Have you heard of the concept of shared ministry? Unitarian Universalism was born from the Congregationalist arm of Christianity. In fact, many of the ideas we carry today come from our Puritan ancestors, including congregational polity. Congregational polity is the idea that the congregation’s members make decisions for, and choose the direction of, the congregation. Congregational polity means the congregation chooses its own ministers, in fact in our tradition a minister must be ordained by a congregation. With congregational polity make our own decisions about our mission and the direction we take the congregation. It is from this that we also gain the concept of shared ministry.
To quote the Unitarian Universalist Association website: (uua.org) Ministry is no longer an act provided only by those who are ordained or called to serve. Ministry happens whenever individuals embrace the belief that their good works, their volunteerism, their acts, can help serve the mission and vision of their congregation.
Shared ministry means that we are all called to live the ministry, the work, of this church. The congregation and its work and mission belong to all of us, the ministry of the church belongs to all of us.
The ministries of this congregation can be thought about in terms of program areas: outreach work, pastoral care, religious exploration, and worship are all a part of that. But shared ministry also encompasses the way we come together when someone is in need, the way we support each other during coffee hour, or in gatherings that happen during the week.
What ways have you seen shared ministry in this congregation? What form of ministry calls you? Do you want to offer your gifts to our children, to welcoming and supporting members, to making the Sunday service shine, to helping the congregation create a more just world or are you called to offer something we haven’t seen? I’d love to talk about your gifts and hopes. Let me know if you’d like to chat.
Take Care, Rev. Jennifer Gray