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The Laborers Are Still Few: Why Lay Ministry Matters

Photo of Catholic eucharistic Ministers in vestments

Eucharistic Ministers of the Holy Eucharist in Pokuase Rectorate

Today, the Episcopal Church commemorates Charles Henry Brent, a remarkable missionary bishop who died in 1929. One of the lessons appointed, Matthew 9:35 – 38, highlights something that is still an issue today: a ready harvest, but few workers.

I think there is a real tendency for people to conflate ministry as a whole with the work of ordained clergy. While clergy obviously play a very important, visible role, much of the church’s work takes place in the hands of the laity. Here are just a few examples:

  • Religious orders – Groups of monks or nuns, married or single, who may live in community or out in the world. Their devotion to prayer and, in many cases, social action, serves as a visible witness to Christ’s work on earth.
  • Lectors and intercessors – In many denominations, lay people read the Bible lessons and lead the intercessory prayers. Having laypeople involved in this capacity shows how important these functions are for the ministry of the Church as a whole.
  • Worship leaders – Lay people in many denominations can lead worship services without communion in the absence of a priest or pastor. In congregations without full-time pastoral leadership, these leaders may also be trained as homilists.

This is just a small sampling of lay ministries that you may find in a congregation. What is your favorite lay ministry?

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March 27, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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