Bishops launch new guidance to encourage increased lay preaching and leading of services

Our diocese takes a progressive stand in enabling the flourishing of gifts as we look to enable an ordered release of ministry.

As we look to the future of our diocese, our common desire is to see an increase in numbers in our congregations, the multiplication of congregations and the spiritual depth and maturity of each baptised member of the Body of Christ.
We recognise that there are many lay people in our churches with gifts that can be nurtured, encouraged and used.
There are many areas in which people contribute to the ministry of our parishes both in practical service and in supporting the spiritual and missional life of the church. Experience suggests that growth in faith and growth in discipleship for an individual can often follow being entrusted with ministry responsibility, such as leading a small group, or leading an act of worship.
Many incumbents are active in identifying and helping to develop different gifts and in delegating key areas of ministry to lay people; youth leaders, pastoral visiting, baptism preparation, children’s ministry, bereavement support are ministries regularly exercised by lay people.
Other than the requirement to follow safeguarding policy, this type of ministry is usually developed and authorised within the parish and under the leadership of the incumbent, with appropriate consultation at the local level. Fit for Mission recognises the need for this variety of lay ministry and the need to encourage and resource all parishes to be active in developing these gifts and ministries.
Many clergy also desire to encourage lay people with potential gifts into a ministry of preaching and/or leading services of public worship. Readers, of course, exercise this vital ministry under Bishop’s licence. The specific focus of this policy concerns the circumstances under which permission to lead public worship and to preach might be given at a local level to lay people who do not hold a Bishop’s licence but may exercise a preaching and liturgical ministry under Canonical provision, the authority of the Bishop and the supervision of the incumbent.

We continue to affirm our recognised and valuable ministries of Lay Readership, Self Supporting Ministers, Shared Ministry Teams and Local Missional Leaders.

“What you heard from me through many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Tim 2:2)

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Our objective

We would like to:

- See an increase in every parish of individuals sharing in ministry as part of their vocation to be disciples of Christ
- See a significant increase in those offering themselves for discernment towards ordained ministry and other licenced and (recognised ministries including Reader, Pioneering and Local Missional Leadership (LML)
- See a recognition in all our churches of the importance of developing God’s people in their gifts, service and ministries in all areas of life (not just in church settings)
- Encourage the growth of collaborative ministry and leadership in churches, acknowledging the ministry of Shared Ministry Teams.

Releasing Ministry

Click here to download our policy on encouraging increased lay preaching and leading of worship.