¶ 1117. Ministry of the Laity-The board shall interpret and spread through the Church all the rich meanings of the universal priesthood of believers, of Christian vocation, and of the ministry of the laity in daily life.
The United Methodist Church has the responsibility of training and enabling the laos-the whole body of its membership-to enter into mission and to minister and witness in the name of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. Although all units of the Church have some responsibility for this imperative, the General Board of Discipleship has a preeminent responsibility in that it is charged with developing discipleship. To this end, the board shall:
1. Help develop an adequate understanding of the theological and biblical basis for ministry of the laity.
2. Develop and interpret ministry of the laity both inside and outside the institutional Church.
3. Provide resources and support services for the development and improvement of leadership in the local church, except as specifically delegated to other agencies, and especially for those persons who serve as members of charge conferences, church councils, councils on ministries, committees on pastor-parish relations, personnel committees, committees on lay leadership, those who serve as lay leaders, lay members of annual conferences, and leaders of related organizations in local churches, districts, annual conferences, and jurisdictions.
4. Assist congregations, districts, and annual conferences in equipping persons for leadership in community ministries.
5. Provide resources and suggested plans for the observance of Laity Sunday in the local church.
6. Provide support to conference and district directors of Lay Speaking Ministries, to conference and district committees on Lay Speaking Ministries, and to the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries. In consultation with the conference directors, set standards for local church, certified lay speakers, and certified lay ministers and provide teaching resources for use by annual conference and district committees.
7. Provide support services to conference and district lay leaders and conference and district boards of laity or equivalent structures, to the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders, and to other appropriate associations and conference and district officers and agencies.
8. Initiate a process of coordination and collaboration in developing a comprehensive approach to leadership development and training within all program areas for which the General Board of Discipleship has responsibility.
9. Encourage ordained elders to select and train laity to distribute the consecrated Communion elements as soon as feasible to sick or homebound persons following a service of Word and Table. This distribution also may apply to laypersons who have been assigned pastoral roles in a church or in more than one church by the district superintendent.