Member Mission Newsletter #10
Tools for Lay Ministry
For a vestry
As she left the workshop in Brown Deer, WI on November 8, 2003, Diana Montenegro of St. Francis, Menomonee Falls, WI (firstname.lastname@example.org
, 262-786-9743) said, "At last, I have some fresh tools to work with our vestry on lay ministry." She will adapt the format below to help each member to discover the missions they are already carrying on. As their worship chair, she will lead them into a different mission field each month.
Discovering the missions you carry on already
1. Introduce our six daily arenas. Each of us is trying in ways both large and small to make the world a better place. Otherwise, we would not be here – we would not be church. Our Monday to Monday living is no easy matter. Each of us lives in six arenas of life each day.
-- home (includes family or close friends)
-- work (includes school and volunteer work)
-- local community (neighborhood, town, or city)
-- wider world (society, culture, economics, or government in county, state, nation, and world)
-- leisure / re-creation
– own spiritual health (includes physical and emotional health)
– church life and outreach (service and evangelism) in the congregation, diocese, or communion – USA or worldwide
2. List present actions. Let's write down what we are doing right now in each part of our daily lives to make life there better. Take about 3 - 5 minutes to note what you are doing in each of these parts of daily life to make life better there. Don't strain to write down big things. Feel free to name the smallest thing – just so you are really doing it.
What am I doing now to make life better – more loving or more just – in each part of my daily life? (Feel free to name the simplest of loving or just things you do or say.)
a. Home (all in the home or closest friends)
b. Work (includes school and volunteer work)
c. Local community (neighborhood, town, or city)
d. Wider worlds (society, culture, economics, government, or environment in county, state, nation, and world)
e. Leisure / re-creation
i. My own spiritual health (includes physical and emotional health)
ii. Church life and outreach (service and / or evangelism) in the congregation, diocese, or communion – USA or worldwide
3. Share lists. Form trios with two others you know less well. Then, each shares their responses. Go one person at a time and each tells of all six arenas of daily life. Listeners, be sure you grasp what is actually being done so ask questions for clarification as needed. Let's allow about ten minutes to start with. I'll check to see if more time is needed.
4. God's mission and our missions. God in Christ is at work everywhere all the time to make life more loving and more just. Justice is the public face of love. This means that in whatever you and I are doing to make life more loving and more just, we are already part of God's mission. We just may not have seen it so. So you have just described your current missions – what you are already doing that is part of God's mission!
These six arenas are really mission fields. They are the places in life where you are Christ's agent, Christ's missionary. There are three marks of missions: (1) they are centered in love and justice; (2) they are costly – what you are doing costs, does it not? and (3) missions are carried on only with God's help. You are already a missionary! You just didn't know it!
Practicing recruiting a teammate for one of your missions
Participants in the Parish Weekend for St. Alban's Church, Washington, DC, October 3-5, 2003, found practice in seeking helpers yielded rich learnings.
1. Steps to find a teammate. After they discovered their present missions (as in "Discovering . . . " above), each selected their most crucial present mission [from the discovery session above] and worked through the following steps to find a teammate to help them.
a. Phrase the mission as a vision of what might be.
b. Think of likely helpers – people who might be able to help and might respond to the vision.
c. In your own mind, have words to express how the vision is part of God's mission.
d. Share the vision with the prospective helper.
e. Talk of / point to God's connection with the vision.
f. Talk of / point to prayer and Sunday worship as places to go for help to follow through on the vision – when the time is right.
2. Two stories of people finding help were shared to illustrate. Then each person: (1) thought of a potential team mate; (2) worked out a vision for the mission that would appeal to that person; (3) and how, if "the flow" was right, they might talk of or point to God's connection within the vision; and (4) and how to invite the other to join them in drawing on God for help.
3. A demonstration with feedback showed how to practice the approach in the trios they had been in earlier. The leader has already chosen one of his / her own present missions where a teammate is needed as the situation for the demonstration. Thereby, the leader adheres to the standard of reality. The leader recruits two role players before the session. The leader describes the format. The leader will be the missionary seeking a helper. [The principle is that the leader should always be the "goat" who goes first.] The helper is told of the person they will play and what about them makes them a potential teammate. The potential teammate chooses whether to play the role as a church member or a non church member. [A missionary seeking help may not know this about the potential teammate – more reality.] The other person is briefed as the observer who will look for what helped or hindered the exchange – time will probably allow only for one item that helped and one that hindered. Advise both that you will try to go all the way through to talk of how the vision is connected with God and where to turn for help. During the feedback time, be sure the potential candidate gets a chance to share their sense of how it went. End with the missionary describing their sense of how it went. At the end, be sure to thank the players to help them leave the play behind them – to "de-role" is the jargon word.
3. Practice. In the same trios, each practices their approach:
– describe the person you are asking to be a teammate and one agrees to play that role and the other to observe what seemed to help or hinder the approach;
– do it to the end (e.g., talk of prayer and, maybe, Sunday worship);
– reflect on how it went beginning with the observer sharing what helped or hindered; then the prospective team mate telling how they saw it; and ending with and the team builder sharing what was sensed in how it went;
– all get a chance to note what has been learned; finally all three exchange thanks and then move to the next round.
Rotate roles for the second person to practice.
Rotate roles for the third person to practice.
4. In a plenary session for all, the leader draws out the feelings present after this involving work; then, goes on to ask for some of the learnings and insights gained about being a missionary. Among the various learnings, almost all agreed that they needed a lot of practice in talking of God's presence and action in daily life.
Some recent examples
Stories of four churches on the web
The Episcopal Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church now cosponsor a website on Ministry in Daily Life. Read of how four congregations are using the member mission approach in various ways.
Go to http://www.episcopalchurch.org/mdl/books.html and click on Wayne Schwab.
The Rev. Meredith W. Potter, Assisting Priest at St. Gregory's, Deerfield, IL and Co-Director of the Seabury Institute, told a bit of her own use of the member mission approach in her sermon on 7/13/03. She recounted how it helped her son to cope with a difficult situation in his work life. The full sermon is on the website. Go to membermissionpress>Making the Vision Work>Sermons>Potter (7/13/03).
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God is most interested in how we live from Monday to Saturday.
Sunday – all of church life – helps us to do it better.
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