Once again, our Bi-District staff deserves a well-earned shout-out for another superb Bi-District Training Day – Great Job Y’All!! We are truly blessed to have such a fantastic training opportunity offered to us each year – spiritual worship, dynamic keynote speaker, 40+ workshops, networking galore, and the ability to download material.

Gene Cross (Arlington District Lay Leader) and I were asked to facilitate a lunch-time roundtable for lay leaders. However, as Gene and I were preparing for the event, we quickly realized that our focus would probably be less on the lay leader position and more on lay leadership; and how do we address the concerns of our local churches as we approach the Special Session of General Conference 2019 next month. So we planned on asking two leading questions – “How can we best communicate from the districts to the local churches?” and “What would you like to know about?” We also went eco-friendly on our handouts – only three pages (front and back) – Characteristics of Effective Lay Leadership, Bishop Lewis’ Dec. 11th letter to the Virginia Conference, and an Info Sheet (with websites) on the Called General Conference Session.

What ensued was a fruitful discussion (listening, sharing, recommending, dialoguing, prioritizing, planning, etc.) as we explored the ways to communicate (so many); the duties of a lay leader (depends on the church and pastor); effective lay leadership (also situationally dependent); and what to say about the Called General Conference Session (be a non-anxious presence, lean away from fear and lean on God, and lean away from uncertainty and lean into the mission of your local church). What a model for our local church meetings and/or discussions – Is it a one-way flow? Is one person or group hijacking the conversation? Are we open to hearing all sides of the conversation?

Whatever happens next month, remember to attend our Bi-District follow-up events:
March 13 @ Herndon UMC – “What Just Happened” (laity in the evening)  (registration coming soon!)
March 21 @ Annandale UMC – “Leading into Uncharted Territory” with Tod Bolsinger, author of “Canoeing the Mountains”
May 18 @ TBD – Bishop Lewis’ Chat & Chew 3.0 (Alexandria, Arlington, Rappahannock River, and Richmond districts)

John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader