Lay servants: Rising up and moving forward amid change

By Kris Bergmann

Lay servants stayed home, yet still gathered together from all over South Carolina on YouTube, Facebook Live and Zoom, for a weekend-long ministry event.

On Friday night, Oct. 9, they gathered virtually with clergy and other laity for an inspiring combination of live and recorded messages at Sandhill United Methodist Church featuring the Rev. Jeffrey Salley. Salley brought a message about the importance of rising up to bring the Kingdom of God.

South Carolina Resident Bishop Jonathan Holston also spoke that evening, striking a chord with the group as he shared how God did not give us that spirit of hate—the world around us teaches that. God gave us a spirit of love.

If you missed it you can watch it on YouTube:

The next day, Saturday, lay servants gathered for an all-day training session. Lay servants looked at where they expected ministry to be in five years, as well as new classes and maybe new methods, but still equipping church leaders in the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Next, the Rev. Cathy Joens, a conference congregational specialist, led a session on the business of teaching adults. Joens discussed various learning styles, including visual, auditory and kinesthetic. She also talked about a number of considerations every instructor should consider no matter how skilled they are, such as the overall purpose of the class (what do I want them to know, and who are the people in my class?), the environment (how does the room feel?), content (what am I teaching, and what are the key elements?), techniques and more.

On Sunday the group finished up with suggestions for teaching classes.

The instructor’s academy was held later than normal this year because of COVID-19; usually the academy is held in August. Yet with God’s help they worshiped, discussed and learned new techniques. While many missed the actual face-to-face time, many were excited about no travel time and the possibilities for the district lay servant classes, many have been shut down since March.

Check the UMCSC web site under “Lay Servant Ministry” for classes to be offered soon, or go directly to

Bergmann is co-coordinator of the LSM Train-the-Trainers Instructors Academy.

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