Lay Servant Training


Click HERE for article in Spanish.

A wonderful time of Fellowship!

For where two or three are gathered together as my followers, I am there with them.”  Matthew 18:20

Twenty -three laity from several churches in the East Central District attended the Lay Servant Ministries Basic and Advanced Lay Servant Training at First United Methodist Church of

Tavares. For many this was a first - time experience of what can and does happen when believers gather.  Facilitators included, Rev. Kate Ling and Rev. John Fisher.

“Spirit filled, diverse and powerful” is how Dr. Leo Rodriquez described the weekend. Dr. Leo served as one of the facilitators for the Advanced class in Spanish, and one participant shared the following experience:

“The time to discover and deploy our spiritual gifts in the United Methodist Church and in the World is now. That was the main lesson nine of us had during our Spiritual Gifts class with Dr. Leo Rodríguez this last Lay Servant Ministry training event at Tavares UMC.  We learned that we have, at least, three spiritual gifts:

1. One, that we know and enjoy using

2. One, we know, but avoid using it because of how we feel, or, what others might think or say

3. One that we have not yet discovered. We learned that the latter emerges in times of adversity and crisis.

In "the urgency of the times" of which Dr. Martin Luther King spoke and the audacious advice of Mordecai to Esther, "who knows but who has come to his real position at a time like this?" we get up and change the world through Service.

We left the place committed to live a life of prayer, humility and service and to put into practice the principles learned at a specific time in the life of our Church. This practice which includes the deployment of our gifts will be in full when our Church (New Horizon UMC, Haines City) hosts the Fall Lay Servant training event on September 20 and 21, 2019.

In line with our putting into practice our spiritual gifts, this coming occasion will also be a special one when one of our Hispanic students, Wilkins Rodriguez, will become one of the facilitators.”

A first- time attendee in the Basic class, had this to share:

“As a participant in the basic level course of study, I had the blessing of being one of three students, and was therefore able to truly get to know my fellow classmates and learn from our instructor, the wise and caring Lynn Campbell, who serves our district as Co-Director of Lay Servant Ministries. 

Highlights of our course included taking a spiritual gifts inventory, putting pen to paper in our efforts to learn how, as followers of Jesus, we could better serve and minister to those in our personal and professional lives, writing and presenting our personal testimonies, and even a group activity where we created an entire church service with the goal was to be as welcoming and affirming as possible to first time church goers. 

Both worship services, Friday and Saturday afternoons, saw participants reading and singing in English, Spanish and Creole. The spirit of the Lord was definitely in the room with all of us at FUMC Tavares, and I know I speak for all who attended when I say we headed home with a renewed sense of purpose and devotion to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” To God be the glory!

Contributors to this article include, Dr. Leo Rodriguez, Israel Suárez, and Elizabeth Hughes.

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