Lay Servant Ministries

Online Courses from BeADisciple.com

Be A Disciple
Check with your District Director of LSM before registering for an online course to determine if that course is accepted for credit in the North Texas Conference.

Several times a year, BeADisciple.com hosts online courses which have been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as an advanced course in Lay Speaking/Lay Servant Ministries. These are designated by the GBOD logo “Learning and Leading.” To register for any of these courses, go to www.BeADisciple.com. Please provide documentation of completed online courses to your District Lay Speaking/Lay Servant Ministries Director.

Access to all BeADisciple.com courses begins at noon Central Time of the publicized start day. You will receive an email containing web location and login information that morning, so please be sure to add the email address BeADisciple@sckans.edu to your list of approved senders. If you have questions about how online workshops work, please check the FAQs page at BeADisciple.com.


Afire With God: Becoming Spirited Stewards — Look for this at a later date. — $70

Stewardship feels like a dirty word in most churches. Pastors preach about it knowing they must while members sit uncomfortably through the “it’s-that-time-again” sermons and other appeals. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Stewardship really means that we are taking good care of our ministries and physical property.

This class challenges you to become stewards-in-action in all God has entrusted to us. We will go beyond thinking in terms of ‘dollars contributed’ to see stewardship as becoming living examples of the gospel. If we take stewardship seriously – and joyfully – it won’t be just another addition to the same old programs we’ve been doing in our congregations. It will change our thinking, acting and imagining. And it will change our vision of ministry, working from the inside out. The required textbook is Afire With God: Becoming Spirited Stewards by Betsy Schwarzentraub and should be obtained in advance of the course.


Biblical Storytelling I — April 2-14, 2018 — $65

Learning the sacred stories of Scripture by heart and sharing them with others is both an ancient-future art and a powerful spiritual practice. This workshop’s methods, developed by the Network of Biblical Storytellers International, are for everyone who wishes to learn, to tell and to connect with God and other people through sacred story – yes, you can do it too! By the end of the two-week workshop you will be able to share at least one text with others by heart, and you will understand how this completely non-technological art fits into a digital-communications world. Whether you work with children in Sunday School or dream of bringing Scripture to life in worship or elsewhere, your ministry and your spirit will be enriched by this art.

This is a two-week introduction to the ancient-future art and spiritual discipline of telling the sacred stories of Scripture. Participants will learn to prepare, learn, and tell a Biblical text by heart (not “memory”) using the methods of the Network of Biblical Storytellers International. The workshop is taught by NBS member and United Methodist deacon Beth Galbreath. There is a daily assignment (except Sundays), usually involving a short document to read and online discussion. There is also online exploration and creative work. You will get your money’s worth!


Biblical Storytelling II — Look for this at a later date. — $80

This workshop expands on the methods taught in Biblical Storytelling I. It explores a number of storytelling genres as well as telling the Biblical text, including midrash, chancel drama, first-person storytelling, puppetry, and more. The workshop also offers specific ideas for learning tough passages, using and not abusing voice and body, and enhancing tellings with props, digital media and more, with children and adults. It also suggests ways to deepen your practice of this art as a personal spiritual discipline. Anyone who is already practicing the art of storytelling, Biblical or secular, is welcome; Biblical Storytelling I is an excellent starting place for those new to the art but is not required.

In this three-week workshop you will dive deeper into developing your unique storytelling “voice,” expand your technique and polish your art. Led by Network of Biblical Storytellers International Vice President Rev. Beth Galbreath. Biblical Storytelling I is not a prerequisite for Biblical Storytelling II, but previous storytelling experience is highly recommended.


Children of Abraham — February 15 – March 24, 2018 — $50

Christians, Jews, Muslims – all members of faiths that claim descent from Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, in whose family God promised “all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Five thousand years later their spiritual descendants are often trapped in mutual suspicion, misunderstanding and conflict. What can we do, as followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to encourage safety and peace in our own locations?

This class is a beginning, an opportunity to explore the mutual roots in story of the three “Abrahamic religions.” It will focus on what we have in common, how each faith’s wisdom can enrich our own, and how to begin having interfaith conversations. This 5-week pre-Advent spiritual journey into friendship finishes before Thanksgiving (instead of taking up Advent time) and is very relevant to today’s world.

Participants must obtain the book The Faith Club by Ranya Idilby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, which is not included in the course fee. There will be daily readings and opportunity for discussion several times a week but not on Saturdays and Sundays, and there is no set time to be online. This is the story of the three New Yorkers’ interfaith journey after 9/11.


Come to the Table — February 19 – March 4, 2018 — $65

Deepen your experience of Holy Communion through this wide-ranging study of This Holy Mystery, Scripture, Church history, and United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament. This course will reference, but go beyond, the official U.M. documents to include art, music, film and video resources to enrich our understanding and participation in the holy meal. The class includes help in starting a Eucharistic ministry and discussion of the unique sacramental challenges of the digital age.

Participants will need a Bible and U.M. Hymnal and, if possible, a Book of Worship; other materials will be downloaded. Class members should be prepared for daily reading, reflection and online discussion. This study is guaranteed to deepen your experience of Holy Communion, providing resources and ideas for all, both laypeople and clergy, who plan and lead worship and provide pastoral care.


Come to the Waters — March 5 – 16, 2018 — $65

Deepen your congregation’s experience of baptism, confirmation and reaffirmation of baptism through this wide-ranging study of By Water and the Spirit, Scripture, Church history, and United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament. This course will reference, but go beyond, the official United Methodist teaching document on baptism. The class considers preparation of adults for baptism and the unique challenges of the digital age.

Participants will need a Bible and a U.M. Hymnal; other materials will be downloaded. Class members should be prepared for daily reading, reflection, and online discussion. This study is guaranteed to deepen your experience of baptism, providing resources and ideas for all, both laypeople and clergy, who plan and lead worship or teach confirmation or new member classes.


Growing Spiritually Through Daily Discipline — Look for this at a later date. — $50

Do you want to grow in your faith journey? Do you want to help others grow in their faith journey?

This seven-week course uses the texts LaySpeakers Grow Spiritually Through Daily Discipline and Devotional Life in Wesleyan Tradition (Steve Harper).

Participants will be guided in discerning God’s direction for their lives, practicing daily disciplines, and reaching out in love. Participants will participate in weekly class discussions based on their readings and will also experience an online small accountability group. The course will be led by Debra Dickerson. Participants are responsible for getting their own texts prior to the start of the workshop. Participants will be expected to be actively involved in the classroom (online) a minimum of three times per week. The accountability group assignments will be divided by gender unless there are not enough enrolled to make a group.


Leading Bible Study (NEW) — February 12 – 23, 2018 — $65

In this Advanced Lay Servant course, participants will gain an understanding of biblical interpretation and why it is important, develop skills in interpreting the Bible message, practice biblical interpretation in a group setting, and explore the use of relevant study resources.

The course will use the book Biblical Interpretation: A Roadmap*, which asks key questions about scripture, readers of the Bible, and how those two interact. It covers both the interpretation method and gives examples of its application.

Participants will work through private journals, discussion board questions, and video lectures to cover the ten contact hours of engagement with the course leader, and will have many opportunities to connect with and learn from each other. If you have any questions, please email the course leader.

* PLEASE NOTE: The required book for this course is a 235-page college-level textbook. The course leader strongly recommends participants purchase and read the book in advance in order to have a more enjoyable course experience. If your current schedule doesn’t allow you to read the book in advance, please register for a future offering of the course.


Leading Public Prayer — February 5 – 16, 2018 — $70

This course meets one of the new requirements for Lay Speakers.

Prayer is something we learn; it is something that can be taught. For many, however, the only teaching about prayer they ever receive is modeled in Sunday worship.

As a Lay Speaker, you may find yourself the one leading prayer in worship services, as well as in other settings. It is vital then that you are knowledgeable and lead well. This course may challenge some of your assumptions, test some of your preconceived ideas, stretch your thinking, and enrich your prayer life. It will, at the very least, present you with an opportunity to grow in the discipline of leading public prayer.

This course follows the required text, Let the Whole Church Say Amen! by Laurence Hull Stookey (Abingdon Press, 2001). Each participant will need a copy of this workbook and should obtain it well before class begins. You will be expected to access the online workshop daily and stay current with the assignments. Therefore, obtain, read, and complete the workbook prior to the start of the course for better time management when the course begins.


Leading Worship — Look for this at a later date. — $85

Would you like to prepare to do “pulpit supply” or lead worship with your pastor? This course will focus on basic understandings of worship, gaining skills for Lay Servants planning and leading worship, and fulfill requirements for Lay Speaker Certification. Particular emphasis will be given to students’ role in relation to other leaders and the congregation.

We will explore the history and practice of Christian liturgy and worship leadership, the task of planning worship, and various settings and approaches where Lay Servants and Certified Lay Speakers may lead worship. In addition, we will also explore the work of reading Scripture, leading prayer, distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper, and the basic dos and don’ts of effective worship leadership.

All students are expected to have or have access to The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) and The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992). All other course materials are included as downloads in the course.

Note: Be aware that this course has daily assignments and there is an expectation of daily online group participation. Students should expect to spend a minimum of an hour a day on weekdays.

This class has been approved by Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship) as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries, and is the “worship” class required for Lay Speaker certification.


Life Together in the United Methodist Connection — February 26 – March 17, 2018 — $70

Why does the United Methodist Church do things the way it does? Why is our pastor being reassigned? Why don’t we get to vote on our new pastor? How do we get things done, like renovating our building or starting a new ministry? What are the rules and why are they the rules? And what does any of this have to do with trying to be a place and a people that embody the Kingdom of God?

Both laypeople and clergy are often confused, and even frustrated, by those questions and more. This class will help newcomers to the U.M.C. get their bearings and long-time members consider the specific structural challenges the church faces in the 21st Century.

Participants must have the textbook, Polity, Practice and the Mission of the United Methodist Church (2006 edition) by Thomas Edward Frank, and the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline. Participants should be prepared to read assignments and post their reflections on the discussion boards daily, but there is no set time to be online. (Getting and reading the book before the class starts, if possible, will make the class more relaxed and fun.)


Living Our United Methodist Beliefs — February 5 – 23, 2018 — $70

This course meets one of the requirements for Lay Speakers.

The history, heritage, beliefs, mission and culture of the United Methodist Church for anyone who wants to know what’s distinctive about being a United Methodist Christian. We’ll explore the special gifts of theology, witness and organization that the United Methodist Church brings to the Church universal, how we got where we are today and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st Century church.

This class is one of the core Lay Servant Ministries classes, but everyone is welcome! Participants must have the book, “Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way” by Bishop Kenneth Carder. Other materials will be downloaded. Participants should be prepared to read assignments and post their reflections on the discussion boards daily, but there is no set time to be online.(Getting and reading the book before the class starts, if possible, will make the class more relaxed and fun.)


Multimedia Technology in Worship for the Church Volunteer 101 — Look for this at a later date. — $75

The use of multimedia technology in worship is growing at an exponential rate. Congregations of all sizes are acknowledging the gift of media technology; however very few have access to formal training.

Rev. John Zimmerman brings his 25 years of pastoral ministry and his gift of implementing multimedia technology in worship to this seminar. Students will be introduced to the hardware and software in worship technology and discover their ability to plan, create and implement technology in a worship setting. The workshop will also help the student learn about worship itself and the role of technology in design, appropriateness and excellence. Special consideration will be given to budget and a low-cost approach to technology implementation.

This workshop is designed for the church volunteer or pastor who would classify themselves as “beginners” in multimedia experience. (Please note that since the workshop utilizes some software that is Windows-based, MAC users may find some limitations.)

The course content will include:

  • Intro to Worship Theory
  • Vision-casting, resources, structure
  • Budget
  • Projectors, computers, sound
  • Multimedia graphic resources
  • Worship presentation software

Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts — Look for this at a later date. — $70

This course has been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries. In addition, this course meets one of the requirements for Lay Speakers.

Lay Speakers, Lay Servants, and all participants in the Body of Christ depend on the spiritual gifts God has given them. Those gifts differ but they provide the foundation for whatever ministry we do. Learn more about your spiritual gifts – and how to help your congregation learn more about their spiritual gifts – in this two-week workshop. This workshop has been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries.

Participants will interact (including online discussions, watching videos, and real-time group sessions) throughout the two weeks in order to earn their 10 contact hours. PLEASE NOTE: Participants must post on at least three weekdays each week. If you are not able to post on at least three weekdays each week, please wait until the next workshop when your schedule will permit full participation.

Participants are also expected to read the Discipleship Resources book, Each One a Minister, by William J. Carter, and Spirit Gifts, by Patricia Brown. It is highly recommended that you acquire and read the books before the online course begins. This will help with time-management. The book is not included in the course fee; it must be ordered separately.


Teach Adults — January 23 – February 12, 2018 — $65

This course has been approved by Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship) as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries.

If you’ve ever wanted to improve your ability to guide adult learners through their faith development, this two-week interactive course is the way to do it! Learn about Multiple Intelligences, Adult Faith Development, Learning Hooks, and more! Students will need the book Start Here, by Barbara Bruce, and should read it before the course begins.

In the first week, participants will look at the context and setting of teaching — elements like the Role of the Teacher, Influential Factors, etc. In the second week, participants will explore the process of teaching (elements like Teaching Methods, Creating a Teaching Session Plan, etc.) and write their own Mission Statement for teaching.


Your Ministry of Leading Worship 101 — November 6 – December 8, 2017 — $85*

* $10 refund given to each if two or more members of the same congregation enroll together. To receive the refund, the members must enroll at full price then one will need to email Lisa Buffum to request the refund.

This course has been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries. In addition, this course meets one of the requirements for Lay Speakers.

Do you read Scripture or lead the people in prayers on Sunday morning?
Would you like to sharpen your skills for the way you communicate at the lectern?

Leading Worship 101 will focus on basic worship leadership skills for lay persons (“liturgists” or “lay readers”) who assist the pastor in leading Christian worship. If you currently help lead worship in your congregation or would like to prepare for such leadership, this course is for you. Particular emphasis will be given to basic skills: understanding your leadership role in relation to other leaders and the congregation, reading Scripture, leading prayer, distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper, and basic do’s and don’ts of effective worship leadership. Deacons, elders/presbyters, and lay worship leader coordinators are also welcome, particularly with an eye to doing local training and providing support to lay readers/assisting ministers in their local church settings.

The course is offered by Daniel Benedict. This course is intensive. There will be daily assignments (Monday-Friday) for reading and for course interaction. Participants should plan on spending at least an hour a day. There will be a week of break during the course to allow for catch up and rest.


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