Cataldo to Join GBOD as Director of Laity in Leadership

September 25, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– Jodi L. Cataldo, Director of Leadership Development for the Dakotas Annual Conference, will become the Director of Laity in Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) on Dec. 1.
Cataldo, who has served on the conference staff since 2010, previously served both on staff and as a missionary for the General Board of Global Ministries, including a six-year missionary assignment to the Methodist Church of Lithuania with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Chet Cataldo.
"We are excited by the depth of her experience, her commitment to the church and her global service in The United Methodist Church, as well as her service in the Dakotas Annual Conference with the areas targeted in this position," said MaryJane Pierce Norton, Associate General Secretary of the Discipleship Ministries Division at GBOD.
The position of Laity in Leadership director is crucial for GBOD, Norton said.
"Through this position, GBOD addresses the areas of Lay Servant Ministries, Lay Leaders, Certified Lay Minister and other key lay positions in congregations," she said. "GBOD believes in the importance of the Ministry of All Believers, so equipping, empowering and partnering with laity is essential for the health of congregations as they engage in the task of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Successful revitalization efforts for the UMC will require laity working in partnership with clergy, Cataldo said.  
"I view the church and its potential as in Acts 2," she said. "If you look in Acts 2, you're going to see what was happening, and also who was doing it, which was the laity predominately."
In the Dakotas, when "we paid attention to laity, and started developing them and helping them to see a greater vision for their part, they became mobilized," Cataldo said.
"Our church in the Dakotas Annual Conference has experienced growth now for three years after 40-50 years of decline, which in part is due to the mobilization of our laity," she said.
Laity's key role in church revitalization is "to lead change and embrace change," she said.
"The laity has the ability to make connections with the larger community outside the church, to share Christ's love and to reach the unchurched in a much more impactful way than even our clergy have the ability to do," Cataldo said.