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Lay Leader's Corner Archive

Greetings from the Lay Leader’s Corner.

By the time you read this, Annual Conference will be over, but as I am writing only the Legislative Committees have been meeting. I would like to thank those of you who gave Cinda and me your thoughts about the legislation the AC considered this year, and for your questions about the function and activities of AC. For now, let’s look ahead to some thoughts on summer. This summer looks like it’s going to be a busy time at RCUMC with Community Outreach, Vacation Bible School, The Summer Challenge (a Bible study of Acts), and other activities still in the works.

As usual, some activities are on summer hiatus, but will be back in the Fall. Summer is often a time of travel for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we leave the thought of church behind. In fact, it’s on those summer journeys (or any time we are traveling!), when we can take the opportunity to experience worship of God with others in different settings. I encourage you to soak in those new experiences as you find yourself away from your home church. This might be at a campground worship service, a friend or relatives’ church, or a church you find along your way that is totally new to you.

You may find yourself in a different denomination, with people of different backgrounds, or even a service conducted in a language you do not understand, but you will be with fellow believers worshiping our God. Hopefully, you will find yourself in an environment as friendly and welcoming as RCUMC. In any case, remember that you are there because God wants you there; perhaps to learn from a different experience or share your faith with others to enrich both of your faith journeys. Perhaps you will see something new that you feel would be welcomed back home at RCUMC. How exciting would that be to share your new “findings” with your church family!

It is those “shared” experiences that enrich our congregation and help it grow spiritually, functionally, and creatively for the glory of God. May I suggest that when you have something to share, that you talk to Pastor Daniel, myself, or anyone on the Leadership Team, so we may help you share that experience or idea with the congregation or greater community. You may be surprised how one seemingly little thing can bring about greater abundance in the life of our church and the world around us.

Enjoy the season ahead. Be mindful of where God places you. Absorb the experiences you have. Share your enriched faith with others for the glory of God’s kingdom.

May God bless us all with his abundant grace.

Peace be with you,

Your Lay Leader,

Timothy Locker, Sr.


Greetings from the Lay Leader's Corner.

Spring is here, the landscape is greening up and God continues to reveal his handiwork. It is time to take inventory and plan for the days ahead. The Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church is doing just that. As I write this article, representatives of our Conference are attending General Conference, planning the future of the United Methodist Church in the world at large.

Cinda and I are looking forward to attending the Michigan Annual Conference at the end of this month at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme Michigan. The MAC is a gathering of equal numbers of Clergy and Lay members of the Conference to do the Corporate business of the church. All clergy in good standing in the Conference, whether active or retired, are required to attend. Cinda was elected at our Annual Charge Conference last Fall as your Lay Representative to Annual Conference and I was chosen to be an Equalization Representative to Annual Conference by our District Lay Leader. Note, because there are more clergy attendees than there would be lay representatives elected by local congregations, and equal numbers of each are required by The Book of Discipline, a number of lay people need to be chosen on a district-by-district basis to “equalize” the numbers, thus, the Equalization Representatives. Well, that was a lot of explanation of why both Cinda and I will be attending as your representatives, but I felt it is important for you know.

Also important for you to know is what “business” will be before us and what your part is in accomplishing that “business”. There are eleven Resolutions that have been presented and a budget for the Conference to consider. Three of the Resolutions and the budget will come before the entire voting body to be considered for discussion and vote. The remaining eight will first go through Legislative Committees for consideration before coming before the entire body. It is that process you can help with.

On May 22 and 23, four Legislative Committees will meet separately via Zoom to consider those pieces of legislation, two per committee. Pastor Daniel, Cinda and I will each be assigned to one of those groups, but no two of us to the same group. The pieces of legislation and budget have been posted in the RCUMC narthex for your examination. Also, you can access the Michigan Conference web sight and find them there. You are strongly encouraged to examine these documents and provide Pastor Daniel, Cinda, and/or me with your thoughts, feelings, and wisdom. Cinda and I will be in the Fellowship Hall each Sunday after service to discuss your questions and or comments. It is through your input, prayers, and God’s guidance that we will do God's work at Annual Conference.

You will be able to follow the actions of Annual Conference as it happens via the Conference website, YouTube, and Facebook page. There is much more to Annual Conference than the legislative sessions; worship, fellowship, information booths on a myriad of topics, seeing old friends, and making new friends. A round-up of each day's activities will be published in Newsletter form the following day on the web sight and Facebook page as well. At a time to be determined after the Annual Conference there will be a time set aside to present a report to the congregation from those of us that attended. Peace be with you,

Your lay leader,

Timothy Locker, Sr.




Greetings from your Lay Leader. Lent is now behind us, and our journey continues on as Easter people. Thank you to all who gave me input for my last correspondence. It really helps to hear from you about your feelings of what is happening or not happening in and around our church. In our meeting in March, Pastor Daniel and I discussed your comments and determined to continue working on discussing the work of building relationships within our congregation as well as with the greater community.


That in mind, first a shout out and “praise the Lord!” for all the “small groups” already gathering and working at building stronger and deeper relationships in and around our church. Besides the required formal Leadership and Finance Team, we have two active Bible study groups, Tuesday’s “In Stitches Group”, Wednesday’s “KIDZ KLUB”, Women’s Group, Handbell Ensemble, Missions Team, an informal after worship Coffee Hour discussion group, the Memorial Garden group, and the “Do-Crew” (aka Trustees). If there are other groups not mentioned, please let me know so they can be recognized. Our church building is also used for several outside groups and activities that provide assistance and support for the greater community, but more on that at a later time.


There is another group, once very active in our church, that seems to have languished and fallen by the wayside. I’m thinking specifically that an active Men’s Group meeting in our church would be an added blessing not only to the congregation but to the community at large. I’ll be talking to the men in our church about such a group, but would like input from anyone and everyone on this endeavor. It is my prayer that before the end of this year we can again celebrate a group of men from this congregation dedicated and working to do God’s will in this world.

Relationships not only need to be developed, strengthened, and deepened in this congregation, but also across our denomination. In light of that I will also endeavor to establish a group of Lay Leaders from across our District starting with the UMC churches of Osceola and Mecosta counties. By doing so, an information and planning network can be established among those churches to better facilitate inter-congregational activities and the ability to share news and ideas. Progress reports of this project will be forthcoming in future articles of The Lay Leader’s Corner.


Every journey begins with one step and continues one step at a time. Building our relationship with God, with each other, and with those we are yet to meet is another step we take “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World”.


Yours in Christ, and peace be with you,

Timothy Locker, Sr., your Lay Leader


Greetings from the Lay Leader’s Corner. Since the last newsletter, my service to the Big Rapids Parish has come to an end. Dedicated lay speakers in the Parish have come forward to fill the role I have been filling, and I can direct my attention to the needs of the Reed City UMC. Praise the Lord!


Pastor Daniel and I have agreed to meet regularly, at least once a month, to discuss the state of the church and needed ministries. At our last meeting, relationship building was the main subject of our discussion. It is through our relationships with others that our faith in Jesus Christ was first formed, strengthened, and then passed on to others.


As anyone knows, relationships take time, patience, understanding, and love. Jesus described the church as a body in which each part is important but that no one member can do it all. We all need each other. He prayed that we “may be one” (John 17:11). In a spiritual context, “being one” refers to our interconnectedness, not our sameness. I relate this to the experience of being in small groups, at Coffee Fellowship after Sunday service and at Bible study, in which those in the group exchange views, examples, feelings, and beliefs involved in our individual faith journeys. Through these exchanges we not only strengthen and grow our relationships with each other and Christ, but also have realized, though we have different views, examples, feelings, and beliefs, we are connected through our faith in Christ and are in the body of Christ, the church.


To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world we must develop relationships with those who are not yet disciples of Jesus Christ. For many of us that may seem like a daunting task, one for which we feel inadequate. It seems to me that the best place to start to develop the relationship building skills we need to make disciples of Jesus Christ is with people with whom we already have relationships. Those of us in the small groups mentioned have, for the most part, known each other for many years. Yet, after several weeks or months of discussion and sharing we came to the realization of how much deeper our relationships had grown because of our time together. We learned patience, that is, to really listen to what each person was trying to express so as to have a better understanding of where they were on their faith journey. We also found that Christian love grows more than we could have imagined within that experience.


As important, necessary, and vital it is to participate in Sunday worship, we need more than just that to “be one”. One example is participating in a small group, formal or informal, in which relationships can grow deeper and stronger, which is key to developing the skills we will need to make disciples of Jesus Christ. You are invited to join or start a small group for Bible study and/or discussion of your faith journey. Please contact me or Pastor Daniel as we can be of assistance to you in that endeavor.


Yours in Christ, peace be with you.


Your Lay Leader,

Timothy Locker, Sr.


Greetings and thanks to all who have welcomed me back from my service to the Big Rapids Parish churches. My stint there is not yet completed, but I will only be gone from RCUMC just one Sunday a month until the end of June, when those churches will have completed a transition to a new form of pastoral care. As your “Lay Leader” I return with more knowledge and insight than I could have imagined six or seven months ago. Serving the Lord tends to have that effect.

When first serving the Big Rapids Parish I asked to meet with the Lay Leader from each church. I was met with the question; “What is a ‘Lay Leader?’”. For whatever reason, the Parish churches didn’t realize they were required, by the Book of Discipline to elect a “Lay leader” at their annual charge conferences. After explaining what a Lay Leader’s responsibilities are, each church quickly determined the individual who had, for the most part, been fulfilling that role in each church. God always provides, even when we are not aware. Those churches now have “elected” Lay Leaders.

That being said, some of you may be asking the same question; “What is a “Lay Leader”?”. This article aims to help answer that. Also, this is an invitation for anyone, with questions about lay leadership not answered by this article, to engage me in conversation about your questions.

To start, the following is a paraphrase of paragraph 251 from the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (2012 edition, the latest edition I had on hand).

1. Out of the professing membership of each local church, there shall be elected by the charge conference a lay leader who shall function as the primary lay representative of the laity in that local church and shall have the following responsibilities:

a) foster awareness of the role of laity both within the congregation and through their ministries outside the confines of the congregation.

b) meeting regularly with the pastor to discuss the state of the church and needed ministries.

c) membership in the charge conference and the church council (leadership team), finance team, nominations/leadership development team, PPR/SPR team, where, along with the pastor, the lay leader shall serve as an interpreter of the actions and programs of the annual conference and the general Church.

d) continuing involvement in study and training opportunities to develop a growing understanding of the Church’s reason for existence and mission.

e) assisting in advising the church council (LT) of opportunities available and the needs expressed for a more effective ministry of the church through its laity in the community.

f) informing the laity of training opportunities provided by the annual conference. Where possible, the lay leader shall attend training opportunities and is urged to become a certified lay servant.

After reviewing the Book of Discipline, my experiences as lay leader of this congregation, and my District Superintendent Assignment working with other congregations, I am determined to improve as your lay leader through better communication and service to this congregation and the community at large. I pray that through continued correspondence such as this newsletter article, conversations with you, further study, prayer, and God’s guidance, will lead me to better service to this congregation and fulfillment of God’s plan.

Peace be with you.

Your lay leader,

Timothy Locker, Sr.

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