Lay Speakers and Christian Educators
by Diana L. Hynson
Serving in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference (some years ago), I helped teach our district lay speaking courses, meeting highly motivated, gifted, effective, and faithful leaders in their local churches, district, and conference. As a result of their lay speaking experience, many of our “grads” experienced a call to ordained ministry and went into seminary or the local pastor track to serve as pastoral leaders in the local church. For years, as I saw them at conference, they would make a special effort to thank me for my part in their call. It has been marvelously gratifying to know that my small effort linked with God’s call for this area of ministry.
Approached by Sandy Zeigler Jackson, the Director of Lay Leadership Development at GBOD, I agreed to write the advanced course material for Lay Speakers Teach Adults. When the course was published in 2006, I had the opportunity to give it a test drive at the South Central Jurisdiction Lay Speaking training in the summer that year. It went well, I felt good about my effort and their accomplishment, and I fielded a few other requests to teach the course in other settings. So far, so good.
At the meeting of Annual Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministry in January 2007, I had a brief time to mention the Lay Speakers Teach Adults course. They just blew me away! I already know that lay speakers tend to be movers and shakers in their churches and beyond. When I asked the group of about 125 directors how many of them teach Sunday school, almost every hand went up, and nearly all the rest said that they attended a class. Wow!
Here’s an avenue to the teaching ministry of our churches, districts, and conferences that I had not really considered before. As I continue to work with leaders in Christian education and formation at the conference and district level, I will be casting a significant glance in the direction of the leaders in lay speaking as well.
As you work with teachers, education/formation leaders, and advocates, consider:
- How many lay speakers are in your church, district, or in nearby churches?
- How many of them are teachers?
- As you work with teacher recruitment, have you considered lay speakers?
- When you need substitute teachers, especially on short notice, could one of your lay speakers help?
- If you do training for teachers and substitutes, could you invite your lay speakers?
- Can lay speakers help do any of your training?
- Do you know if any lay speakers in your district are members of CEF (Christian Educators Fellowship)? If they teach, but are not members, can you invite them?
- If your conference does not have a CEF chapter, or needs another chapter, would linking up the lay speakers help?
- What other alliances might you forge with lay speakers who teach or lead education ministry?