In 1998 Lydia Patterson Institute developed the Student Lay Ministry Program in response to the needs of the United Methodist Church for bilingual and bicultural leaders to assist in developing Hispanic ministries. With the explosive growth of the Latino communities throughout the country, the United Methodist Church sees the need to minister and reach out to this population but faces the challenge of differences in the language and culture.
The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity for students to choose a route that will prepare them for higher education as well as train them to serve as Lay Ministers in areas where they may be useful to the church. The students that choose this route will receive special training to work in areas of Hispanic Ministry while attending Lydia Patterson and after leaving Lydia Patterson. Special emphasis in the training will be directed towards religion, culture, and language.
The student choosing to follow the Lay Ministry training route must serve in an internship in a local church, agency, institution, or another ministry of the United Methodist Church two summers before graduation from Lydia Patterson Institute. In return, the student may be awarded a scholarship from a United Methodist College or University and the local church where the student serves in an internship may provide for room and board. Seminaries may also provide scholarships to students interested in the ministry. Upon satisfactory completion of all Lay Ministry Requirements, students will receive a certificate of completion.
A partnership between Lydia Patterson Institute, United Methodist Colleges, Universities, and local churches allows students to continue their education, provides the church with bilingual leaders for Hispanic ministries, and an opportunity to identify students called to the ordained ministry.