Let’s Join Forces When the Church Meets
The Liturgical Ministries
A body needs all its parts to function with efficiency and harmony. The church is a body and needs that kind of life. When we join the local church, we could expect to find our place in the interaction of the members (like the organs, the different parts) of the church body. When we build a church from scratch, which is church planting, each person who joins the body is directed toward a ministry that would fit her.
There are questions of discovering our gifts, of training, that we will deal with in other posts, but the basic premise is that, as members of the body, we take an active part in the life of the body. In this post, I am listing just one category of ministries, the Liturgical Ministries. For each of them, we could write several pages, let’s go with just a short description for this time.
The liturgy is not the work of the priest or the bishop, and it is neither the mysterious and incomprehensible (OK, we have hopefully passed this stage!) celebration that is happening up there in the sanctuary. The word liturgy, from the Greek, actually means the Work of the People!
We want the celebration to go on harmoniously (even if we welcome the unexpected from the Holy Spirit!), which means that we do not want to be interrupted or slowed down because of our disorganization, this is never a good testimony! To reach that goal, we need a variety of persons taking charge of a variety of aspects of the divine service. I would say, the more we involve the people, the merrier we are! That’s liturgy! Here is the list:
They read the Scripture at services, this is a task of proclamation of the Word of God. They enjoy speaking in front of people. Training is available.
Lay Eucharist Minister (LEM)
They serve at the Communion Table and serve communion to the people. Training available.
They can be organized in an Usher Guild. They play an important role in an Assimilation System (or Program), they are the face of the church. They welcome everybody coming to the service, when appropriate they facilitate communion, and they take care of the offering.
You can be acolyte at any age. Adults and children from the 6th grade on are welcome. They help the liturgical ministers in leading the congregation. They can carry the cross, receive offering plates in the sanctuary (I forgot to mention that the space where the people sit is the nave, the sanctuary is where the altar is), and take part in the Eucharist. Training provided. This is an easy way to learn about Anglican services!
Men and women can be part of this ministry. They take care of everything that happens in the sanctuary, especially the Communion Table. This includes Bibles, all the elements of the Eucharist, wine, bread, chalice, linens, sacramentary, etc. Training is provided.
If we want flowers in the sanctuary, they are in charge! Their ministry is especially visible on special events, such as weddings and funerals.
This definitely takes time. In a big church they may have several teams working on it.