Lay ministry

Sound the trumpet : an adventure in shared ministry

Kevin Harney
My understanding of shared ministry, at the beginning of my studies, was shaped by New Testament teaching on ministry. As a matter of fact, the Pauline Epistles were the primary source of my thinking. Beyond this, it is safe to say that three sections of Scripture formed the core of my ecclesiology in relationship to Shared Ministry (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-15 and Ephesians 4). Each of these passages teaches the importance of spiritual gifts among the body of believers.

This limited perspective led me to read the entire bible and look for any passages which dealt with shared ministry (of any kind). The second learning unit in my program pushed me beyond the New Testament "gift-centered" approach and helped me develop a broader understanding of ministry and God's people.

Let's preach together! : a resource for lay preaching

Timothy L Brown
This project proposes to help congregations unleash the reservoir of persons gifted to preach, assisting them in fulfilling the Lord's command to be his "witnesses" until he returns, through an examination of some pertinent biblical and theological data, largely from the witness of Luke/Acts, which not only encourages it, but even requires it.

Chapter One offers a kind of "prelude" to lay preaching. It discusses a select range of concerns that have been discovered in the process that need to be addressed before a congregation can affirm the ministry of lay preaching.

Chapter Two provides an analysis of the "advance" and "growth" of the Word of God in Luke and Acts. Of particular concern are Luke's "progress reports in Acts 6:7, 12:12, and 19:20. This chapter demonstrates that the Word of God grows and prevails and in a certain manner of speaking draws the church into proclamation.

Chapter Three offers a plan for the recruitment, equipment and support of lay preachers. A ten session course outline is proposed to demonstrate the kinds of concerns that need to be addressed in the recruitment/equipment process. The concerns range from a review of the varying models for preaching provided in Acts, to dealing with some more pastoral and personal concerns such as development of "people eyes", and "facing our fears."

Chapter Four, "Responding to Questions: A Theological Prescript", deals with some of the questions that I have encountered throughout the process of research and writing. For the most part the questions were clarifying/expanding questions, but one particular question struck at the heart of the project, "How would your congregation be different than it is, or look different than it does, if this (project paper) were fully implemented?"

A doorway to Mark : a commentary on Mark for lay people

Charles A Wiessner
The goal of this project was to produce this type of commentary for the first half of the Gospel of Mark. This commentary serves to create a door in the barrier between the Bible and lay people. The project creates a door so that people can enter into the world of the Bible. The customs, social life, religious practices, and other aspects of first century Palestine are explained in relation to the various pericopes in Mark. As people understand the world in which Jesus lived, they begin to understand the spiritual truths that Jesus was communicating.

The project also creates a doorway that allows the Gospel to enter into the lives of people today. As people understand the spiritual truths of Jesus' ministry, they begin to see how these truths can enter into their own lives. Suddenly they discover that God's word is a living word.

The commentary begins by using Mark 1:1 as the framework for organizing the introductory material to the Gospel as well as delineating the theological assumptions behind the commentary. The body of the commentary consists of twenty-two sections which contain the first eight chapters of Mark. the comments on each section of the Gospel are divided into two parts.

The commentary is designed for lay people. It was created within the context of a congregational Bible study, and was tested by a panel of readers throughout the denomination. The approach of the commentary, and the language used within it, are designed for lay readership. The total comments on each section can be read in fifteen minutes or less, which fits into the maximum devotional time most people alot each day.

Staffing to fulfill the Great Commission : paraprofessionals in the church

Rodney D Otto
This manual is designed for both lay and professional church leaders to enable congregations to grow through creative staffing. This study presupposes a working knowledge of church growth principles. The manual has five chapters, an appendix and a bibliography.

Chapter One introduces the term paraprofessional and describes the climate in the church creating the need for this new type of church staffing.

Chapter Two further establishes the need for discipleship and growth today. The business model of staffing and management principles adds credibility to paraprofessionals. Growth is documented through this multi-level staffing model by a partial survey of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod congregations already using such staff.

Chapter Three builds a biblical and confessional base for the paraprofessional model by identifying the call of every Christian in baptism, the special call of the professional church worker, and the special call of the paraprofessional and volunteer staff.

Chapter Four outlines the way paraprofessionals have evolved at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Kentwood, Michigan. Basic guidelines are developed from this experience and the information gleaned from other churches using the paraprofessional model

Chapter Five concludes the manual with a look to the future about the use of paraprofessionals in the church.

Does God Call Laypeople to Preach in their Local Church? An Exploration of Calling and Introduction to Preaching for Laypeople in the Local Church

Curtis Allan Zoerb D.Min.
The purpose of this research portfolio was to identify if God was calling lay people to preach in their local church and begin to equip them for that calling.
Sitting in the pews were people whom God called and gifted to serve the church in many different ministries; some were called to share his word through preaching. Through this field project, these individuals were identified, equipped, and presented with opportunities to preach God’s word in their own setting. The two foci of calling and preaching were essential to answer the research question. Members of Massey Place Community Church interested in learning to preach were invited to participate in the study. Seven people responded. A six-week introductory course was conducted to teach about calling and how to prepare and preach a biblically-based sermon. We found that people were being called to preach, and four of the seven actively engaged as lay preachers. The question at the heart of this research project, “could lay people preach effectively in the Sunday morning service?”, was answered in the affirmative; there were laypeople that God called into the role of occasionally speaking from the pulpit. Further to that, this significantly benefited the life and growth of the church and positively impacted the individuals who preached.

A Wesleyan symphony of discipleship : the development of an academy of lay ministry

Robert L Hundley
In his book, Robert Pazmino admits to coining the word lude, but claims that the word is derived from the Latin word ludere, which means "to play." In familiar musical terminology, the 'Pre-lude' establishes an introductory context. A 'Post-lude ' is a musical term that describes a concluding statement that often summarizes the motifs that have been introduced since the Prelude. Pazmino creatively suggests that the lude is the subject between Prelude and Postlude. It is the primary motif or theme. The 'Lude' may function as the playful way that a subject is developed and communicated.
The author identified and developed a musical analogy and applied it to the Christian Education experience. Teaching, (according to Pazmino), is like a performance where the teacher functions as a conductor who orchestrates his or her classroom, not in an entertaining way, but rather in creating a teaching/learning environment with and for the student. lt is an appropriate analogy. As a conductor, every rehearsal is like a laboratory classroom. The conductor teaches, gives opportunity for creativity, motivates the performer, and corrects mistakes so that the ensemble and conductor are participating
in a learning process on the way toward performance.

Training leadership to empower the laity

Stephen Samuel Kaziimba
Those who read the history of Uganda, and those who have lived long enough in Uganda are aware of the bloodshed regimes in 1970-1985. Uganda has suffered a lot under the leadership of Idi Amin and Milton Obote. The country has gone through political, social, economic, and religious changes. These changes have posed many challenges to the church in my context, the Anglican church of Uganda. It is clear that there is a need to engage lay Christians in response to these spiritual and pastoral challenges in our country and church, specifically in the Mukono Cathedral. The laity should not be engaged in church ministry to help the clergy, but to do the ministry because it belongs to them. In addition, the laity are gifted greatly, but they are not used enough.

Does it mean that the laity are taking away the work of the ordained? Surely not, because this ministry belongs to the laity before it belongs to the ordained as discussed in this paper. This paper also discusses the biblical mandate to equip all the people for God's ministry. Paul discusses the gifts which were given to the church for the purpose of equipping the saints (cf. Ephesians 4:11-12). By equipping the saints in this context the laity, we are strengthening the church which is the body of Christ.

Jesus Christ gave us an example of how important equipping is. He identified a few men, and then trained and taught them for the ministry. His methods are worth taking. This paper gives us a case study of a leadership training done in Mukono to prepare the ordained to equip the laity. All the recommendations indicate that there is a need to involve the laity in God's ministry. There is a need for the collaborative ministry.

Journeying Home: A Study of Christian Spiritual Formation Through the Interface of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Lectio Divina

Robert John Stiles D.Min.
This study grew out of my life experience. After decades of longing to belong, God led me first to the halls of 12 Step programs, then to Seminary where I discovered, spiritual formation, Lectio Divina and spiritual direction. In contemplating a model of spiritual formation, the interface of these two experiences came to life in the linkage of the final three steps of A. A. which I characterize as Confess (Step 10), Abide (Step 11), and Give (Step 12).
The research observed the spiritual maturation of lay people at various stages of their journey of becoming more like Christ. The project was designed to build a community of trust within a small group who met for seven weeks to practice Lectio Divina. I used the narrative inquiry research method with favorable results. Some participants self-identified both as having a deeper sense of the presence of God and experiencing a change in their approach to daily life while others either experienced movement in one of the dimensions or no movement at all. My conclusion is that, for some, the practice of Lectio Divina can effectuate deeper spiritual formation.

Great Expectations: Elevating a Congregation's Sense of Vocation to Biblical Heights

Thomas E Richter
This project asserts the thesis that preaching about the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers can help move the members of Cullman First Baptist Church in Cullman, AL, towards an every-member ministry model of ministry. The project consisted of a seven-week sermon series and a concurrent collaborative small group. The project director evaluated his project through comparing a pre-project questionnaire with a post-project questionnaire, through sermon feedback forms, and through small group interviews. The research indicates an 8.8% improvement in congregational knowledge and excitement in the areas of self-understanding and sense of vocation as part of God’s royal priesthood.


Deborah Ruth Zeni MD D.Min.
This thesis research work on best practices of preaching arose out of the researcher’s passion for providing catechists with the means of nurturing a ‘falling-in-love’ with God experience for young children through proclaiming gospel as encounter.
Based on evidence that catechists lack formation in best practices of preaching, the researcher designed and implemented an educational initiative in a multi-site, multi-participant intensive formation program. The researcher used a homiletic grounded in the Paschal Mystery, which located God’s gratuitous and gracious actions on humanity’s behalf as the focus of preaching—giving gospel-power—to any form of preaching carried out during the study.
Within a unique form of pastoral ministry called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), employing a qualitative methodology, a constructivist epistemology, and a field-based action research design, the researcher effectively utilized various educational approaches to develop and assess participant competence in preaching using a comprehensive assessment program, and iteratively improving their learning and teaching preaching praxis using program evaluation tools.
The research shows that the curriculum successfully demonstrated that the comprehensive preaching model, which integrated five best practices of preaching for proclaiming the Word with children into the study’s conceptual framework, worked to develop the competence of catechists as preachers of the Good News. Additionally, the research showed that the intervention enabled and empowered the participants to find their preaching voice to speak of God acting mercifully, giving everything, loving unconditionally in the here and now as they experienced God doing in the scriptures.
As such, five best practices of preaching can be used as an effective framework for formation of catechists and educators for teaching preaching as encounter with children and sharing in a happening of grace through the proclamation of the Word.
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