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Everyone's a Planter: Lay Planter Training

January 25, 2021

UPDATED date for Free orientation meeting is March 13; course begins March 20 continuing through June 17

Submitted by the Rev. Jeff Rainwater
Superintendent of Congregational and Community Vitality
Mountain Sky Conference

"You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [Y]ou are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God's own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light." (1 Peter 2:5,9)

Who among us doesn't like to take in the beauty of a spring garden blooming to new life after a hard, long winter? Many of us don't just want to see a garden. We want to plant one  to plot out where the tomatoes and beans will go, buy the seeds, and get our hands deep into the fertile soil. I believe that the instinct to plant something new goes beyond the garden. It's a needed instinct within our churches and communities. So I am inviting you, the laity in the Mountain Sky Conference, to consider how you can become a new ministry planter. Maybe that new thing is a ministry within your congregation, or perhaps it is even an emerging faith community. Join us on March 13, 10 a.m., for an orientation about 'Everyone's A Planter: Lay Planter Training" offered by Path1 and Discipleship Ministries for the Mountain Sky Conference.

It has felt like a long, hard winter for our church. Many of our congregations are experiencing decline, our denomination division, our world distress. So, now is the perfect time to begin plans to plant something new -- a new ministry to reach new people in our communities and bless them with the love of Christ Jesus. After all, only the amateur gardener waits for the warm days of Spring to begin their work. Have you dreamed of ways to expand opportunities for people to engage in faith-building activities? We offer you tools to help with creating new ministries. Laity as well as clergy can be empowered to grow new faith communities within our conference as we reclaim our commitment to the priesthood of all believers. Several of our congregations have devoted, spiritually-minded lay persons currently serving as their pastoral leaders, while many others have laity leading their churches in other ways. We are reminded of the roots of the Methodist movement, where many laity and a handful of clergy planted Methodist societies across England and the United States of America.

"Everyone's A Planter: Lay Planter Training" is a self-paced online course where participants watch videos, read short articles, respond to questions, and enter into a learning dialog with each other and with a moderator -- someone with planting experience chosen as a guide and mentor to respond to questions, invite participants to consider more profound questions, and help with creating a ministry plan for the new ministry or new faith community being dreamed. Participants are expected to:

  • participate in the FREE orientation on March 13 to learn more about the training program,
  • pay $100 registration fee to begin the course (the conference will reimburse half upon completion of the training),
  • complete the online lessons and discussion between March 20 and June 19,
  • meet at least twice with your cohort and mentor, and
  • via Zoom, briefly present a ministry plan at the end of the course, on June 19.

Are you interested in learning more about the course? Register for the FREE orientation on March 13, 10 a.m. Do you have questions you want to be addressed before March 13? Please email your questions to vitality@mtnskyumc.org, and we will try to respond promptly. Let's plant something new for God's world and God's church together.