Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What is "Common Ministry?"

Over the past year, Grace Church has been exploring "common ministry."  Yet I still hear many people ask, "What is common ministry?" In simple terms, common ministry is shared ministry.  It is an understanding of the church where everyone shares in the ministry/work of the church. 

Common/shared ministry is a corrective to how many in our culture and church view what it means to "go to church."  For many, the chaplaincy model prevails.  In that model, the church is run and staffed by paid professionals who "do ministry" while the members of the church are the clients.  Another way of expressing that idea is that the paid professions are providers who offer a service to consumers.  In a similar vein, churches can be seen by some as entertainment or art centers.  The heart of common/shared ministry is to offer a vision of church life and worship where everyone participates and the gifts of each person are validated and empowered.  It is the ancient vision of the church as being the body of Christ.

An excellent example of common/shared ministry is the Wednesday night Healing Service at Grace Church.  The service combines drumming and healing. Everyone who comes to the service is welcomed to do both and to participate as led by the Holy Spirit.  In any given service, a significant portion of those attending will drum, receive healing prayer, and pray for others to receive healing.  Almost everyone gives and receives.  Yet no one is coerced to do anything or participate beyond one’s own comfort level.  It is shared ministry, common ministry.

Hawley Todd

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