Laity Sunday in the United Methodist Church is celebrated on October 15 this year with the theme “Therefore, Go! With HOPE Through Hospitality” inspired by Matthew 28:19-20 (CEB) which highlights God’s call to us to make disciples across our world. Methodism has a long history of celebrating and recognizing the ministry of the laity. The Indiana Annual Conference Board of Laity invites all congregations to celebrate the ministry of the laity this Sunday.
This past weekend, over 100 laypersons from across the Indiana Conference gathered to celebrate the call of the laity to serve as church leaders, youth leaders, teachers, mentors, and partners including a slew of different roles that help to support our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Doris Clark, Lay Leader of the Indiana Conference, stated during this year’s Laity Day gathering that “the laity provide a vital and unique component to the mission and ministry of the Indiana Conference, and without their commitment, our impact on our communities and populations around the world would be less prevalent. This day is dedicated to celebrating that commitment.”
Laity Sunday was established by the General Conference to be observed on the third Sunday in October. On this Sunday we acknowledge and celebrate that all Christians are called to serve and to share their faith, as individuals and as the body of Christ.
Natalie Macy, Associate Director of Leadership Development - Laity, and a member of the Conference Board of Laity stated “the ability for persons from all walks of life and ministry to connect and forge a strong network as we do in The United Methodist Church amplifies a great message across the world. We celebrate and honor the work of every layperson in the Indiana Annual Conference, and we encourage our churches to take part in that celebration on Laity Sunday.”
Laity Sunday is also an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to leading in the next generation of leaders in the church. It is the opportune time to plant the seed of spiritual growth and invest in the youngest leaders of the Church by providing a space in which to be intentional about listening, inciting fruitful conversations, and to consider different ideas, as well as encouraging youth to follow their dreams and openly communicate the visions they may have for their church.
On Laity Day we got to hear from 13-year-old Trey Heyward, a member of University United Methodist Church and Emerging Leader [link to Emerging Leaders page], who reminded us that the future of the church relies heavily on the thirst, talents, and commitment of young churchgoers, but if they are not encouraged to take part in today’s conversations, they will feel less apt to play an active role in the church down the line.
Drawing from Ephesians 4: 4-6 (NIV) Heyward states “sometimes I feel that the church forgets that there are no little parts in the body of Christ. That the same spirit that’s inside of an adult Christian is also inside of youth.”
Youth from around the Indiana Conference are being encouraged to answer their Call into ministry, navigate and find a balance between their aspirations, and building the confidence to take first steps down the path God has selected for them. Student Leadership Academy is a program devoted to that mission and an invites high school youth to explore the many ways they can be active in the Church today as well as the future. The 2017 SLA fall weekend retreat begins November 17. Registration deadline is November 5.
For more information on how you can celebrate this Laity Sunday, check out umcdiscipleship.com.
Encourage high school youth from around your faith community to take part in Student Leadership Academy Fall Retreat with this downloadable bulletin insert.