We say as a parish that our goal is… every member a minister (and if Nativity is where you typically go to church, you are a member). And this weekend is a very special weekend for us, as we welcome commitments from members to join us as ministers.
A minister is kind of like a volunteer in that they freely give up some of their time to serve without pay, on behalf of some good cause. However, we use the word minister because it is a biblical word. In the Old Testament those who serve in the Temple and in the New Testament those who serve in the Church are called ministers, and their service is called ministry.
Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians:
And he gave some as apostles,
others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ.
According to the Bible my job isn’t the ministry of the parish but rather equipping you for the work of ministry.
Over the last few years, we’ve tried to simplify this to make it easy to understand and entirely accessible. So, we talk about four different categories of Ministry Teams.
One is Hospitality: our Parking Team, Greeters, Host Team and Café Team. Our Hospitality Ministers create layers of welcome and acceptance that shape the experience of “radical hospitality” we’re after.
Next is Operations: our Ops Ministers are environmental architects. They’re creating the irresistible environment that we think is essential to attracting the unchurched. This also includes our tech team and camera crews. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a technical person, we’ll train you and it isn’t as hard as it looks. I couldn’t do it, but many of you could.
Then there’s Children’s Ministry: Children’s ministry includes working directly with children from 6 weeks to ten years old, but there are also behind the scenes roles you can serve in too.
And our Student Ministry: these programs serve Middle and High School students at a critical juncture in their lives. Like Children’s ministry there are opportunities to serve behind the scenes or work directly with students.
In all these ministries, we are not asking for a huge time commitment. In many roles we’re looking for two hours, once or twice a month. Our schedulers and ministry leaders work hard to accommodate people’s busy and complicated schedules. And because of the sheer number of people in ministry here, no one is ever “stuck.”
At the end of all Masses this weekend we’ll invite members to come forward and make a commitment to serve. We’re looking for hundreds of new ministers.
I am often asked, “How do you get so many parishioners to serve?” Well, we’ve cracked the code on that. We ask them.