Laity Leadership Academy

2019 Laity Leadership Academy

| | The Mission and Resource Center

Laity Leadership Academy Tracks

Track 1: Innovation in Youth Ministry
Facilitator: Kerwin Webb & Davidson Sutherland | Next Generation Ministries

The last 5 to 10 years have produced massive changes for youth and their families. The way we used to do youth ministry just doesn’t work anymore. So what’s next? How do we get there? In this workshop you’ll learn what is working in youth ministry and Next Generation Ministries in 2019. You will chart a plan for your church to reach the next generation of disciples in new ways. Recommended for youth volunteers and staff members.

Track 2: Storytelling through Small Groups
Facilitators: Rev. Gina Yeske | Director of Small Groups & Rev Daeil Min and Communications Team of Succasunna UMC

Great storytellers create powerful narratives that move people’s minds and hearts. Participants will reflect on the parables, learn about Jesus as a master storyteller and explore narrative leadership to create shifts in perspectives. Storytelling is key to building relations in small groups. We will share stories of faith and ministry from our local churches. You will be equipped with training and a curriculum to lead a small group on storytelling as a means to grow congregational vitality. Recommended for those who engage in the ministry of small groups, church newsletters, social media, church school, stewardship team and preaching.

Track 3: Generosity: Moving from Scarcity to Celebration
Facilitator: Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash| Executive Director, The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater New Jersey

When we tell stories of life changing ministries, generosity grows. Participants will learn the biblical foundation of stewardship and explore their own practice of generosity. New this year, you will learn the importance of developing a 12-month plan that incorporates personal testimony, technology and storytelling to celebrate and grow stewardship. Also practice an “ask” for major donors. You will be sent out to your church to lead and implement a plan designed for acknowledging and thanking donors. Recommended for church council chairpersons and those involved in with finance committees or stewardship teams.

Track 4: A Closer Walk: A Path to Spiritual Transformation
Facilitators: Betty Quackenboss, Rev. Erica Munoz and a team from Aldersgate UMC in East Brunswick

An extension of last year’s track, A Closer Walk will provide new methods, materials and activities. You will learn to develop a local church’s spiritual vitality by centering the community on Jesus Christ and creating an environment that encourages going deeper in the faith. Using the small group model, the workshop will be interactive as we learn ways to infuse prayer, scripture exposure and faith inspired stories into existing church activities. You will reflect on how a Spirit led approach to discipleship will impact the way you think, love and act in your communities. You will leave with materials designed to inspire and initiate programs for faith development. Recommended for congregants who are interested in partnering with their pastors to spark spiritual growth in their churches. Pastors are more than welcome to attend!

Please note: The Academy requires reading and preparation in advance. Participants are encouraged to implement this learning through a post conference action plan in the local church.

Churches that attend the Laity Leadership Academy may submit an application to be considered for a Seed Grant worth up to $500 to begin a new ministry that demonstrates readiness to grow vital congregations and develop lay leadership. Click here or contact Beverly Karlovich for information about available grant options.

More details

Registration | Sep 28 Laity Leadership Academy

The Board of Laity is charged to:

  • Foster an awareness of the role of the laity within the local congregations; and to promote and develop programs to cultivate an adequate understanding of the theological and biblical basis for lay life and work;
  • Develop and promote stewardship of time, talent, and possessions;
  • Provide for the training of lay members of the annual conference;
  • Provide support and direction for the ministry of the Laity on the local, district and annual conference levels and to promote the observation of Laity Sunday;
  • Provide organization, direction, and support for the development of local church lay leaders.


  • Support the strategic plan to create vital congregations using the 5 markers of vitality:  new disciples, small groups for learning and faith formation,  worship, mission, and generous giving.
  • Increase learning opportunities for laity leadership through our educational opportunities such as: the Laity Leadership Academy, Servant Leadership Ministries and CLM programs.
  • Celebrate and engage laity to share innovative local church ministries through our yearly laity Celebration/Recognition Worship Service.
  • Engage laity in “Ministry With the Poor” at district levels to create a network of churches and mission centers that address root causes of poverty by educating and coordinating sustainable ministries that change lives:
  • Develop a data bank of essential resources of all agencies, interfaith programs related to working with the poor;
  • Coordinate and support programs that seek recovery and resourcing to move persons to means of self-sufficiency.
  • Identify one area of poverty across the conference that we will address together as a way to witness to the region of the Great Commandment!