Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Celebrating Lay Leadership of Liturgy

In just over a week's time I have to give a workshop on the title of this post. I think an important question to guide my preparation is 'What can we do to ensure there is something to celebrate?' The answer involves developing, nurturing, training, honouring, and trusting lay leaders of our worship. My surprise in the church as I move around parishes is how little there seems to be to celebrate. I think there are less lay leaders of worship than there used to be (say) 10 years ago. Yet there is something to celebrate because the lay leaders I sit under are doing a great job.

My mind is often exercised by the question why there are less leaders. There are some answers around the busyness of people, the difficulty of getting people to commit to certain responsible tasks, let alone to sign up to extensive training. But I do wonder if a key for transforming the situation is a renewed vision among clergy for developing lay leadership.

Will keep you posted.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
I'm willing to throw in a couple of suggestions as to why Lay Leadership of formal services has declined from my own observations.

It appears to me that some parishes have lost the culture of "grooming" appropriate people into these positions.

Also, I think in alot of places the earlier "Litugical services" get put on the back burner compared to more modern, or family services. With most effort and energy going into these services it's easier for a Vicar to just do it themselves, and mumble through the form.

just a couple of observations.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
Apologies for delay in publishing your comment - have been away (need to moderate by the way 'cause 'odd' comments (automated??) get posted without moderation).

We have in some instances 'lost the culture' as you say. Its certainly hard work to recruit, groom, and coach people into new roles. And this is this love affair with 'mod' services which puts more formal services 'on the back burner'. There is then a self-defeating circle: only the old people come to the formal service so its not worth putting much effort in, so younger people definitely do not come!

My theory is that effort put into all services is always productive of congregational numbers, quality of engagement by the congregations, and new possibilities for broadening the leadership bases of these services.

Peter Carrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liturgeist said...

I posted above as anonymous, could work this counfounded interweb joining page, but now have a handle on it, and a handle "liturgeist".

I think youre right about catering to the older folk, operhaps it would be beneficial for us to start shouldertapping the younger ones and getting them involved. Whatever happened to short courses to upskill youngsters? I would love to see clergy intentionally targeting some of the younger ones in our congregation and discipling them in this area.