woman preaching

Photo by Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, CC BY 2.0

The Lay Academy prepared me well...

To God be the glory

In January 2016, I began taking a course entitled Discovering Your Call led by Carl Ellis. During this course I was able to define my call and develop a spiritual resume.

I learned that when I was initially called by God to do something He had for me to do, I reacted like Moses. I could give God countless reasons why I couldn’t do whatever He was calling me to do.

As time passed, I moved from the Moses call to the Abraham call. I had finally reached a place in my journey where I stopped fighting God and told Him I would go wherever He wanted me to go and do whatever He wanted me to do.

I have to admit that after finishing the class with Carl, I did not have an easy time. I felt called to be a Lay Pastor in the United Methodist Church and I felt that something was holding me back... I began wondering what it was God had planned for me.

Following several job changes and a 5-week illness when I was not able to meet with my District Superintendent, I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure what I wanted anymore.

I was about ready to throw my hands up wondering when and if God was ever going to move and within one week both my prayers got answered.

I got a promotion with one of my two jobs that enabled me to quit the other one. This promotion allows me to help support our family and free up time to pursue my ministry.

The next week I received an e-mail informing me that I had been chosen to be the Lay Pulpit Supply for my church. My former pastor is now licensed and has moved to a 3-point charge. I realized that she had spent this entire year trying to groom me for this position but in many ways I had fought against everything she was trying to do to help me.

July 3 was my first Sunday as Pastor of Cove United Methodist Church in Coleman Falls, VA. Cove is a small church. We have about 10 active participants.

My first Sunday wasn’t easy and I have a lot more to learn as I continue this journey. God is faithful and His timing isn’t always my timing but His time is perfect.

~ Jane Whitehead

The Lay Academy classes bring students together

One of my favorite components of the classes is interacting with others who are searching out their area of call, as well. God used classmates to strengthen my quest and also open my mind to additional ways that ministry can be accomplished as a lay person.

Learning with others makes this unknown path more reassuring. God has used the knowledge from these classes to strengthen my faith journey. It also opened up ministry opportunities as well.

~ Pastor Connie Blanke

The Lay Academy classes develop strong, biblically-based pastors

I found the academy an indispensable part of my education and journey into ministry. 

I remember distinctly how we were taught to use the lectionary, research tools, and the process of reading and meditating and praying on the scripture, which allows it to speak to you in a way which brings the depth of God’s word to the fore. We would underline the salient words in a verse, which words jumped out at us or which prevailing thought became a periscope to understanding the text, and then the sermon preparation process that insured that we kept to the core meaning of the passage within the context of history, culture, and the rest of scripture.

The Academy was a comprehensive and progressive program for my work in the church.

~ Pastor Steve Holmes

The Lay Academy inspires continued studies

I have been serving the Methodist Church as a District Superintendent’s Assignee for about 3 years, and last July went to licensing school and am now enrolled in Course of Study for local pastors in the United Methodist Church.

The Lay Academy prepared me well with the beginning skills and the history of the church to take my studies to the next level. I want to thank the Lay Academy for the preparation, guidance, the opportunity for group participation, and the grace I experienced

Pastor Ellis’s encouragement and the encouragement of all the instructors helped me find the courage to pursue God’s calling in my life. 

~ Pastor Alvin Eugene Huston