Laity ‘commissioned’ to offer HOPE with hospitality

Laity Sunday, Oct. 15, follows Minister Appreciation Sunday in October. On this special Sunday we celebrate that, like clergy, laity are called to “Go and make disciples.” Indeed, they go forward together as the legs and hands, mind and heart, the very Body of Christ in a world so in need of hope and compassion.

“Therefore, Go! With HOPE through Hospitality” is the 2017 Laity Sunday theme (with “Disciples Called to Action” as the quadrennial theme).

In many churches on this Sunday, lay congregants will lead all facets of worship, including praying and preaching (while pastors get to relax). Visit the UMC Discipleship Ministries website for an article about this Laity Sunday theme and emphases, along with several helpful resources.

“We practice hospitality wherever we are, even when we are outside our home or church,” writes Jodi Cataldo (right).  Jesus modeled his Great Commission to us when he sent out a large number of disciples as emissaries, without bags or even sandals, (Luke 10), compelling them to both receive and offer hospitality among those who welcomed them. Their task was to prepare townspeople they met along the way for their master’s coming. They heard the stories of those who welcomed them, writes Cataldo, responded to their needs, healed the sick, and shared the hope of Christ by proclaiming the message that “God’s kingdom has come upon you.”

Be sure to view the special Laity Sunday Order of Worship and especially the  Preaching Notes, which end with this rousing call to action:

We are called by God and commissioned by Christ to travel north, south, east, and west of our buildings, offering hospitality and welcome in the name of Jesus Christ. We are called to offer HOPE to men, women, older people, baby boomers, millennials, and children. We are called to welcome our neighbors with open arms, gathering all into God’s beloved community—into one beautiful and diverse body of Christ.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. You have been called and commissioned! Therefore, go on your way!

NOTE: You can also find valuable Worship Ideas for Laity Sunday” offered by Kathryn Rateliff Barr on the Classroom educational resource website for people of all ages.

‘Therefore, Go!’ Share the good news

On Laity Sunday this year, we celebrate going beyond the open hearts, open minds and open doors of the church into the world.

This is our mission, to go out into the world and make disciples for the transformation of the world!  When we do, we go with the hope and expectancy of hospitality, with the hope that those we encounter will receive the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ through us.

As we take part in the Great Commission given by Christ, we go looking through the lenses of how we practice hospitality as an inward and outward sign of living out our calling.

The goal of Laity Sunday is to engage laypersons not typically involved in morning worship, to let every layperson seated in the our pews know that they are vital to our worship experience, and vital to the body of Christ. Many will celebrate by having a lay speaker bring the morning message. We pray that all will be creative and allow the Spirit to move in ways perhaps never imagined.

Suzette James
Eastern PA Conference Associate Lay Leader

One of most meaningful Laity Sundays I participated in was when the congregation dressed in their ‘work’ clothes. We had people in nurses scrubs, handyman and utility worker uniforms; several people brought clipboards, money counters, and items they use on the job. Jesus told us to go out and do good. We emphasized the need to keep yourself always in God’s ways.
Susan Grimm Mattox, West District Lay Leader