Recently I was contacted by the Canon to the Ordinary of Atlanta, Georgia. He had heard about our lay-led, shared leadership model from Rev. Kirtley Yearwood and wondered if I would share our experience. They are beginning to appoint lay people to run smaller parishes in the diocese and wondered how our system worked.
I sent Canon John the summary of our experience along with the outline of our Ministry system and separation of duties between clergy and lay people at the church. He was quite happy that we had 'done the work for them' as he said and shared it with the one Lay Pastoral Leader (whose title is Pastor, btw) they have so far. They have 10 others in formation and working with Seabury-Western seminary are training them to be worship leaders, lectors, pastoral care leaders etc.
Canon John echoed what we have heard from other bishops and Canons to the Ordinary, including our own Canon Abbott Bailey - he said 'you are on to something.' But he added, 'maybe the only thing that can truly revitalize the church.' Hmmm...well, that makes sense right? The original church, the so-called early church, was completely lay-led. And like us, the early church made it up as they went along!
We know the shared leadership model works and are glad that others are finally catching on. But it works because of you, because each of you plays a role in the ministry of the church. So, have you considered taking on more of a role in worship? Or mission work? What about Vestry? Interested in helping during the service as a lector or prayers of the people leader? We will be doing training for all roles in the fall. And if you are interested in other roles in the church let our Senior Warden, Susan Pullin or me know.
We remain strong when we all play a role. Thank you for all you do for Christ Church