm, encourage and problem solve. They use their spiritual gifts for the good of the church. Whatever their talents, they play an important part in building up the body of Christ.
The Rev. Lee Wigert, who serves a three-point charge (Juniata-Kenesaw-Holstein) in Nebraska, could not accomplish all he does without his laity team. As a half-time pastor and full-time college professor, Wigert acknowledged, “Strong lay servants are needed to provide the message from the pulpit.”
“It’s difficult sometimes because people think the pastor should be doing visitation and … other things on top of preparing for Sunday morning,” one lay leader said. “Why can’t I do the visitations? Why can’t others fill in and help out?”
What are your spiritual gifts? Discover them on www.umc.org/what-we-believe/spiritual-gifts-online-assessment. Then explore how you can use your unique abilities to serve God.