Lay Servant training in the North Georgia
The North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church recently held two weekends of Lay Servant training delivered by the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary for education and leadership formation.
The training is designed for all lay people, Lay Servants of The United Methodist Church. These non-clergy need many hours of training with the intent of supporting the activities of local churches, the duties of the clergy, and to function as a resource for the local congregations.
Christie flew to Atlanta for two weeks to teach the advanced Lay Servants class on the Social Principles, the social teachings of The United Methodist Church. The training focused on the education of the Lay Servants on what United Methodists believe, why they believe it, and how they put it into action based on their social teachings and social principles.
Christie taught approximately 15 people in each class with the goal of showing how relationships lead to others in terms of education. “For people to see what they are passionate about, it starts with awareness of what United Methodists believe, how we believe it, and how we put it into action for our social teachings and social principles.”
Some of the participants “want to work with us on organizing our presence in other churches in Atlanta and North Georgia,” added Christie.
Jeffrey Fuller, a participant of the training reflected that “Social Principles are an active manner of calling people to discipleship. If Social Principles were practiced and upheld in every United Methodist Church, this may eliminate many problems in the local church and bring us together as a denomination. The United Methodist Church speaks firmly in favor of human rights, civil rights, and sacred worth of all persons. How can we speak firmly in favor of these things and yet allow illegal discrimination within our denomination?
“In my walk as a disciple within the United Methodist church, I can see God working thru Social Principles in our daily interactions with each other, alongside the Bible as our compass. While sitting in a Lay Servant Social Principles class, I became deeply convicted that all the answers sought in the recent 2019 Special Call General Conference are laid before us in our Social Principles.
“Since I began taking Lay Servant training courses in 2016, God has opened my eyes to many things of His glory. This training has shown me the appropriate ways that we should operate as a denomination and as local churches. It is through Lay Servant ministry that I found my call for ministry.
“I became a Certified Lay Speaker in the North Georgia Conference because my passion grew into a deep desire to be of a positive contributor to my conference and denomination overall, thus impacting local churches. Lay Servants are called to be agents of change for productivity and spiritual growth. My passionate heart’s desire is to be used by God in this manner. Assisting pastors, other church Leaders, and speaking gives me joy as I share what God has shown me and with words from the Lord.”