All Christians are equipped by God with gifts to build Christ’s Church and serve others. For some this will mean receiving and responding to a call to a specific ministry recognised by the Church.
For all Christians it means discovering and using our God-given gifts, as baptism itself is a commissioning for Christian service. No one ministry is more important or more highly-valued than another. Each person should discern Gods purpose for their life then follow that calling to the full.
Clergy and lay in partnership
Recent years have seen a growing emphasis partnership between clergy and laity in the mission and ministry of the church. In a local church Ministry Team each member brings their own unique gifts and focuses on what they CAN do and relies on others to do the things they can’t. The report "Setting God's People Free" explores this helpfully.
The following are just some important roles Christians play in their local church. They can make a huge difference to the life and growth of a congregation.
Administrators organise, ensure clear direction and ensure things happen in an efficient accurate and timely way. Good administration produces the necessary information at the right time in a form that makes sense to others. Some administrators (e.g... PCC Secretary, Treasurer etc) have statutory duties. Others work behind the scenes to ensure the local church operates smoothly. Good administrators energise and encourage a Ministry Team or parish helping them to meet targets and monitor priorities. Some churches are now appointing "Operations Managers".
John Truscott has an excellent website full of resources for Church Administrators here.
Churchwardens are Bishop’s Officers, called to give account of the life and work of a parish and with a legal status. Duties include oversight of finances, keeping records and ensuring statutory duties are met. They also care for and maintain the church grounds and buildings as a vital part of mission. Churchwardens also have a duty to care for the priest and Ministry Team, and often take a leadership role within the PCC. They are usually selected by the parishioners of the church but are licensed by the Bishop. There is a useful job description for Church Wardens here.
Lay Pastoral Minister
Lay Pastoral Ministers are people authorised to minister to people in their own homes. They take communion to the sick, support the minister in many areas of pastoral care. This could include hospital visits, prison visiting, visiting old people’s homes or other institutions. Some pastoral ministers spend time volunteering in charities supporting the homeless or those in severe need. They offer practical and spiritual support to people - everything from doing a bit of shopping for them to helping them get to church. Often they can be a friendly ear listening at the end of the phone to someone going through difficulties.
Teacher of the Faith
There are many ministries associated with teaching the Christian faith in a church. The role could involve Sunday School teaching, leading small groups or faith essentials classes for those new to church. Others help prepare candidates for confirmation or for Baptism. All of these roles focus on the role of faith in daily life and society and involve helping people to work out their faith in the whole of their lives.
Youth Worker/ Children's Leader
Passing on the Christian faith to the next generation is everyone’s responsibility. However some people have a specific calling to work with children and teenagers as they explore their faith. The majority of youth workers are volunteers but some are employed. The Diocese of Leeds has people to help with this work and you can find out more here.
People who are called to lead worship often have specific musical gifting. Leading worship, however, is more than just playing a guitar at the front or leading a choir. It involves understanding the role music has to play within the overall worship of the church and helping to link the singing with the prayer and the liturgy.
What could you contribute to your church and/or community? What are the needs? What skills, abilities and experience do you already have? Each local congregation is unique and each community has unique needs. Has God called you to this place at this time? Why not prayerfully discuss this further with your minister? There are all sorts of opportunities!