Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant
Usually observed the third Sunday in October, Laity Sunday gives churches the opportunity to recognize the hard work of laity and educate congregations on all laity does for the body of Christ.
The ministry of the laity is one of the most important roles in The United Methodist Church. The role of laity, as outlined in the Book of Discipline, is a calling for believers who do not want to just be bench members but members who seek actively to be living advocates of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lay members serve in all areas of the Church supporting missions and being the primary evangelistic ministry through which all people will come to know Christ.
For LaToya Thompson, Mississippi Conference Lay Leader and chair of the board of laity, lay ministry has long been her passion. Growing up in a Methodist Church with parents who were also dedicated to serving their brothers and sisters in Christ emboldened Thompson to dedicate her life in the same form of servant hood.
“Because of God’s grace towards me, I feel prompted to be His hands and feet and share His love,” said Thompson.
Thompson has led/taught classes, conducted webinars, trainings and lay servant ministry school classes to equip laity from across the conference for the task of serving God’s people.
“It is a rush to observe as the light bulb comes on for people as they learn about lay ministry and when people share stories about how your lay ministry has impacted them,” said Thompson.
Though the third Sunday in October is the suggested date for Laity Sunday, local churches can choose their own date to show support and appreciation for laity. John McClay, a local church lay leader at Revels United Methodist Church and a district lay leader for the Greenwood district describes how his church celebrates Laity Sunday.
“We have a service led by a lay person. We provide information on the meaning of laity, show appreciation for our laity and show how laity contribute to the church and conference,” explained McClay.
This year’s theme for Laity Sunday is “Rise Up and Revive God’s Gift.” A fitting title for the recognition of laity who work hand-in-hand with church administration from district superintendents to pastors and church committees to make sure the people of God’s needs are met.
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