What is the Center for Lay Leadership & Inclusivity Excellence?
In Paragraph 133 of The UMC Book of Discipline (Part III of The Constitution, Section III – Servant Ministry and Servant Leadership, ¶134: Calling and Gifts of Leadership), we read:
“The United Methodist tradition has recognized that laypersons as well as ordained persons are gifted and called by God to lead the Church. The servant leadership of these persons is essential to the mission and ministry of congregations.”
“Ministry” is not just a reference to clergy or other professionals who have specific training or education. The Bible, in discussing the role of believers does not specify clergy or laity. It refers to the “laos”: the whole people of God. The ministry of the laity certainly includes the work we do in church – serving on committees, mission teams, choir, and more. All these are important but not all there is to being in ministry. Our ministry is what we do every day - our daily lives outside the church doors. It’s our 24/7 commitment to respond to God’s call to holy living in the world.
With the approval of All Things New, leadership development became the primary focus of the Virginia Conference. As one of the four centers for excellence, the Center for Lay Leadership Excellence provides resourcing of lay leadership that will develop principled Christian disciples who are grounded in Wesleyan tradition and theology as we answer our call to ministry in the church and world. In collaboration with Conference boards/commissions and the other Centers, initiatives under the Center for Lay Leadership Excellence will prepare, equip, connect, and support laity for ministry within and outside the walls of the local church. Two documents – one adopted by the Common Table for Church Vitality and one developed by the Conference Board of Laity - may be helpful in thinking about leadership development at all levels of the Virginia Conference. Click on the titles to view the full documents:
• Developing Leaders for Transformation (pdf)
• Characteristics of Effective Lay Leadership (pdf)
Click here for a list of general resources for lay leadership development, including training workshop handouts.
All of the Centers for Excellence are resourced by the three Virginia Conference commissions for inclusivity: Commission on Disabilities (COD), Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy (CEMCA), and Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW). You can find more information about their work by selecting the specific Commission on the menu items in the left column.
The Center for Lay Leadership Excellence is overseen by the Director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence.
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” --Philippians 4:8