I’ve spent most of my summer working with different programs and events that help to grow lay leaders in our faith. I have had the blessing of encountering dozens of earnest, committed and evangelical lay leaders wanting to spread the good news of our liberal faith. Ministry shows up in many forms, and each has high value and an important role in the life of our faith communities. Often ordained ministry is held up as “real ministry,” relegating other forms of ministry to lesser status. I think all forms of ministry are important and complementary.
Ministry comes in many shades that, when layered, become a rich hue. I can think of five — perhaps you might come up with more.
- Pastoral Ministry is compassion.
It is offering comfort and care to each other when we are in need.
- Teaching Ministry is consciousness.
It is encouraging one another to form our beliefs, live our values and engage our world.
- Prophetic Ministry is agency.
It is how we use our religious convictions to transform the world.
- Ordained Ministry is devotion.
It is a life devoted to serving the transcendent religious ideal.
- Shared Ministry is covenantal.
It is the time and intention that lay people carve out of their busy lives, also in their commitment to partner in serving the transcendent religious ideal. It is the time and attention that the clergy give to the spiritual formation of those leaders. Shared ministry is the greatest of these because it creates space for all gifts of ministry.
-Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, Leadership Development Consultant