As part of our development of the
"user friendly" resource in developing a ministry in daily life focus
within a parish, we wrote several ecumenical leaders in the ministry
in daily life movement and asked them three questions:
We heard from: Kathleen J. Crane, Robert E. Reber, Marjory Zoet
Bankson, Patricia N. Page, William E. Diehl, CLAY, Edward White. We
have compiled their responses and share them with you now as a
preamble to the sections which follow. You will find descriptions and
order information on the resources they recommended in the Resources
section of this book.
STEP 1. To get started -
determine where your parish is.
William Diehl, a Lutheran layman, author, speaker, and pioneer in
recent years in this focus, outlined three situations which determine
the direction of the first steps:
SITUATION 1: The ordained leadership initiates the idea. Here the
pastor should try to get the lay leadership to share the vision. The
best example of this scenario is documented in Davida Crabtree's
book, The Empowering Church. Once the lay leadership "gets it"
with respect to the vision, various structural and programmatic
changes are made in the parish which bring the other members along.
This situation is not common because most ordained clergy still think
in terms of "lay ministries" within a congregation. Laypersons
assisting with worship, serving on committees, and helping with
pastoral duties among the membership are not being helped to claim
their ministries in daily life.
SITUATION 2: One or more lay leaders in the parish want to
initiate the "focus". I would suggest that they encourage the rest of
the leadership group and the pastor to schedule a weekend retreat on
Ministry in Daily Life. They should contract with an experienced
outside resource person to lead the retreat weekend which would run
from Friday evening through Sunday noon. Most of the retreat time
would be given to helping the leaders understand the meaning of
Ministry in Daily Life and especially helping each person discern what are
his/her particular ministries. The last two hours of the retreat
would be devoted to strategizing how to introduce Ministry in Daily
Life into the congregation.
SITUATION 3: One or more members of the parish has the vision and
wants to share it with the rest of the parish. (This is the most
common situation and also the most difficult.) What is needed here is
a small core of members; therefore, the one or more visionaries need
to develop more support. This can be done by: 1) forming a support
group; 2) organizing a retreat weekend; 3) offering an adult study
series, etc. In my experience, the retreat weekend is again the best
entry point. Once there is a core group, approaches can be made to
the parish leadership to try some "experimental" programs. The
leadership seldom will agree to some new programs without knowing
about them in detail; they usually will agree to new programs if it
is clear that they are experimental. The descriptions of the three
scenarios are obviously abbreviated and have many nuances, but I hope
you get the idea.
STEP 2. Develop a process of
raising the consciousness of the parish and individual
Through education and formation: This needs to undergird all that
is planned. Integrate this focus into existing education and
formation processes and/or develop processes that:
Parish life provides many opportunities to keep the focus before the congregation. Among the possibilities:
Build a core group of parish leaders committed to this focus by holding a retreat or intensive study. (See suggestions below and in Resources section).
Focus on Gifts Identification as a means to help members of the
congregation identify their gifts and continue to develop and use
them in their daily life and have them affirmed by the church
STEP 3. Going deeper.
After getting started, the primary means of going deeper will
depend on your individual congregation's situation. The key will be
to integrate this focus into the on-going life of the congregation
and to begin implementing the natural changes in liturgy,
structure/organization, goals, and lifestyle of the congregation and
Finally we want to share with you some of the cutting edge issues that our advisors mentioned, as you will undoubtedly encounter some of them in the days ahead.
Of Human Hands, by Gregory R. Augustine Pierce
The Monday Connection, by William Diehl
Cry Pain, Cry Hope, by Elizabeth O'Conner
Liberation of the Laity, by Anne Rowthorn
The Church in the Marketplace, by Archbishop George Carey
Converting Nine to Five, by John Haughey
Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster
The Empowering Church, by Davida Crabtree
Linking Faith and Daily Life, by Robert Reber
Monday's Ministries, by Nelvin Vos
The Church of Jesus Christ: Its Mission and Ours, by Robert R. Hansel
Ministry Exploration, by Jean Haldane
All in a Days Work: Ministry on the Job, Augsburg
Working: Making a Difference in God's World, by Carol L.
Day by Day, from Cathedral Films
Values in Vocation, by Archbishop George Carey
NOTE: For descriptions and order information see the Resources
Kathleen J. Crane is a writer, teacher, and consultant in the areas of Spirituality and Ministry of the Laity.
Robert E. Reber is Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary, New York.
Marjory Zoet Bankson is President of faith at Work. (See Organizations in the Resource section.)
Patricia N. Page is a Christian educator and a visiting lecturer at Duke Divinity School, Formerly the director of the National Institute for Lay Training and a professor of education at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, she is the author of All God's People are Ministers, Augsburg Press, 1983.
William E. Diehl is president of The Coalition for Ministry in Daily Life. (See Organizations in the Resource section.)
Edward A. White is a senior consultant of The Alban Institute. A retired executive of the National Capital Presbytery in Washington, D. C., White lives in Washington, D. C.
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