September 13, 2022 Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church

Lay Leadership Initiative by Pastor David

Lay Leadership Initiative by Pastor David

Photo by Melk Hagelslag on Pixabay

There are two core purposes in the church that must be played out in every generation. (1) The church exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (UMC Mission statement). (2) The church must raise up leaders, servants, partners, and volunteers to engage in “works of service” (Ephesians 4:12) so that the body of Christ may be built up in love (vs. 16) and that the world may know God sent Jesus for our hope and deliverance (John 17:21). 

A big thanks to those deeply devoted saints who have stayed at their post and served through difficult days with fewer hands to help. Your faithfulness has not gone unnoticed. Each of us is a pawn on the game-board of life. We each have a place and a presence to offer. We each have a move to make, as well as gifts to steward, so the team can move forward in the direction of heaven. 

On short order, our Lay Leadership Ministry Team will again be making calls and extending invitations for people to both lead and serve on church ministry teams. Every year in the fall, the Lay Leadership Ministry Team seeks to renew our three-year cycle of leadership officers for all of our church’s ministries. Will you be availing your life for this service in 2023?

Here is our honest and hard truth. In our shrunken church, and in our aged demographic, it has become extremely difficult to find and place people into ministry service on our administrative teams (SPPR, Finance, Trustees, Lay Leadership) as well as other ministry teams. Many feel they are beyond their time of service. And truthfully, many legitimately are not in the place of such service anymore. 

UMC congregations have historically served in a top-heavy, ecclesial body governance structure that has a redundant, layered decision-making system. Historic polity requires five committees of up to nine people (Church Council, Trustees, SPPR, Finance, and Lay Leadership) plus three additional officer roles (Council Chair, Lay Leader, Annual Conference Rep). That’s 45 people to fill those team rosters. Newer allowances within our church polity make way for a single church governance structure to cover all required outcomes (9-12 lay officers). Perhaps it is time for us as a church family to explore moving to this model.

As your pastor, I recognize that not every individual is called (or gifted) to lead and serve in church governance. The church needs wise and skilled leaders “…who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to oversee and govern our processes. The disciples made this commitment: “We will turn this responsibility over to them” so that the administration of ministry could continue unabated, with clarity and justice, unifying all. How might the Lord (and our church family) count on your participation in the coming year?

Our All-Church conference is slated for a very early Friday, October 14th, at 7:00 pm. I hope you will put that date on your calendar and come out for our annual church business meeting. As we move into 2023, it is my hope and prayer we can become nimbler and more strategic in our governance and decision-making process. I hope we will discover some momentum-building focus points for engaged ministry as a congregation. This will be key to our future vitality and external community engagement. Please prayerfully consider how you can say YES to ministry service for the church in the coming year. Your church family needs you now more than ever!


“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

2 Corinthians 6:2