Joan Holms, PNW Conference Lay Leader addresses the audience at opening worship at the Annual Conference Sessions 2015.


Where the journey has taken me
By Joan Holms

When God gives you a gift, how do you say thanks?

Sometimes a gift is so great that simply saying, “Thank you, God” doesn’t seem enough. But sometimes that’s all you can say.

I received such a gift in June of 2012 when I was elected to serve as Conference lay leader here in the Pacific Northwest.

There is so much that I love about this role, which I have served for nearly four years. Any day I can spend with laity in the local church or at training events is a good day. I told someone recently that when I stepped into this role I expected to find churches in decline and spirits low. Instead, I encountered congregations where the Spirit is alive and well.

I have met lay people who were excited about the ministry they and their churches are involved in. I have been warmly welcomed wherever I have traveled in this Conference and have enjoyed hearing the many stories of loving one another and the world, of caring for creation, of growing in faith. So many wonderful stories.

I have had the privilege of working with the finest Conference staff in the connection. I am no longer surprised to hear from church leaders in other conferences that they know or know of these folks and to hear that these colleagues are highly regarded around the country. (Actually, across the globe.)

I have appreciated the opportunity to work with a Bishop who supports the laity and makes our leadership development a priority. And I have discovered that having a bishop who supports the lay leader is less common than one might think. Indeed, I have been given a great gift!

With so much to be thankful for, why on earth would I ever want this to end? The Conference lay leader serves a term of four years. My term will end at the close of Annual Conference this year and according to conference rules I am eligible to run for a second term.

I am extremely thankful for this gift – but after much discernment I realize I am being called to another way of serving God and church at this time in my life. I don’t yet know where this journey takes me next, but I am excited to discover that for myself.


I know there is another lay person in this Conference who is prepared to step into this position of leadership. That’s another thing to be thankful for – God has given us many extraordinarily gifted laypersons. I look forward to discovering who the laity will elect to lead us in the coming quadrennium. Details about the process for becoming a candidate will be available soon.

Again I say: “Thank you, God, for the gift of this opportunity to serve your church.”

The journey continues…


RESOURCES_ServingFromTheHeartServing From The Heart: Finding Your Gifts & Talents for Service (D1001)

Ever wonder what your spiritual gift is? Do you want to serve the church but don’t know what you have to offer? If you want to discover your unique talents for service in the church or you’d like to build confidence and commitment among adults as they pursue service opportunities, then this resource is for you.

Designed for a lay member to lead adults through an assessment of their spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and much more. This resource includes lesson plans, group activities, and bible study for eight 45-minute sessions. Enhanced CD-ROM includes 9 video clips from the Church of the Resurrection, photo slide show, overhead slides for each session, promotional posters, and four music tracks.

Contact Ian McKnight at if you would like to borrow this resource and access others from the Regional Media Center!

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