Session 6: Everyday Faith and the Church: Laity
By the end of this session you should be able to:
understand and challenge the preconception of hierarchy in Christian service and living out our faith every day.
Good and Gracious God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, invites all people to follow him and become his disciples. Touch our hearts, enlighten our minds, and stir our spirits. Help us daily to take up our cross and follow him by living his Word and proclaiming his Good News to those around us. May our faith in you increase, may our hunger for the Gospel intensify, and may our parish be strengthened as we learn to love one another as he has loved us. For this we pray, Amen
Your Song to Sing
In Session 4 we explored the call to be disciples.
This session continuess to explore that call to be a lay person living out the call to discipleship in daily life. John Powell (1988) in his book 'Through the Seasons of the Heart' wrote the poem below. Read it now. How do you feel as you read it?
There is an old Christian tradition
That God sends each person into the world
with a special message to deliver,
With a special song to sing for others,
With a special act of love to bestow.
No one else can speak my message,
Or sing my song,
Or offer my act of love.
They are entrusted only to me.
This is God's calling to each of us
And we sing that song and offer an act of love
In the place that
God has called us to be.
Through the years the Church has over emphasised the call to authorized ministry, and ordination in particular, above the call to be disciples in the world as lay people. Over the past few years there has been a push within the church to understand and to reflect on the ministry of all God’s people.
What do you think your song is and what act of love has God called you to undertake?
In Chapter 3 of Ortberg, J (2014) 'If you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat.' (Zonderberg, Michegan), the author says:
"It is very important to distinguish what I love doing for its own sake from what I may want to do because of the rewards it may bring me." (p.63)
This is a challenging thought that I encourage you to reflect on in your journal.
Things to Think About
In what ways have you seen others acting for the external rewards rather than internal, or spiritual, calling. And how have you seen that manifest in yourself?
Read Chapter 8 of M. Throup (2022) When Jesus Calls. Reflect on the following quotes 'lay or ordained, faithful servants engaged in church ministry know their strengths and limitations' (p73) 'effective ministers take their responsibilities serious and, by God's grace, the result is growth.’ (p74)
What does it mean to be called to serve others?
Share your thoughts in the Forum
Listen to the podcast below and think about their aims for their resources. Do you think they are:
(a) Relevant to your context?
(b) Potentially useful?
If the audio above doesn't work for you, go to the website here and browse their resources instead.
Spotlight on Doctrine
The Doctrine of Baptism is at play in everyone's calling. The Church of England makes this clear in their report 'Setting God's People Free' when they say 'Until laity and clergy are convinced, based on their baptismal mutuality, that they are equal in worth and status, complementary in gifting and vocation, mutually accountable in discipleship, and equal partners in mission, we will never form Christian communities that can evangelise the nation' (p.2). What do you think about this?
Spotlight on Spirituality
To sit at the feet of Jesus,
To learn the love of God and neighbour,
To look for and wait on God,
And listen for
The Spirit breathing life into our lives:
Deep calling to deep.
This is something I do,
In intimacy of prayer and reflection.
This is something we do,
As Christ’s body, the Church.
This is spirituality and discipleship
As the very hands of God.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit,
And nurtured for Christ;
To be faithful to his Word,
And formed for the works of God:
This is spirituality and discipleship
Walking hand in hand.
Use the poem above to help you reflect on what you have learned in this session.
Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit,
And nurture me in and for Christ;
so that I can be faithful to his Word,
And formed for the works of God
Something Practical To Do
Look for the connections your Church community has with the world – where do people work, live, shop and play? What needs might you be able to address in simple service as you live out your faith everyday?
Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum (this post is required for those taking the assessment).
Setting God's People Free