What is the ministry of the laity?

In its section on the teachings of the Church (also known as the Catechism), the Book of Common Prayer teaches us that:

The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.

You might notice that lay ministry is carried out “wherever we may be.” This is, everyday lives at work, play, study, and simply being. “Wherever we may be” is sometimes at church, but mostly outside Sunday morning and our role in the Church. It is “wherever we may be” that we join God in God’s work to restore all people to one another and all creation.

Have you explored how you are called by God? Have you explored your gifts for everyday baptismal living? Consider taking this 30-day journey to explore your call. Or take this spiritual gifts inventory to discover your gifts for ministry. Start up a conversation with friends or others in your congregation to explore gifts for lay ministry together.

Of course, we are also called to take our places in the life, worship, and governance of the church. This can take many forms from serving on a vestry to volunteering on a parish outreach committee to organizing coffee hour to serving as a Eucharistic Visitor. Some lay ministry roles, including Eucharistic Visitors, Eucharistic Ministers, Pastoral Leaders, Worship Leaders, and Preachers require licensing by the Bishop. You can learn more about lay licensing requirements here.

The ministry of every person is needed to fulfill God’s mission. Yet not all among us realize how they may be called to serve as lay leaders. Read about ways to support and encourage the ministry of the laity here.