Session 6: Called to Lay Ministry

Aim

By the end of this session you should be able to:

 

  • understand and challenge the preconception of hierarchy in Christian service

.

Prayer

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 spirit. 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 looks at the 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 yourselves? 

In Chapter 3 of our course text book, reflect on the following quote from p 28 ‘Servants are deeply realistic and earthly people.  The point… that it is a realistic view of the world to see that extraordinary and miraculous things happen when people act with faith, courage, love.’  

What does it mean to be called to serve others?

Listen to the podcast below and think about their aims for their resources. Do you think they are:

Relevant to your context? 

Potentially useful?

IntroductionAfter Sunday
00:00 / 01:04
Spotlight on Doctrine

The Doctrine of Baptism is at play here.  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.

Reflect

Use the poem above to help you reflect on what you have learned in this session.

Prayer

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

Amen

To Do in Church This Week

Look for the connections your Church community have with the world – where do they work, live, shop and play? What needs might you be able to address in simple service?

Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum.

Resources

Setting God's People Free

Full Report

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