Thursday, April 08, 2010

Common Ministry: Groups Attend Gifts Workshop

By Hawley Todd
Interchange contributor

Common Ministry addresses fundamental issues that plague contemporary Christianity. How does the church encourage, empower and equip its members to live out their Baptismal vows? How does the church recover the priesthood of all believers? How does the church move from an ethos of professionals who are paid to do everything to an understanding that all Christians are engaged in ministry all the time?

Common Ministry is just a new name for what the church has endeavored to do for all of its life. It is a process of engaging each and every member of a parish to do ministry. The new aspect of what is called Common Ministry is that the Diocese of Southern Ohio is being intentional about the need to train and form as many of us as possible as ministers for Christ.

Having attended and led various gifts workshops over the years, my expectations for the Common Ministry gifts workshop in February were rather low. I knew that gifts workshops were an excellent tool, but I did not expect to have any new insights into my own gifts and ministries. I was in for a surprise. From the start of the workshop until its completion, the process was one of discovery and delight.

The team who put the workshop together modeled “common ministry” at its best, as they each contributed their gifts and talents. In many ways, the leadership team functioned as a catalyst for the work that those of us who attended the workshop did. They gave us a structure for uncovering our gifts and then got out of the way so that the Holy Spirit could move in our midst. Ample time was given for private reflection and prayer. Many of our exercises were done in small groups where we were encouraged to listen and share our stories with one another. And in one of the exercises, other members of our small groups reflected back to us what they had heard us share. Listening to the insights of people whom I had just met was eye-opening. It helped me identify two core spiritual gifts that I had overlooked and yet were central to all that I do. The gifts workshop was indeed a precious gift from God.

The three of us from Grace Church, College Hill, who went to the workshop were blessed to have attended. Already we have begun the process of implementing the training and have constructed a plan for having our own gifts workshops at Grace over the next few months. As we all learn to discover and embrace what gives us life and what we are passionate about, we will more fully become the people God created us to be. Therein resides the most precious gift of all: to be alive in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hawley Todd is a member of Grace Church, College Hill. Contact him at

From the March 2010 issue of Interchange.

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