A conference lay leader is the elected leader of conference laity and has the responsibility of fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world in achieving the mission of the Church. The conference lay leader also enables and supports lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district, and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents, and pastors.
Gayla Jo Slauson, elected in 2018 as a Mountain Sky Conference Lay Leader, lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. She and her husband, Michael, both retired from teaching Business at Colorado Mesa University, enjoy traveling to sightsee and to visit their siblings, children and grandchildren, extended family and friends. They attend Crossroads United Methodist Church.
Faith and friends have helped them to navigate first the tragic loss of a daughter and son-in-law to an auto accident in 2019, and second an operation and cancer treatments in 2020.
As a certified lay speaker, Gayla often brings the message at various churches. She also serves as an elected delegate for General and Jurisdictional Conferences 2020-2024. Her favorite hobby is reading, closely followed by writing and painting miniature canvases.
Recently Life Focus Scriptures for her include Philippians 4:8 regarding whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy as those things we are to think about (meditate on)… and from v.9 … the God of peace will be with us.
Nancy Flint, elected in 2020 as a Mountain Sky Lay Leader, lives in Columbia Falls, Montana. She is a retired public-school teacher. She and her husband, Fred, moved to Montana over forty years ago and raised their two sons. Gardening along with paddling on the lakes and tripping in the Bob Marshall Wilderness have added spice to their lives. Two active granddaughters keep them cheering as they celebrate everyday milestones.
Experiencing God’s love and new creation each day is a part of the spiritual discipline Nancy embraces. She completed the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, an Upper Room program for lay and clergy in 2015. Since then, Nancy has offered leadership for three 5 Day Spiritual Academies in the Conference.
In both the Mountain Sky Conference and local church Nancy is involved with Missions Team. She volunteered on a Disaster Recovery team to Texas in 2018. She celebrates with the Mountain Sky Conference as it continues its partnership with the East Angola Conference begun with the legacy Yellowstone Conference to support local pastors and Quessua Mission projects.
Being a lifelong learner is a value Nancy desired to instill in her students. She hopes hobbies which include travel both near and far, reading, and watercolor painting help her achieve being engaged as a learner, her personal goal.
Guiding scriptures include 1 Thessalonians:12 “May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you.” And Psalm 121: 2 “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Mountain Sky Conference has three lay leaders, with two elected from the Conference at large on the year of General Conference and one elected in the even year after General Conference. Lay leaders chair the Conference Board of Laity, serve on the Conference Roundtable, and are members of several conference-level committees and boards. Lay leaders have the responsibility for fostering awareness of the role of the laity within in the church, the community, and the world.
A Conference Lay Leader is a person who has experience in lay leadership positions within the local church and district. This person is aware of the responsibilities of the position and must be aware of the role of laity in mission and ministry within the congregation and the district and annual conference, as well as the opportunities for witness and mission through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world. The Conference Lay Leader provides direction both spiritually and procedurally to the Conference Board of Laity and Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries in cooperation with the Annual Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries.
The Conference Lay Leader is a member of the annual conference sessions, and he or she should attend the annual conference sessions. Conference Lay Leaders are responsible for planning and leading the annual conference laity sessions. Membership on other conference related committees – [including the conference roundtable, the rules committee, the episcopacy committee, annual conference arrangements committee, and others – is expected.]
An effective Conference Lay Leader works with the Conference Board of Laity to enable and support lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, districts, and local congregations in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents, and pastors of local congregations.
. . . [T]he Conference Lay Leader relates to the organized lay groups within the annual conference and supports their ministries;
. . . works with the District Lay Leaders to develop the advocacy role for laity in the life of the church and encourage and equip laity in the general ministry of the church;
. . . meets with the cabinet on matters of programming within the annual conference and meets regularly with the bishop to discuss the state of the annual conference and needs for ministry both locally and globally.
Spiritual gifts: encouragement (exhortation), leadership, wisdom, discernment, apostleship, administration, shepherding, teaching.
It is recommended that the Conference Lay Leader be a Certified Lay Servant, and he/she should have experience in leadership at the district level and/or conference level. Examples include: some experience in leadership, ability to communicate effectively, good listening skills, organizational skills, ability to share vision, set goals, and monitor progress and lead meetings.
– from Conference and District Lay Leaders Manual, pp. 23-25
(Note: Similar information can be found in Paragraph 607 of the 2016 Book of Discipline.)