Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Purpose Driven Presbyterians – Report 5: Empowering the laity for ministry.

In the Presbyterian Church we talk about the “priesthood of the laity.” Good in theory. The problem is that we rarely see it being practiced. The Purpose Driven ministry model has allowed Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Satellite Beach, to put the “priesthood of the laity” into practice.

The Purpose Driven ministry model allows a church train its folks for ministry and then allows them to use that very training. Trinity has hired several part-time folks to lead their various ministries. The folks they have hired are from their church.

There are several advantages to hiring from within:

  • The church knows the gifts and talents of the person who is hired.
  • The church has seen the person in ministry situations as a volunteer.
  • The new hire has “bought in” to the church’s biblical beliefs and core values (the church’s DNA).
  • The new hire already knows the people of the church and community.
  • Several part-time people (or full-time people) can be hired for specific ministries due to the person’s gifts rather than hiring one person with “general” ministry skills.
  • It truly puts into practice the idea of the “priesthood of the laity.”

Once upon a time I serve on a Committee on Ministry (COM for short) -- I even was the moderator of the COM. Never again will I serve on a COM! I digress. While on COM I saw people lie-through-their-teeth to receive a call. Some of these people (actually, I think it was all of them) had been ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament for several years. Some of the folks desperately wanted to move to a particular part of the country. Others wanted to get away from their current church. Still others were having marriage problems and wanted to get away for a new start. The common denominator was that they were not truthful to the churches they were interviewing with. In another Presbytery I am aware of a very conservative/evangelical church that called a conservative/evangelical Associate Pastor and later found out that the person was actually VERY liberal but wanted to move to that part of the country!

A pastor friend in another Presbytery told me that his church would never hire a second ordained pastor because it is almost impossible to fire someone who has lied to get the job.

A church is not going to “hire” someone for every ministry position. In fact, most ministry positions will be staffed by volunteers (I prefer to call them “uncompensated staff). These folks are treated with the same respect and confidence as a paid staff person. The Purpose Driven ministry model provides a trained, tried and tested group of volunteers to lead ministries. These people will be excited about their church. Such excitement is contagious. This excitement will draw new people into the church.

The Purpose Driven ministry model is an excellent tool for training our folks for ministry.


At 10:50 AM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

I've often commented on this issue and will again. I believe that the church's plan to empower the laity is right on and a good one. But the mark set for success is being missed. I believe this is due to the disregard for the current overwhelming time demands on families' lives. Until the church can come up alongside us and provide corporal help and support to free up our time for volunteering, all the excitement in the world is not going to bring more bodies to the table, so to speak.

And I have ideas on how to do that. The structure is already in place. It's just a refocus and repurposing of the deaconate. Could be done. Would be fun.

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