You may have seen my post earlier this week about General Conference 2008. The UMC is providing an opportunity to stay tuned in to what’s happening at a website devoted to the quadrennial event: gc2008.org.
An important part of General Conference is the Laity Address. This year, 60 manuscripts were submitted by various Conference Lay Leaders from around the world for consideration to present the Laity Address at General Conference. Lyn Powell, lay leader of the North Georgia Annual Conference was selected to present this year’s Laity Address called, “Disciples Transforming the World.”
I just read an article about the address and would encourage you to read it, too. You can read it here. I’ve included some of my favorite quotes from the article below.
Referring to leaders in the early church …
“These designated pastors did not do ministry themselves; they equipped the laity to go out and do ministry,” Powell said. The training, equipping and use of their spiritual gifts were so effective, that 2,000 years later Christianity is flourishing. “A few pastors could never have accomplished that alone. Only the laity, on fire for Jesus Christ, equipped by the pastors, could do such a thorough job of converting the known world to Christianity,” she said.
In the past 50 years, many lay members have “disengaged from the idea of having a ministry of any kind, much less a transforming one,” she said. She said that it was no coincidence that when the laity disengaged from the ministry, the denomination began its decline. Laity, she said, have become complacent and think it is their calling to receive ministry from clergy rather than be equipped by the clergy, with the clergy’s unique gifts and graces, education and training, to go out into the world, do ministry and offer Christ.
“Imagine the transforming effect on the communities around us” because new and exciting outreach ministries would bring more people into the church, she said.