Glimpses of Grace & Truth...Since we talked last week about puzzle pieces, let’s take a closer look at a piece that both fills its spot and touches many other pieces. This piece, our Lay Leadership and Nominations Team, works hard to identify, secure, equip, and assist our laity in reaching their potential as leaders in Christ’s Church.

Equipping and assisting our leaders to be their very best was the reason this team worked so hard to find just the right person to help us. Karen Baetzel was just the person. Karen—a retired pilot who flew everything from choppers to jets for the US Navy—is a key member of a sister church in Shelby County, and does leadership training events like this primarily for corporate and government clients like Microsoft, Domino Sugar, NASA, AmeriCorps, the departments of Defense and State, etc. In a recent interview with Kiplinger, Karen was asked why her peers affectionately call her, “BattleAxe.” Karen said, “As I became more senior and in charge of training initiatives, my colleagues called me, with great reverence, the Old BattleAxe -- meaning an older (check), married (check), protective (check), sharp-tongued woman (check). I didn't see anything about that description I didn't love, so I embraced it. My motto is "Sharpening leaders." She really did sharpen the skills for all of us as leaders. As the Lay Leadership Team sharpens skills, it helps each of our Ministry Teams and our Resource Teams. You might remember that our Ministry Teams focus on what we do in areas like Discipleship, Missions or Worship, while our Resource Teams focus on how we do it. Resource teams like the Lay Leadership Team help us secure resources for ministry and then exercise good stewardship over the resources God has entrusted to our care. Resources include everything from hiring, developing and taking care of our church staff to having, utilizing and taking care of a campus, buildings, and grounds through which we serve our community. As our lay people offer their gifts of time and talent, we as the Church try to develop those gifts to best fulfill our mission and vision. All of these pieces work together to help us as individuals and as a church make disciples who know, love, share and serve Christ to improve our church and community.

Because events like this help us and our community, our team had invited one of our area school principals to join us. After the event, the principal confessed how much she enjoys her Saturdays, how she’d planned to stay for only a short time. She then explained how she gained so much that day (and had fun!), and is working to get Karen to come speak at her school soon. The principal was also very impressed with our leaders, the teams we have in place and all that we have going on in our church!

We hope that you too are excited about what God is doing in our church and community. We ask you to keep lifting up our leaders in prayer, walking alongside them in ministry and striving to know, love, share, and serve Christ here at Dyersburg First UMC.
Sincerely in His grace, peace and service: Ed, Will and the First UMC Family