Volunteer - Lay Leader

Bill Flipse

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It is a tremendous honor and privilege to serve as Lay Leader of the Bellmore United Methodist Church.  It is a congregation with great love for God and each other.

The role of Lay Leader can vary greatly from church to church.  I see my main functions as serving as a liaison between the pastor and the congregation, interpreting and explaining programs and policies of the local church and the NY Annual Conference to the congregation, and providing a sounding board for the pastor to discuss what is happening in the congregation, both positive and less so.  I also may have the privilege of attending District and Conference events with the pastor.  In an emergency, such as a sudden pastoral illness, I may be called upon to preach on short notice.

Another important role is to promote, in cooperation with the pastor, the spiritual growth of the church members in their understanding of Christian principles and maintaining spiritual disciplines, such as bible study and stewardship of our time and money.  To help me in this, several years ago I took training to become a Certified Lay Speaker; I maintain my certification through periodic refresher training.  Certification also grants me the privilege of serving as "pulpit supply", preaching on behalf of United Methodist pastors in other congregations when they are on vacation or away for other reasons.

Beyond these roles, the Lay Leader can make the job his or her own through various activities that serve the specific needs of the congregation.  I have many personal interests, including music, photography and technology (I am a professional computer programmer).  I put these interests to use in service to the church, leading a weekly praise song on the guitar as part of the worship service, taking photos of church activities and maintaining the church's computers and sound system.  (I am also the webmaster of this website.)

I am a strong believer in the benefits of the Walk to Emmaus.  A Walk is a 3-day experience intended to deepen a person's relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen him or her as a church leader.  Men's and women's Walks are held separately, within a few weeks of each other.  Married couples are encouraged to attend corresponding Walks, so they can share their experiences.  Although sponsored by the United Methodist Church, the Walk to Emmaus is open to all Christians who want to grow in their faith.  There is also a version for youth called Chrysalis.  I attended a Tres Dias weekend, an alternate ecumenical version of Walk to Emmaus, and have served as "Chief Music" on several Walk to Emmaus teams.

My personal spiritual journey, like most Christians I expect, has not been a straight line.  The grandson of a Dutch Reformed Church minister, my grandfather's church was too far from my childhood home to attend church school there every week.  Instead,  I was confirmed in the local Methodist church at age 13 but drifted away from the church in my later teenage and young adult years.

It was not until I was 28 years old that I started attending church on a regular basis again - not from some great spiritual awakening - but because the woman I was dating was a regular church-goer. I wanted to be with her on Sunday.  Through this wonderful woman, who has been my wife since 1981, I started hearing God's Word on a regular basis.  The seed that was planted took root and I grew into my own relationship with God and His Son.  I have often felt God's presence in my life and heard Him speaking to me.

As a student of Chemistry in both college and graduate school, people have often asked me how I reconcile my scientific training with my Christian faith. The fact is, I see no conflict between the two.  I see God all around me in the glory of His Creation and I consider science to be God permitting us to see "behind the scenes" into the wonderful way He has designed it.

My prayer is that you will join me in this marvelous adventure as, with God's help, we work to establish His Kingdom on Earth.  As it says in the song by John S. Rice:

"Walk with me, I will walk with you, and build the land that God has planned, where love shines through."

Can't wait to see you -
Bill Flipse


Bill served as our Lay Leader for 17 years before taking a break from the role and taking it up again in January 2014.

The position of Lay Leader is an elected, volunteer role.  For those not familiar with United Methodist leadership, an analogous position in another denomination might be lead elder or president of the congregation.

  August 2020  
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