Q&A with Lyn Powell
Name: Lyn Powell
Role: Lay Delegate
Local Church: Snellville UMC
Legislative Committee: Faith and Order
Q: What did you think about this year’s laity address?
A: I thought that all three presenters had important messages. Steve Furr reminded us that we need to stay physically fit and also spiritually fit because they are holistic and can’t be separated. Amory Peck mentioned that the primary evangelistic responsibility of the church lies with the laity. That is a new idea that we recaptured from the early church. And then Betty Spiwe Katiyo used the metaphor that the laity is an orchestra and the clergy are conductors. What a wonderful way of expressing that clergy must help equip the laity to go out and do ministry.
Q: You presented the Laity Address at the 2008 General Conference. I’m sure that is a big honor and responsibility to represent the laity of our denomination. What is helpful in this process?
A: I think Amory said it well when she said that one of the many books she reads, and is currently re-reading, is How to Overcome Stage Fright
. We laity aren’t professional speakers and when we are called to speak prophetically, I think that we feel more stress and more anxiety than our professionally trained brothers and sisters. Much of our time is spent teaching ourselves how to be calm during the speaking event.
Q: This year is different because they had three lay people address the conference rather than just one speaker. How was that?
A: It is very different, and I think refreshing to have three speakers. I liked it because, with three very different perspectives, it kept it fresh and really kept our interest. Sometimes with only one person speaking, even if that person is skilled and engaging, the attention span can wander. So I think that it was a good idea.
Q: The laity address is at the beginning of General Conference. Do you think that’s intentional?
A: I do. I think we do it at the beginning to help focus our attention on why we are here. This morning, all three laity emphasized that we aren’t here to save the institutional church, but we are here to make disciples of Jesus Christ. While we do that, we should view all of our legislation through that lens of “is this piece of legislation going to make disciples of Jesus Christ?”
Q: That’s an important message.
A: Yes it is, and we need to hear that at the beginning of the conference and not halfway through or at the end. So yes, I think that our job at the laity address is to focus the delegates on the bigger questions that concern the denomination.
To read more about Lyn, please find her bio here