Organizing A Laymens Movement In Your Church
Why Have A Laymens Group
The distinctive characteristic of all groups is the element of productivity in achieving a desired goal. This is the most readily identifiable need in the group. Most social systems have some task confronting them and exist primarily to carry out the task. Generally, it is that task which gives the group its reason for being. The laymen in the church have the task of taking whatever action is necessary and effective to strengthen the church and strengthen brotherhood in relationships in the church, community and in economic and social programs.
Often people get so involved in the job that they neglect the other levels of need also operating in the group.
A second level of need, often hard to identify, is the relationships or maintenance need of the group. As members work at a task, they are constantly interacting with one another and changing their relationships both positively and negatively. If the task is ever to be accomplished and cohesiveness achieved, the group needs to build and maintain positive relationship between members. Christian men should keep their hearts pure and minds clean of thoughts in order to maintain and meet individual needs of their brothers in Christ.
A third level of need is personal or individual. Every person who enters a group brings with him specific needs, which arise out of his own previous background, history and experiences. These needs may often be hidden for a long time below the surface and may emerge in the form of unexpected heel dragging or blocking related to the task.
The mature group is one that considers all three levels of need and endeavors to offer satisfaction at each level. The contributions of laymen to the program of the Church can be made most effective through organizing men to combine their individual efforts and needs to achieve desired outcomes for oneself or for the group to which one belongs. The Laymens Movement is a vehicle through which laymen make their best and most effective contribution to the life of their church and the fulfillment of its purpose
Steps In Organizing A Laymens Movement
The following developmental steps should be taken in getting support from the local congregation:
Structuring Your Organization
The following organizational chart is recommended as the most effective way to involve the greatest amount of men. The structure can be varied depending on the size of the group.
The duties and responsibilities of the official staff of the movement are as follows:
President: The President of a local movement has the major responsibility of guiding and promoting a well balance program of worship, study, entertainment and workable church and community projects. He must work closely with the pastor. He should be active in local, district, state and national lay work. He should establish goals and objectives both spiritual and numerical for the group. He presides at all regular meetings as well as the Executive Committee meetings.
Membership Vice-President: The Membership Vice-President is responsible for gaining the membership of un-enlisted laymen for service to the church through the movement. He should maintain an awareness of new men who join the church to see that they are invited early to become members of the movement. It is also his responsibility to inspire the members of the movement to be consistent and punctual in their attendance at meetings. He should provide the leadership for instituting membership drives and other motivating techniques for inspiring men to become a part of the movement.
Program Vice-President: The Program Vice-President is responsible for providing the local movement with interesting and viable programs that meet the needs of its State, District and community. He should be aware of church and community needs and National Convention goals and objectives. He must assist the leadership in planning and implementing programs to meet the needs that have been established. He must be aware of the financial needs of the local movement and plan activities to raise funds.
Social Vice-President: The Social Vice-President is responsible for planning all social activities and presides in absence of Program Vice-President. He must be sensitive to the various age groups, the married and unmarried laymen and provide innovative Christian fellowship activities of interest to all.
Secretary-Treasurer: These two offices may be combined in one person, although it is preferable to have one person for each job. The Secretary is responsible for preparing and replying to correspondence and keeping the minutes of the local movement and Executive committee. The Treasurer maintains records of all receipts and expenditures as well as all disbursements and reports all money to the church.
Area of Work Committees: The Movements purpose and objectives are carried on through Area of Work Committees consisting of a chairman and a small group of team workers made up of three to nine members. The number of workers should be determined by the scope or function of the committee. Areas of Work include:
1. Personal Faith and Christian Living: The purpose of this committee is to promote the cultivation of the spiritual life and Christian living of the members of the movement through private and corporate prayer, daily bible reading and study, reading of other Christian and devotional literature, church attendance and worship, family and personal Christian services. In this committee should be organized a permanent sub-committee on worship, which is charge with the responsibility of leading the devotional service at each meeting of the movement and urging the members to attend the service of worship of the church regularly.
2. The Local Church and Its Administration: The purpose of this committee is to promote a more definite and intelligent understanding of the purpose, message and program of the Church through the local congregation; to enlighten the members of the organization in regard to the doctrines, policy and practices of the local congregation; to guide them in an understanding and appreciation of their duties, obligations and privileges of church membership; to promote intelligent denominational loyalty and full support of the financial program of the church, both locally denominationally.
3. Missions and Evangelism: The purpose of this committee is to be responsible for planning the evangelistic and outreach efforts of the movement. This can be comprised of helping and assisting those in the church and community. The committee and the movement should solicit the support of the entire church in these efforts.
4. Boys Work: The purpose of this committee is to provide, implement and promote through financial support a total program for the boys under the care of the local church; to win them for God in Christ and his church and to guide them in their growth toward Christian manhood and continuous active service in the movements works; to encourage the members of the movement to become friends, motivators and role models to them; and to include boys in meaningful activities of the organization through which they may acquire and maintain a sense of significance as a viable part of the organized manpower of the local church. This committee will be expected to prepare programs for at least two of the general meetings of the movement during the year and arrange for the inclusion of some boys in them.
5. Christian Social Service and Action: The purpose of this work committee is to enlist the members of the organization in the relief of mental and physical illness, poverty, the dependency of children, the aged, the delinquency of youth, human suffering and want, intolerance and racial strife, to promote the removal of the causes of these conditions and to inspire and encourage the movement to take an active part in the support of community service organizations.
The chairman of these Areas of Work should have the privilege of requesting certain men in the movement for membership on their committee in cooperation with the local president. Requests should be made, however, out of the knowledge that the men requested have a special interest in the area they will be expected to serve. Some men may have a preference for a certain area and it should be incumbent on them to state that preference.
The major point to remember in developing an effective Laymens Movement is that the organization is serving the program of the church through the Movement and not the personal desires of the members. Christian witness through the cooperative unity and endeavor will result in work that will provide positive rewards for the local congregation in your campaign to win souls for Christ and His Kingdom.
Executive Committee: The Executive committee of the movement consists of the President, Membership Vice-President, Program Vice-President, Social Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Pastor and the five Area of Work Chairmen. The committee is responsible for the general supervision of the total program and life of the organization and is responsible for providing efficient leadership and direction.
The committee shall approve any changes in policy or program. Membership approvals and recommendations are made according to its constitution or Executive Committee approval. It must also approve and schedule all programs planned by the Area Work Committees. The Executive Committee should meet once a month, at least one week before the general meeting of the organization and should confer periodically with the five Area of Work chairmen on their programs and activities.
In conclusion, the most effective organizational structure of a local laymens group will depend on variables such as size of your congregation, need and interest of the laymen in the church and available resources in terms of men. The organization pattern discussed here is adaptable to any size church.