Developing our Faith:
Lay Methodists have a long and distinguished tradition of serving. In 1769, the Leeds Conference followed John Wesley’s guidance and officially commissioned lay workers Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore to provide support for the growing Methodist movement in America. In late October of that year, they arrived in Philadelphia and began their ministries. When the early circuit riders would leave to attend to other churches on their charge, these laity would be left to handles things on their own. Members of the congregation would fill the pulpit when the pastor was elsewhere. The position was known as an exhorter (although sometimes the term exhorter was used synonymously with the term local pastor). These lay servants of Christ continue to minister with and to groups of Methodist Christians in many ways.
In 1997 the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference officially adopted the name, Christ Servant Ministry to describe these lay servants. The Christ Servant Ministries’ program is responsible for providing opportunities that promote serving, training, and recognition of laity who lead, speak and care about others. The EPA is unique in the United Methodist Church in the commissioning of Christ Servant Ministers. These lay workers serve God in, through, and with, congregations in a multitude of functions. They don’t just fill in on Sundays when the pastor is on vacation; but provide trained leadership wherever God calls.
A Christ Servant Minister is ..
- An active, supportive member of a United Methodist congregation,
- Eager to serve through the church,
- Well-informed on Scripture, and on the doctrine, heritage, and the life of the United Methodist Church,
- Committed to witnessing through church and community leadership, caregiving ministries, and spoken communication, and
- Willing to improve his or her skills by training for service.
Interested in Learning More?
Visit the official Christ Servant Ministries web page.