Transforming Congregations by Igniting the Spiritual Lives, Gifts
and Ministries of the Laity

Ron Farr Send E-mail to Ron Farr, Laity Empowerment Project
Telephone: (315) 583-5821

Unwrapping Our Gifts

Unleashing Our Weekday Ministries
Hearing God's Call
Newcomers Class
Small Group Program

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Leaders Training
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Training Leaders & Leadership Teams


The Laity Empowerment Project places a high value on leadership training to insure that course facilitators are effective and express the new spirit of mutual empowerment. Leadership Teams of clergy and lay leaders lovingly working together are an integral part of Laity Empowerment curriculum design.

Such teams become a "spiritual force" within the groups they facilitate as they model the following basic values of a laity empowerment process:

  • mutuality between clergy and laity

  • respect and affirmation of each other's gifts

  • sharing of power and responsibility

  • spiritual friendship

  • vulnerable sharing of one's life and faith

  • learning from each other

  • being a supportive "community of ministers"

Use these links to navigate throughout this page:
Basic LEP Leaders Training
Small Group Leaders Training
Building Your Churches Leadership Pool
Future LEP Training Events
Top of Page

1. Basic LEP Leaders Training

Leadership Teams of three (generally comprised of a clergy person and 2 lay people) are recommended for the three LEP core curricula: Unwrapping Our Gifts, Unleashing Our Weekday Ministries, and Hearing God's Call. Large churches train multiple teams of lay people. Leadership teams are formed and equipped in one of two ways:

  • Self-Directed Training in Leader's Manual:  The easiest way to train your leaders is to use the built-in training process that is the Leader's Manual of the curriculum you have purchased.  Simply purchase the curriculum of your choice, assemble a leadership team, and then your team trains itself by following the guided "Advanced Planning Sessions."  Or, if someone from your church is able to attend an LEP Regional Training event, that person can subsequently gather a local church leadership team and lead it through the self-directed training process.  100's of churches have effectively trained leadership teams this way.                                                                                                                                                  
  • Regional LEP Training Event:  If a regional training event is taking place in your area (it is easy to organize one - just email Ron Farr), churches can send single individuals or teams of two-to-three to the basic LEP regional training event usually led by Ron Farr. Teams of three are preferable because they coalesce as a team and return energizing each other. Participants learn laity empowerment principles, become oriented to the curriculum, are trained to facilitate spiritually-empowering discussion, and learn to recruit people for their group. All participants receive the Laity Empowerment Sampler which gives them a vehicle to share their experiences of laity empowerment with church members back home. (See "Future LEP Training Events" below)

2. Small Group Leaders Training

The LEP SMALL GROUP PROGRAM offers a 24-hour Small Group Leaders Training Retreat. It is a "dual track" training event that simultaneously equips both Small Group Leaders and Small Group Coaches:

Part I: Prospective Small Group Leaders are equipped at the training retreat to:

  • recruit friends and church members for their group

  • select an exciting small group curriculum

  • lead effective discussion

  • learn art of asking questions

  • troubleshoot group problems

Part II: Small Group Coaches, who are pastors and energetic lay leaders seeking to promote the overall development of lay-led small groups on their church, attend the basic training event. They also attend three, short, additional training segments during this training event in which they learn how to use the LEP Small Group Coach's Manual to:

  • recruit small group leaders from their congregation

  • train prospective small group leaders regularly

  • support/supervise small group leaders as they lead their groups

  • promote small groups in general in their local church

The LEP Small Group Program is based on mutual empowerment principles, in which Small Group Leaders and Small Group Coaches empower each other. Participants of the LEP Small Group Leaders Training Event make no commitment in advance to lead a small group or purchase LEP materials.

3. Build Your Church's Leadership Pool

Over time, UNWRAPPING OUR GIFTS or UNLEASHING OUR WEEKDAY MINISTRIES can be repeated regularly within your church to reach a significant percentage of your congregation. New leadership teams can be easily formed by joining 1-2 seasoned leaders (from the original leadership team) with new leaders (former participants of a previous LEP course). The Leader's Manuals of both UNWRAPPING and UNLEASHING have in them guided, self-directed leadership training processes designed to equip new leaders and leadership teams. Over time your church can develop a large pool of confident, effective, spiritually-centered, small group facilitators! Some of these leaders can be engaged to lead the LEP NEWCOMERS CLASS that requires no special leadership training.

4. Future LEP Events and Retreats

A. Upcoming "Laity Empowerment Leadership Training" Retreats
These one-day training retreats equip local church leaders (clergy and laity) to ignite the spiritual lives, gifts and ministries of the people of their churches, using "hands-on" Laity Empowerment curricula and small group strategies. Retreatants personally experience LEP sharing exercises and Bible studies, are trained to be sensitive small group facilitators, do team building, and learn effective approaches to small group recruitment. They return to their churches excited and prepared to lead a powerful laity empowerment group.

Training events are organized wherever interested people or organizations request them. If you would like to explore having an LEP training event organized in your area, or sponsored by your denomination, or hosted by your church, it is not difficult to arrange! Call Ron Farr, Director, 315-583-5821 or E-mail at

B. Information and Registration: To register or obtain more information, contact Ron Farr at or call 315-583-5821.

C. Leader: Ron Farr All above retreats are led by Ron Farr, the Director of the Laity Empowerment Project, a UCC pastor, and retreat leader. Ron co-pastors Emmanuel Congregational Church, UCC, with his wife Patty, in Watertown, NY. A graduate from Yale Divinity School, he studied Christian contemplative prayer at a number of New England monasteries, and served as Program Director at Mercy Center at Madison (Retreat House) in Connecticut. He also studied Hindu contemplative traditions while living in Varanasi, India, and studied Buddhist "mindfulness" meditation (vipassana) at the Washington Buddhist Temple in Washington, D.C., a discipline he has practiced and taught for 30 years. Ron served as a chaplain at Norwich State Psychiatric Hospital in CT, Medfield State Psychiatric Hospital in MA, and the Massachusetts Hospital-School for Handicapped Children. He has published articles in the religious journals WEAVINGS and FAITH AT WORK, and serves as a consultant for local churches.

Use these links to navigate throughout this page:
Basic LEP Leaders Training
Small Group Leaders Training
Building Your Churches Leadership Pool
Future LEP Training Events
Top of Page

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