Lay Servant Ministries

Lay Servant Ministries participants from across the Great Plains are writing a blog aimed at helping the laity understand how it can get involved in a wide variety of ways to fulfill the United Methodist Church's mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Check the bottom of each one to see who has written the blog.


Join the adventure, join the journey

August 05, 2022

The first time I heard the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” I was in my early 40’s, new to the Methodist tradition. We sang it during the children’s time. As you know, the words go “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I didn’t know Jesus loved me from the Bible. I grew up Catholic and from...


My Garden

July 21, 2022

In 2013, Laurel and I moved into our current house in town. Previously, we had lived out in the country on 15 acres, where we had trouble growing trees, let alone a garden. It was on a hill top with a lot of rocks. So when we moved into town we inherited a well-established garden plot. The first ...


Jesus Loves Me

July 11, 2022

“Jesus Loves Me” (UMH 191) is one of the first lessons I learned in the church. It is one that has influenced me throughout my life. If we’re very fortunate, we learn this lesson early in our lives, in a nurturing, loving environment. This is foundational in our understanding of our relationship ...


What Kind of Flower are You?

June 23, 2022

“All persons are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.” Isaiah 40:6    One of the things I inherited from my mother was a love of flowers. When our first and only home was purchased, I began planting flowers and have continued since. I have learned a lot about them. ...


Pentecost

June 14, 2022

This past Sunday, my husband and I attended the Confirmation service for our 14-year-old grandson, Eric. How appropriate and special to have Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is one of the three major holidays in the church. What are the three major Christian holidays? Easter, Christmas, ...


I Did It My Way

May 31, 2022

It is with very mixed emotions that I resign as Director of Lay Servant Ministries for the conference. The experience has enriched my life and guided my spirit into new and exciting places. I have met many precious people and made many friends along the journey. I do, however, feel it is time for ...


Here I am Lord, Send Me

May 17, 2022

… “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.     I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you… Because I am God, your personal God,     The Holy of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3, paraphrased from The Message   It is hard for most of us to find time to do ...


3 R’s for the Laity

May 02, 2022

As we enter the month of May we tend to think of the end of the school year, that time when grade cards tell how well students have done in the 3R’s—reading, writing and arithmetic. (Suggesting these all start with the letter R probably doesn’t set the best example for our youth as they study ...


The Name of Jesus

April 19, 2022

Several years ago, I was reading an article about the church in South Africa. In the article was a story about the pastor of the local church. He took his friend, a new Christian covert, to a big rally in another town. Many renown preachers preached, musician performed and singers sang. The whole ...


I’ve Been Thinking About It

January 06, 2022

The phrase I hear most often when I suggest Lay Servant Ministries is, “I’ve been thinking about it!” Too many people still believe LSM training means pulpit supply, which scares many away from a call to LSM. While the program began with that one purpose in mind, folks quickly realized that lay ...


Advent Reflection

December 09, 2021

Advent started a new church year and soon the calendar will also turn to a new year -2022. Amid this continued unsettling time of pandemic, as divisions run deep and as we are all experiencing a multitude of emotions, let’s pause once again, before this Advent season ends and listen for God’s voice ...


I Was Lost

October 27, 2021

Have you been lost, but didn’t know you were lost, until you were found? I understand, from scientific reports, many people found themselves lost during the pandemic. Depression, boredom, fear, despair, and loneliness, all taking its toll on many of us. I certainly felt the effects of the isolation....


Hymn of Promise

October 15, 2021

Is your cup half full or half empty? That’s an old, old question which somewhat defines how we view life. A lot of us see the cup as half empty. Pastors are stressed out trying to meet the needs of their charges and families while struggling to decide whether it is better to meet in person or in ...


The Lord is my shepherd

September 28, 2021

Recently I received a gift – a cross with the words of the 23rd Psalm written on it. It is a wonderful daily blessing.   For David, The Lord is my Shepherd speaks of an intimate relationship with God. It’s an affirmation of who is his personal shepherd, who he owes and gives his allegiance to, who ...


Faith wins out over fear

September 24, 2021

It seems that no matter who we are, we all have fears. Some of those fears are natural, like wild animals charging us, spiders crawling on us, heights, weather events such as hurricanes or tornados, lightning and thunder that surprises us.  We struggle with fear more frequently than we care to ...


Our collective detour thanks to COVID

September 07, 2021

A friend of mine recently wrote of how she is dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and I thought it worthy of sharing here:   “I enjoy walking in the early mornings when my schedule allows it. Recently, my walks have been made more adventurous by the addition of a detour on my route — not a ...


What does your Bible look like?

July 20, 2021

Is your Bible a coffee table book setting at one end and big picture book at the other end? Or is it on a hutch with the family pictures? These are fine places to display and honor the word of God, but does it do your mind or heart any good? The only time it is open is to record a birth or death of ...


Want to Share my Tree?

December 14, 2020

Do you know where God is calling you to go? Okay, let us get a bit more general. Do you know where you are going? More basic? Do you know where you are coming from? How about considering from a larger perspective? Can you answer these questions about your local church congregation? If not, read on ...


Clifford is Called

December 01, 2020

When God called Cliff Hall to service as a lay speaker more than 40 years ago, it may have been to prepare him for just this moment in time. As the horrible COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our community, Cliff, at age 92, has been serving as essentially the acting chaplain inside the Kansas Masonic ...


For Granted

November 09, 2020

This year, 2020, has been filled with so much stress, apprehension, and uncertainties. The pandemic has affected us all. It has permeated our health, education, and economic ways of life. I have also had recent health issues that have caused me to make lifestyle changes. We simply can no longer ...


Embracing Change

October 29, 2020

We are in a time that is different than we have known before. This does not mean before was not good, however it means we must learn new ways of having Lay Servant classes. In the Great West District, we had a class scheduled and what happened? Covid-19 hit and we were not able to hold this class in...


More deadly than COVID-19

October 13, 2020

I was lying awake in bed early this morning and found myself praying. Praying for my family and friends, praying for “my enemies.” I don’t really think I have enemies. This is a phrase Jesus used, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. I think of it as praying for ...


Are you prepared?

September 28, 2020

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Basic Lay Servant Ministry class. It has been a number of years since I took my Basic class, and back then it was basically a preaching class. It was energizing to see the enthusiasm of the participants in the class. Each had their own reasons ...


Washboard Living

August 19, 2020

Although I am getting older, I do not have recollections of my mother washing our clothes on a washboard. My childhood was more of the wringer washer era. Which includes a memory of my older brother getting his hand caught in the wringer, resulting in a broken thumb and skin graft. We can learn a ...


Harvest

August 03, 2020

2020 Wheat Harvest, Trenton, NE, by DeLynn Hay As the pandemic persists, more and more find themselves longing for a sense of order to help keep them grounded, something that brings a steady rhythm to life, something we can count on happening.   Over the last few weeks, the annual wheat harvest ...


God is in charge

June 22, 2020

How many times have you heard that phrase recently, “God is in charge?” It does give us a feeling of comfort to remind ourselves of the presence of the Holy One in our lives. In this very volatile time in the world, we especially need reassurance that God is with us. By declaring God our Great ...


Believe there is good in the world

June 09, 2020

We need to believe there is good in the world. In times like this, with sickness, people out of work, and social unrest, we need to believe there is good in the world. We need to know God is still in charge.  But equally important we need to: Believe There is Good in the world. The world needs us ...


Pray for a better world post-pandemic

May 26, 2020

Amid this unsettling time of pandemic and the multitude of emotions we are experiencing, as Lay Servants let's join together (virtually of course) to focus on turning a negative (Pandemic) into positives. Everyone is welcome to join the journey … Pause often to Praise God Adapt to a new normal way ...


We Need to Adjust Our Vision

May 11, 2020

My late husband and I spent many of our summer vacations in northern Colorado and took many sight-seeing drives in the Rocky Mountains. In Rocky Mountain National Park, when you get to the Trail Ridge Visitor Center, you’re still not at the top. You can walk, rather climb on foot, another 500 feet ...


Grief and the COVID-19 crisis

April 28, 2020

I recently read an article on the internet (so you know it must be true!) from Harvard Business Review that referenced our emotions in this time of COVID-19. Some of their staff recently met virtually, a screen full of faces in a scene becoming more common everywhere. They talked of many ...


How do we meet the needs of our lay servants during this time of social distancing?

April 01, 2020

In the Great West District in Nebraska, we are looking at trying to use Zoom to hold a class that was originally scheduled and needs to be completed before June due to our pastor being moved to another district. The lay servants are wanting to take the class with this pastor and CLS. One of our ...


Disappointment and opportunity

March 16, 2020

For the last several months, Lisa, Shane and I (and other conference staff), plus the Kearney First UMC staff, have spent countless hours and energy planning what has become known as The Laity Summit. To me, it is also an exciting and significant opportunity for lay persons of our conference. But, ...


Little children, come unto me

March 03, 2020

As we are entering this season of Lent, we need to look for Jesus here on earth. Three years ago, I started to work part-time as a special services bus driver for the local school district. I have a wide range of students: a boy and girl who are nonverbal and are in wheelchairs, age 19; two autistic...


Expectations

December 10, 2019

This is the season of expectations. We await the Advent season all year. As Christians we await the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus. We await the music, the decorations, the plays and the Christmas programs. The expectations build for weeks. We have expectations for not only the Christmas ...


November blogging

November 13, 2019

As I am not an active (or anytime) blogger, I have wondered about its intent and usage. Is blogging intended to promote interest and response by stating controversial topics and positions? Or is its purpose to provide a platform for basic truths to be shared and/or critiqued?     So, how does the ...


United Methodist Church of the Future

October 30, 2019

I was honored to represent my church at the Leadership Summit held at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection last week, September 25-27. We were challenged in many ways to imagine our church of the future. Most importantly I was given hope that our church will survive but will likely look ...


God adores you

September 30, 2019

I attended the installation of our new district superintendent on Saturday here in Lincoln. I have known Nancy for several years and wanted to celebrate her new role and offer my support. As part of the service, Nancy gave a very uplifting sermon describing our faith journey that can be stormy and ...


A song to inspire your ministry

September 18, 2019

Thank you for giving to the lord Song by Ray Boltz   I dreamed I went to heaven.  You were there with me.  We walked along the streets of gold, beside the crystal sea.  We heard the angels singing, then someone called your name.  You turned and saw a young man, he was smiling as he came.  He said ...


Lay Servant Ministries: how will you develop your gifts?

July 30, 2019

Can you believe it...it’s almost August. I hope you had the opportunity to participate in some of the fun things of summer, swimming, camping, summer games, Vacation Bible School and maybe even some time away on vacation. August marks a time of new beginnings — kickoff to new programs at church, a ...


Hearing Voices from the Lawn Mower

July 01, 2019

It’s my turn to share again. What do I have to say? Each time I contemplate this I struggle for a topic. I spend time alone waiting for inspiration. And somehow something comes to mind. This time it came to me during a chore… It’s summer again. Hours are spent each week mowing the grass. Seems like...


Lay Servants Are Underutilized

June 21, 2019

In talking with lay servants across the conference, the most frequent complaint I hear from them is “I keep up my certification, but no one asks me to do anything.” We need to continue to keep our gifts and talents before the church and church leadership and be more assertive in offering our ...


Tidying Up

May 01, 2019

Recently I was invited to preach at the close of a sermon series called The Gospel of Tidying Up (credit to Rev. Jeff Prothro, DeSoto United Methodist Church). The end of the series coincided with the church’s annual garage sale (brilliant!) and there was clearly excitement about the sermon series. ...


The folded napkin

April 24, 2019

On a shelf in my kitchen, I have a stack of paper napkins. When it’s my turn to be hostess for United Methodist Women’s meetings, I bring snacks and also try to find napkins for the occasion. And, of course, there are family gatherings that call for special napkins, so I end up with a mixture of ...


Fill Your Cup and Get To Work

April 15, 2019

A couple of times of late I've felt compelled to Facebook post one of those "My heart is heavy" posts, and the UMC has certainly provided lots of opportunity of late. I'm not one to just throw stuff out there on a daily basis,  but rather I sit on it and stew for a while...sometimes as a way to ...


About Lay Servant Ministries

April 02, 2019

What is the importance of Lay Servant Ministries? It is to better equip laity to help them serve in their ministry to help make disciples of Jesus Christ.     Who should take part in Lay Servant Ministries? Anyone who feels called to the ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ.    Isn't Lay ...


Servant-Leadership in the Local Church

March 18, 2019

I have been giving the role of servant-leader some thought recently. I believe if one were to ask the pastors of our United Methodist Churches of the Great Plains Conference, “What is one of the greatest needs for the church?” the reply would be, “Leadership among the laity.” Lay Servant Ministries ...


This is MY church!

February 20, 2019

I was in a meeting at a local church with the district superintendent when a lady burst into tears and proclaimed: “This is MY church!” The DS replied hotly “this is GOD’s church!” Who was right? Who was wrong? They both were! Say what? How can they both be wrong AND right? The woman was right in ...


Yes, Virginia, We Need Lay Servants

December 17, 2018

This week we have completed the 3rd Sunday in Advent, and light a candle recognizing the Joy of the season. As I contemplated joy, I recalled the story of little Virginia O’Hanlon and the response she received from the editor of The Sun regarding her question, “Is there a Santa Claus?” (If you aren’...


Balcony People

November 28, 2018

Years ago, I had a devotion that has stuck with me. I do not remember the source, but I do remember the theme. I was to recall who my “balcony people” were and write them a note of thanks.” In the devotion “balcony people” were described as those who cheer you on and help you find your potential and...


Be Bold

November 04, 2018

As we have been enmeshed in the current political campaigns in states across the nation, I have felt the pressure to judge candidates by the often negative comments rather than the positive ones. Sadly, polarization and negativity are rampant in our daily lives. That fact can make us feel ...