Laity Leadership Academy 2017. Photo by Biho Chung

Helping Churches go Deeper in Faith at the Laity Leadership Academy

September 4, 2018 | | GNJ News

NEPTUNE – How can your church improve its spiritual tone? According to Betty Quackenboss, Rev. Erica Munoz and a team from Aldersgate UMC, the answer is by helping create an environment more conducive to going deeper in faith and by infusing a more intensely expressive spirituality centered on Jesus.

“We can improve our church’s spiritual tone by testifying through word and deed that Jesus is alive in our lives and our churches,” said Munoz, who along with her church team and Quackenboss will be facilitating a track entitled “A Closer Walk” at the 2018 Laity Leadership Academy on October 6 at the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune.

The interactive workshop will engage participants to improve their church’s spiritual tone by using the small group model, looking at specific tools and “means of grace” to increase faith commitment, examining ways to engage people with the Bible as a transformational tool and expanding prayer time.

This year’s day-long academy for GNJ laity will feature A Closer Walk and  four other track total of five tracks titled: “Building up God’s Beloved Community”, “Understanding Diversity”, ”Generosity vs. Funding” and ”Digital Strategies for Salvation.”

“It’s an inspiration to witness the faithfulness of the laity that attend this training event,” said Juel Nelson, Director of Leadership Development. “People are just so excited to be invested.”

Helen Hunter and Arthur Harrell, who both have healthcare backgrounds, will be returning this year to facilitate ”Vital Ministries with Older Adults” due to the amount of congregants in GNJ who are aging and have family members responsible for taking care of them. Their workshop session will provide an overview of the aging process, including physical, mental, and social changes. Participants will learn strategies in the support for elderly parishioners and families.

“We will identify available community resources and services, understanding how faith communities can partner in ways that bring value to God’s people in response to their needs,” said Hunter. “We’ll engage in vital conversation and resourcing around leveraging older adults and develop an action plan to implement ministry of elderly caring.”

“There’s a lot of stress associated with the aging process and we want to try to address some of the stresses and effectively alleviate them for care givers,” said Harrell. “We seek to provide participants with local resources for both care givers and the people they’re caring for.”

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 sign up today.