Candid lay leadership plan from Episcopalian chaplaincies bishop

Another reason I like out-of-the-way churches (if not so out of the way as Tristan da Cunha or South Georgia Island) is that they tend to cut through to essentials. If there are only a scant number of English speaking Christians in Country X, you had better not appeal to a strict form of churchmanship or nationalism, even if your church is the American Church of Y, or the Scots Church of Z.

This is also why I like looking at military models of doing church: the leadership seems to value getting the mission accomplished. Go figure.  Since chaplains can’t be deployed everywhere, lay leadership (for one) is important. One of my favorite sites — not the most exhaustive, but oddly endearing — is for lay leadership aboard submarines.

When US denominations talk about training lay leaders, the program information gets very bureaucratic and initially quite theoretical, as if these lend a cache of “real ministry.” (Insert mocking laughter here.)  So I was delighted to run across the one page description of the lay leadership “program” supervised by the Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies (US Episcopal Church). It involves self-reflection, a distributed mentorship, and three book study and testing. Not a replacement for seminaries or holy orders, nor is it billed as such.

But the sweet part is the justification for the three books selected:

  • have a good grasp of what it means to be a Christian in the Episcopal Church tradition (book A.);
  • be a person who is growing in his/her devotional life (book B.); 
  • be proficient in the craft of leading appropriate services in the absence of a priest, (book C.).

That brings it back to basics. If we create lay leadership programs, I hope we can be as plain.
Lay Leader Study Course

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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