If you’re a lay person, do you ever wonder how best to discern what God is calling you to do with your life? If you’re ordained, do you ever wonder how you can help your parishioners see how God is working in their lives and to what new ministries God is calling them? If so, keep reading.
Most of the time, the diocese’s Commission on Ministry (CoM) is focused on advising the bishop on the selection and formation of new deacons and priests. However, another purpose of the CoM is to develop, train, and affirm lay ministries. It’s a part of the CoM’s canonical mission that we haven’t done much with and we want to do more. To that end, the CoM has been in discussions for the past year about how best to assist the laity with discernment. We’ve done a lot of reading and discussion and even mapped out some exciting options.
We’ve identified three possible approaches to fulfilling this canonical mission: 1) hosting an annual diocesan-wide lay discernment workshop, 2) developing a program of diocesan-led “discernment circles” that would use trained leaders to host year-long discussions with interested lay people, and 3) develop a “train the leader” program to equip selected lay leaders in each parish to lead discernment circles within interested congregations. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses, but would go a long way to fulfilling the CoM’s desire to assist laity in discernment.
The CoM has reached the point where we are ready to move from discussion to action. We are interested in testing out these ideas – to “pilot” them with interested congregations, clergy and lay leaders. To do this piloting, the CoM needs your help. We’re looking for both lay and ordained volunteers. If you are interested in being part of a task force to help develop and test one or more of these three ideas, or you have other questions, please contact the chair of the Commission on Ministry, Spencer Pugh, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to kick something off early in 2018.