Celebrate Laity Sunday 2014.
One key component of an effective discipleship system is engaging small groups. Jesus, himself, modeled this essential component of disciple-making by engaging a small group of twelve men -- otherwise known as the disciples. He taught them how to study and pray, how to give generously, how to be in service one to another, how to practice hospitality, and how to live sacrificially. These same components were foundational to the spread of the Wesleyan Movement. During the days of the circuit riders, in the absence of the clergy, lay leadership was essential in the establishment and development of small groups, which helped the Methodist movement to become worldwide. Today, many of the fastest growing United Methodist churches are built upon these same principles.
During Pentecost, during the Wesleyan Movement and still today, the laity play a key part in transformational discipleship -- disciples making disciples. In The United Methodist Church, laity take seriously their call to ministry: They serve as lay leaders, lay servants, lay ministers, missionaries, deaconesses, home missioners, class leaders, liturgists, lay speakers, congregational care ministers, youth directors, Christian educators, United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women, and in so many other ways as well.
We celebrate the call to the ministry of the laity, knowing full well that without the leadership of the laity from the very beginning, we would not be The United Methodist Church in the present. It is for their contributions to the Wesleyan Movement, to the building of United Methodism, and to the reclaiming of that movement in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world that we celebrate the ministry of the laity today.