Webster’s Dictionary defines “laity” as “the people of a religion who are not priests, ministers, etc.” Another way to look at it is that clergy preach on Sunday mornings, and the laity, or lay members, are the folks sitting in the pews. Certified Lay Ministers and Speakers are also included in this group because they are not ordained. That’s a lot of people in our conference! You do not need to be on a board or committee to be a lay member or even attend church regularly. All are welcome! More information about the laity role in the United Methodist Church can be found here.
Your church belongs to one of the five districts that make up our Annual Conference. Each district serves ministerial and administrative functions and is headed by a District Superintendent. The PNW, Oregon-Idaho, and Alaska conferences share a bishop and comprise the Greater NW Area. We also partner with several other conferences as part of the Western Jurisdiction.
Still have questions? Here’s what Chuck Knows Church has to say (see the video posted on this page)!
According to the Book of Discipline, “Lay members of the United Methodist Church are, by history and calling, active advocates of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. The witness of the laity, their Christ-like examples of everyday living as well as the sharing of their own faith experiences of the gospel, is the primary evangelistic ministry through which all people will come to know Christ and the United Methodist Church will fulfill its mission.”
Matthew 28:18-20–18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In addition, United Methodist tradition also recognizes 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. They help to form Christian disciples in covenant community within the local congregation through spiritual formation and guidance for Christian living in the world.
Laypersons within the United Methodist Church are called to serve Christ with their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service and their witness. We promise this as part of our membership vows. As Christians, we are called to serve Christ and to bring the Good News to others. As United Methodists, we share a distinctive heritage and faith philosophy as set forth by John Wesley. We believe in “practical divinity”, putting love and faith into action! Click here to learn more about our Methodist heritage.
Methodist laity are uniquely equipped to live out our Christian faith as we are engaged in ministry with the world around us. The United Methodist Church has adopted the Social Creed and Principles to affirm our fundamental relationships with God, God’s creation, and humanity. The Social Creed and Principles are part of the Book of Discipline and explain how we are called to live in the world. Many people find they don’t agree with all of the Social Principles, and that’s okay! However, it’s important as laity that we know what they are and how they inform our faith.
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