Pam Phinney Named CTC Director of Lay Servant Ministries

by Susan Craig*
The Central Texas Conference Lay Ministry Team has announced the appointment of Pam Phinney as the conference director of Lay Servant Ministries (LSM). Pam Phinney replaces Pam Dieckert, who has served in the role for four years.**
Both women have a legacy of lay leadership within their church, their district and the conference. Mrs. Dieckert, a member of First United Methodist Church of Belton, said that due to the need to focus on caring for her aging parent, it is time for a change. Though she is stepping away from her long-term commitment as LSM director, she plans to remain active as a lay servant, certified for pulpit supply, and in leadership at her church, with a particular emphasis on small groups.
“She will be a tough act to follow,” Mrs. Phinney said. “Pam Dieckert is a very passionate supporter of lay ministries. She has worked tirelessly to guarantee that the courses that are available in lay servant development are high quality. She’s going to be greatly missed.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with Pam Dieckert for the past several years,” remarked Kevin Walters, director of the CTC’s Roberts Center for Leadership. “I’m glad we have someone like Pam Phinney to continue in this role as she’s already distinguished herself as an excellent teacher.”
Mrs. Phinney, like Mrs. Dieckert, is certified for pulpit supply, who spends most Sundays preaching or teaching at a churches across the CTC. Jason and Estee Valendy, co-pastors of Saginaw UMC (Pam P’s home church), are incredibly supportive. “That makes a real difference in my ability to share my gifts,” she says.
Mrs. Phinney is the 2016 recipient of the Morris Walker Award, which recognizes laity for exemplary service to their church, their community and the conference. She is a “preacher’s kid,” the daughter of Sidney Roberts, for whom the CTC’s Roberts Center for Leadership is named, and often quips “I am carrying on the family torch.”
With a background in accounting, she is financial secretary for First UMC Joshua and Saginaw UMC. At the request of district superintendents, she also steps in on occasion to help small churches with year-end audits or other financial needs. Over the years, she has chaired most committees at the local church level, with the exception of the board of trustees. She has served as a lay member of annual conference for nearly a decade and North District director of LSM for five-plus years. She has also taught LSM courses for a number of years.
As conference director of LSM, Mrs. Phinney’s role is to work with the conference lay ministry team, Conference Lay Leader Mike Ford and the Roberts Center for Leadership to identify, train, equip, nurture, develop and support lay servants. She coordinates the Lay Servant Ministries program, recruits qualified district directors and instructors and helps them plan out courses in advance.
Pam’s hope for the future is that more lay people will avail themselves of “the excellent courses offered in lay servant development,” whether or not they choose to be certified as lay servants or for pulpit supply. These courses center on the rich tradition, heritage and polities of The United Methodist Church and can help people develop their gifts in leading prayer, leading Bible studies, working with the elderly and in myriad other ways. “Educational opportunities are so important to keep us growing as a church,” she said.
To learn more about Lay Servant Ministries visit or email or
*Susan is the executive assistant for the Roberts Center for Leadership and a valued contributor to
** Editor’s Note: It is not a CTC or UMC Disciplinary requirement that the LSM be named Pam.