Adams Chapel AME Church
by Pastor Jacques Days
The Lay Organization grew out of the belief in the AME Church that laity had a place in Christian ministry. We accept the doctrine of universal priesthood or the priesthood of all believers as supported by 1 Peter 2:4-9 and 1 Corinthians 4:1. Though different in scope and character from that of the ordained ministry, lay ministry also involves service to God and humanity. The weight of this doctrinal stance has helped to fuel our emphasis on social action, giving our laity a role in meeting the practical needs of the Church and the community.
Accordingly, the organized lay movement was started at the Kansas City, Missouri General Conference of 1912 and named the Layman's Missionary Movement. In an attempt to breathe new life into the ministry, the Layman's Missionary Movement was reorganized as the Connectional Lay College at the 1916 General Conference. In 1946, laymen at the Little Rock, AR General Conference recognized that the Lay College model, meeting every four years at a general conference, was not effective in advancing the goals of the organization. Therefore, they organized the Connectional Lay Organization with Lay Organizations on the episcopal district level, conference level, and local level. The Connectional Lay Organization has held biennial meetings since 1949.
The mission of the Adams Chapel Lay Organization is:
- to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15)
- to advance the present ministry of Jesus Christ, particularly as it is embodied by the mission of the AME Church (2 Corinthians 5:14-20; see mission, vision, and purposes at http://www.ame-church.com/about-us/mission.php)
- to encourage Bible study and to uphold the Bible as our only source for faith and doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16-17; see article of faith #5 at http://www.ame-church.com/about-us/beliefs.php)
- to promote an understanding of the AME Book of Doctrine of Discipline as an organized source of our laws, government, and belief statements (1 Corinthians 12:4-6; http://www.ame-church.com/about-us/structure.php)
- to teach good stewardship and respect for constituted authority (Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Timothy 2:1-7)
- to engage the laity in social action ministry, reaching beyond the walls of the Church to champion goodwill toward all (Galatians 6:9-10)
- to stimulate an appreciation for AME history and that of its founder, Bishop Richard Allen (1 Corinthians 3:8-14; http://www.ame-church.com/about-us/history.php)