During the summer of 2020, lay leader Linda Elam Young earned certification in Spiritual Formation from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Her pastor, the Rev. David Meredith of Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, encouraged her to complete the process.
With two degrees in education and counseling and a certificate from the Academy for Spiritual Formation of the Upper Room, Young has led many retreats, workshops and classes, both within and outside the West Ohio Annual Conference. Already having most of the requirements to earn the GBHEM certification, she just needed to complete a few courses and paperwork.
Young’s background does not compare to her true heart for ministry with the laity. Her sweet spot is empowering laypersons in the call to ministry. She said, “We are not called to be clergy, but we are all called to ministry.” The life force of Jesus in her life fuels her.
Although she does not feel called to ordained ministry, Young loves the church and church life. Early on, she had a mentor who saw her gifts and urged her to seek God’s call on her life.
“Clergy are given a lot of authority,” Young noted, “but it can also be burdensome."
This is where the ministry of the laity becomes important in the mission of the church.
Young created the acronym, MOST, which stands for “Ministry Of Small Things.” Acts often seen as insignificant have an impact. A homebound elderly woman sends cards to someone she has not seen in a while. A retired man drives a member to monthly doctor’s appointments. A young person drops off groceries for someone uncomfortable shopping during the pandemic. Through these acts of ministry, we show each person is a beloved child of God.
Young’s leadership in lay ministry has been an example to Clifton UMC, the West Ohio Conference and beyond.