GNJ Lay Leader Rosa Williams addresses the 2017 Laity Leadership Academy at the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune, NJ. Photo by Biho Chung

Go Deeper and Wider at the Laity Leadership Academy

August 2, 2018 | | GNJ News

NEPTUNE – How can United Methodists in Greater New Jersey minister across racial and cultural boundaries? The cultural landscape of the U.S. is changing with increased diversity in communities across the country. The 2018 Laity Leadership Academy will provide five tracks for laity to explore the answers.

Held at the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune on October 6, the academy will feature Rev. Dr. Grace Pak, Director of Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Leadership of the General Commission on Religion and Race who will explore questions with laity such as: What does the Bible say about diversity? What is culture? What is my cultural location? How can I minister across the racial and cultural lines?

George Lagos, Director of Lay Servant Ministries will join Debbie Bruce in leading a track called “Digital Strategy for Salvation” featuring a session on a church’s brand and social media channels, providing guidance on how to determine a powerful church brand through sharing a church’s unique story.

“We will reveal the seven ‘must haves’ to ensure the time spent on social media provides engagement with both existing and new church members,” said Lagos. “It seems that there’s a distinct awareness that by not making social media a priority, churches could ultimately lose members and fail to attract new members.”

An afternoon session will feature a church website building track designed to help congregations and their leaders understand the critical decisions for the look, feel and navigation of a church’s website.

This year’s day-long academy for GNJ laity will feature a total of five tracks including the differences between generosity and funding, vital ministries with older adults and helping churches create environments more conducive to going deeper in faith.

“You could actually feel the excitement in the air,” exclaimed GNJ Lay leader Rosa Williams after last year’s academy. “All of the laity were eager, excited, and engaged in learning with delightful energy and a spirit of hope.”

The academy provides tools and skills for leaders facing the challenges of the 21st century with tracks that help laity and their churches go deeper spiritual, go wider in their communities, grow older with grace and support, and go farther with generosity and sharing the Good News with excellence.

Churches are encouraged to send a team of congregational leaders to develop an action plan to implement a new ministry in their church. Attendees will be able to apply for seed grants to enact these ministries in their churches. Certified Lay Servants who successfully complete the Laity Leadership Academy and implement the action plans will receive re-certification recognition. Registration is $50 and the deadline to sign up is September 7.

Click here to learn more and register today or click the link in GNJ’s weekly e-newsletter, The Digest