A few years back an Anglican church in New Zealand set sail on a voyage of discovery. Could they manage as a faith community without a paid vicar? It would mean discovering what gifts they had among themselves and whether these were enough to carry them forward as a church.
During a period of discernment people's stories were told and gifts and vocations became apparent. Among them were administrative and pastoral gifts; gifts of teaching and preaching, worship gifts and those of hospitality and of social concern. Everyone had a gift or skill they could offer and all were needed; a place for all.
Ministry and Worship Teams were formed to give structure and to enable all who wanted to be fully involved. Three of the Team have been recognized as sacramental ministers. The Eucharist is celebrated regularly. The church has an Enabler who 'helps to steer us all in the right direction and keeps the pedals turning.'
Once a year church members are invited to join with other Local Shared Ministry teams and there are regular workshop and training sessions to help continue to equip this locally based ministry. These include taking part in the Myers Briggs personality type workshop, an important aid to many different personalities working together as a team. For this church community coming together in this way is not only about doing, but about being a community of faith in the area where they live and worship.
The journey has not been an easy one. There have been storms and difficult passages to navigate. But they have found themselves growing spiritually and being enriched by the experience. For them it is proving 'to be a wonderful voyage'.
|© New Way of Being Church 2007|