Monday, June 28, 2010

Equipping For Ministry

Pastors are not the only Christians in the church engaged in ministry.  So are the laity.  Here is a great quote from Thomas Oden- "The pastor is accountable for seeing that things are done, not for unilaterally doing them".  Some of my brothers and sisters in ministry should remember this, as should some churches.  The laity and pastor are partners in ministry.  They work together to further the kingdom of God.  So the church (both laity and clergy) are called to build up the body of Christ.  In the United Methodist Church through Cokesbury and the General Board of Discipleship, numerous opportunities and resources are offered to help us all better understand and engage in ministry.  Our United Methodist Book of Discipline says it this way, "The heart of Christian ministry is Christ's ministry of outreaching love...a common life of gratitude and devotion, witness and service, celebration and discipleship."  And the lay members "are by history and calling, active advocates of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Every lay person is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matt. 28-18-20); every layperson is called to be missional."  It is a primary way in which people come to Christ.  
The role of the pastor among many is to help equip the laity for ministry.  Clergy also help equip other clergy for ministry through covenant discipleship groups and many other opportunities known as conferencing.
If you are a member of the church then you probably know the vows of membership in your local church.  We couch them in pledging loyalty to Christ through the United Methodist Church with prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.  So, are you effectively engaged in ministry?  Are you living up to your membership vows?  Simple and yet tough questions.
Go in peace and go with God.

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