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Imagine Lay People Fueling New Church Starts

By Doug Ruffle

Imagine thousands of laity starting new faith communities. Imagine the church of the future that can be of any size, can meet in all kinds of places, and is made up of all kinds of people. Imagine laypeople partnering with clergy to make it happen.

Laypeople are imagining the possibility of new church starts in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. Through a partnership with Path 1 and Baltimore-Washington’s Director of New Faith Expression, Bill Brown, a dozen laypeople from that conference (and one person from the Virginia Annual Conference) have embarked on a learning journey to start new ministries, new (or fresh) expressions of church, and new faith communities. The online course started with a live Zoom orientation for interested laypeople. Those who registered began taking ten online classes on October 24. The course will conclude in late January 2021 with a live Zoom meeting, during which participants will present an action plan for feedback by peers and instructors.

Participants don’t have to be engaged in a Lay Servant Ministry to enroll; but if they are, the Basic Course qualifies for Certified Lay Ministry recertification. The Advanced Course can lead to specialization in Lay Planting. Baltimore-Washington is providing two moderators to interact with students along with Path 1’s two instructors. Class topics include:

  • Christology
  • Missiology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Discerning
  • Visioning
  • Gathering
  • Discipling
  • Worshiping
  • Maturing
  • Multiplying

Each registered participant receives a digital bundle of resources to enrich ministry as part of the registration. For more information, email [email protected].

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