At this year's clergy workshop, a denominational staff person hailed the virtues of lay ministry. He attempted to shock us with statements such as, "We are in a post-Christian, post-Constantinian era when Christianity is relegated to the sidelines of mainstream society and culture." Furthermore, "If we clergy don't unleash the laity to do ministry, as the early church did, then we will die as a denomination!"
Wake-up calls were quickly followed by descriptions of the cell-group model of developing lay leaders. Clergy are supposed to select about a half dozen strong lay persons to train as pastoral caregivers, outreach persons, etc. What still echoes in my mind is the suggestion that if I don't do this, then my small church of 80 worshipers on Sunday will die!
Of course, such leadership workshops are accompanied by great collegial fellowship. We celebrated Holy Communion together.
Finally, we heard more about the growth potential of a ministry in which clergy equip and empower ...1