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Needs of laity addressed at LifeWay pilot program


GREEN LAKE, Wis. (BP)–Spiritual leadership is not an option for believers.

That was the premise behind a pilot conference, the [email protected] Church Leadership Development event, June 25-29, at Green Lake Conference Center.

“We want to give the laity training in how to be spiritual leaders,” said Tom McMinn, ministry events specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Our desire is for them to see that they are leaders-everyone from the Sunday school teacher to the pastor to the choir director to the greeter. All are in positions of leadership at the church. We want to address that.”

McMinn said LifeWay had not conducted a conference like [email protected] before.

“Instead of the event being driven by the program [such as Sunday school or discipleship], the event is addressing the needs of the laity who are in leadership positions in their churches.”

Groups were divided into 15 clusters, with each cluster relating to a particular group of people in leadership positions in the church. Clusters included age groups, culture groups and state and associational leaders.

“One reason we decided to do the pilot event for this [email protected] event here in Green Lake was because so many of the people in churches in this area of the country work in several different jobs in their churches,” McMinn said. “A Sunday school worker is more than likely also a leader in a choir or a leader in discipleship. This conference is designed to meet those needs.”

McMinn said the idea for [email protected] had been talked about for about two years. “We got to start from scratch with this event. We asked ourselves, ‘What kind of event can we have that is totally different?’ And we got to do it.”

Edwin Jenkins, leadership development and church growth consultant for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, was the featured speaker for the week. He also wrote the materials that were used in the cluster groups.

“Ed is head of a leadership center. He is recognized not only for his leadership skills, but for his experience and passion in leadership training,” McMinn said.

Frank Lewis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., served as preacher.

“Frank worked with us closely in his sermon preparation. We not only gave him the sermon topics but even gave him specific Scriptures to use that would go along with Ed’s messages,” McMinn said.

Gene Mims, president of the LifeWay church resources division, told the group “I’m thrilled that LifeWay serves in partnership with the churches. LifeWay only exists at the mercy and pleasure of the churches. We get no money from the Southern Baptist Convention, so we only can exist and stay in business because the churches like what we provide.”

He asked people to continue to stay in touch with LifeWay by sending cards, letters, faxes, e-mails and phone calls.

“The way we know we’re on track is by hearing from you. We want to hear when you think we are doing something well. We also want to hear when you think we aren’t doing so well.”

LifeWay, he said, wants to keep raising the standards of the resources produced and, thus, raising the standards of the people who use those resources. “God has not called us to lower any standards. God wants us to help people reach their fullest capacity.”

Almost 500 people from 16 states attended the conference sponsored by LifeWay’s Church Resources Division.
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(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: EXCHANGING IDEAS, SEEKING THE FATHER and SEARCHING FOR MATERIALS.

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  • Polly House