Continuing my series of messages about ministry teams, in this column I hope to begin providing some slightly more concrete details about what I have in mind. In the first two installments, my goal was to express the overall concept and to define some important terms, as well as to give a broad, general description of what I think this system of ministry teams can do for our parish. Today, I invite you to dig in a little deeper with me—below, I have drafted Vision and Mission Statements for teams to oversee each of what I’m calling the “Principal Ministries” of the Church. The idea here is that a vision statement describes what a particular ministry will (with God’s help) “look like” when it’s fully up and running and functioning in a healthy, sustainable manner; a mission statement, on the other hand, denotes the specific work the team will do in order to bring about that vision. That said, one more note about Principal Ministries:
Principal Ministries ~ To Preach, Teach, Heal, and Make Disciples
I am labeling the ministries of worship, Christian formation, pastoral care, and missions as “principal” because these ministries must be first and foremost in priority for us ~ not so much for us as All Saints Episcopal Church, specifically, but for us as baptized Christians. These ministries comprise the “Gospel imperatives” of preaching, teaching, healing, and making disciples. They encapsulate and embody the very essence of our baptismal covenant, the disciplined work (i.e., discipleship) to which each and every baptized Christian is called when sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own, forever.
To be clear, these ministries are not things we are commanded to do in order that we be saved. That is not how grace works! No, these ministries are the specific ways we are both inwardly compelled and outwardly called to express our overwhelming gratitude for the grace that God has freely given us in baptism. These four ministry areas, thus, represent the core ~ the very heart and soul ~ of what it means to be Christian. To the extent that any committed community is actively doing these four things, that community is a church, an assembly of the Body of Christ. If ever a church ceases to do these things, it ceases to be a church at that point, no matter what other good works it might support.
In other words, these are the ministries that are, for the Christian, not negotiable. These are the “must haves” and “gotta do’s.” That’s why I’m writing about these four first. It’s not that other ministries are not extremely important; it’s that these four are foundational, making all the others possible.
To help kickstart this process of (re)organizing ourselves along the lines of the ministry team model, I’m proposing the following vision and mission statements for each of our ministry teams. As a reminder of the difference between the two, a vision statement is oriented towards the future ~ what we would like to see the ministry in question grow into ~ whereas a mission statement seeks to capture what the team in question actually does in the present moment. Put another way, our vision expresses our hopes and aspirations, while our mission defines our work and activities.
Vision: Worship at All Saints will be a lively, welcoming, engaging, and communal experience of prayer, praise, and sacraments, rooted in the tradition of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church as expressed in the Book of Common Prayer.
Mission: The Worship Ministry Team shall work with and assist the clergy of All Saints in their work of planning services and of deciding the details of weekly, monthly, and seasonal observances for the shared worship of the parish.
Vision: Christian formation at All Saints will provide an integrated program of instruction in the Christian faith, across all age groups, as understood in the Anglican tradition and received by The Episcopal Church, including Scripture and catechism as well as Christian discipleship.
Mission: The Christian Formation Ministry Team will work with the clergy and staff of All Saints, under the direction of the rector, to plan and implement Christian education curricula and formation opportunities for the parish, recruit and oversee volunteers for Sunday School and Youth Group classes and events, and foster inter-generational educational and formational activities for the parish.
Vision: Pastoral care at All Saints will embody the healing, nurturing, and nourishing presence of Jesus Christ in the lives of our parishioners in times of joy and celebration as well as in times of loss and suffering, in response to Jesus’s call to “feed my sheep” and to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Mission: The Pastoral Care Ministry Team will coordinate with the rector/clergy of All Saints to discover and assess the pastoral needs of the congregation, to determine appropriate responses to those needs (i.e., to discern opportunities for lay ministry and specific needs for pastoral care from clergy), to implement those responses, and to recruit, train, organize, and oversee volunteer providers of pastoral care within the congregation.
Vision: All Saints Episcopal Church will strive to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Jesus Christ, embodying both within our congregation and in the larger community around us the healing and teaching ministries of Jesus, in order to proclaim the Gospel, to bring others to Christ and make disciples, and to promote truth-telling, justice, and reconciliation amongst everyone.
Mission: The Missions Ministry Team will seek out and create opportunities for evangelism within the parish and especially within the larger community, coordinating All Saints Church’s efforts to proclaim and demonstrate, in word and action, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Working with the clergy and staff of All Saints, the team will identify and respond to the needs of the community through events, programs, workshops, etc., that call and invite people to new life in Christ.
To conclude for today, if you feel any curiosity about or interest in any of these four major ministry areas, please contact the church office or contact me, directly, and let’s talk about it. We need to recruit members especially for Worship, Christian Formation, and Missions as quickly as we can; Pastoral Care is already up and running, and we need to get the other three going soon, as well. Remember, no particular expertise is required ~ just a sincere desire to live out your baptismal covenant and to grow in your walk with Jesus Christ. I look forward to hearing from y’all!
Peace & blessings,