As a Lay Speaker/Servant/Leader, you may find yourself leading prayer in worship services as well as in other settings. Since people learn to pray by listening to others, the prayers they hear in church and Sunday school have a large influence on their own prayer lives! It is vital, then, that you are knowledgeable and lead well. Never fear – prayer is something we learn, and it can be taught!
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 prayer. The primary objective for this course is to enable the Lay Speaker to effectively prepare and lead various prayer forms, primarily in worship settings.
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. The book is not included in the course fee. 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. You will also need access to a United Methodist hymnal during the course.
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 “prayer” class required for Lay Speaker certification. One (1) CEU for clergy and staff is also available.
This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU.
Blackboard will be closing at Noon CST on December 20th, so students will need to make sure all work for this course is completed and submitted by that time.
About the Instructor
Rev. John Zimmerman grew up in the rural community of Stoystown, Pennsylvania which is a few miles from the terrorist crash site of USAir flight 93 on September 11, 2001. He heard the call into ministry just after graduation from high school and attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree and obtained his master’s degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Pastor John served 28 years in pastoral ministry in local church settings. He has always recognized the spiritual gifts of preaching, healing, and evangelism in his Christian life. God has allowed these gifts to be used in a variety of local church settings which include rural, suburban and city.
In 2013 Pastor John left local church pastoral ministry and is appointed as General Evangelist in the United Methodist Church. He launched his current ministry as the founding director of About Face Church Outreach Consultants. He offers a consultant model of ministry with local churches around the country to engage in long-term relationships within the context of the local church mission field. He and his wife help churches move into this new paradigm of ministry that reflects more fully the New Testament Church. His evangelistic work has been recognized and honored as a recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award by the Foundation for Evangelism.
He enjoys hunting, camping and opportunities to enjoy his family. His wife, Christine, also serves full time with John in the consultant ministry. Her interests include camping, traveling and crafts. The Zimmermans are blessed with four wonderful boys.
Past Students Said…
“What made the course most effective was the combination of approaches to the class topic. We were provided an on-line text, a practical exercise to pray publicly with feedback from our pastor, we submitted exercises from our text, we regularly submitted example prayers, we critiqued the prayers of one another, we received feedback on our prayers, we discussed a blog post from an outside source and were able to discuss daily with each other all the above topics. This variety of activity kept the class interesting. Rev. Zimmerman’s comments were always helpful and on target. A+”
“Without a doubt, this was the best Lay Servant / Lay Speaking class I have ever taken!! Taking the course over the two weeks gave me a chance to fully get into the material and learn to apply and practice the principles of the material in my life.”
“I liked the workshop probably because I so badly needed it. It was the first time I ever approached public prayer analytically. The ideas learned were, to me, meaningful and practical. When I first began to read about the steps of a collect, I thought “here we go – someone’s forced analysis”. But then it made sense!”
“I enjoyed this workshop immensely. I was able to identify my stumbling blocks, and this workshop gave me solutions and creative ideas to conquer where I trip up.”
“Pastor John was supportive in each assignment and was prompt to make comments to us. He was prompt in posting announcements and assignments and it is clear that he loves sharing the gift of God and helping others learn better how to reach out and share God’s love with others. I enjoyed the videos that he recommended on “How to Give an Altar Call” and “Stake a Claim”. A great deal of information and encouragement with techniques to be effective and supportive disciple making disciples for Christ.”
“The open discussion was very nice and surprising. I felt like I was included and listened to although I was not present physically. I think the Instructor did good moderating and clarifying and adding to out comments to help us learn from each other, him and the book. Instructor was great.”
“I really appreciated the pace of the course. Too often with the live lay servant school courses I’ve taken, I find myself “cramming” the night before the next class meeting. The daily accountability and check-in via the discussion board made the material much easier to absorb and digest. I also feel that the discussions with fellow students via the discussion board allowed for more in depth and meaningful interaction than time allows at a live course.”
“I learned the types and variety of prayers, and how to construct prayer that is neutral, one without bias and is considerate of a broader audience (thank you for that).”