Church members are in the best position to minister to the world. When they go to work, talk with neighbors, volunteer in the community, your members are already in the mission field doing the things their God-given talents have best prepared them to do. When a pastor supports a ministry of the laity, he is multiplying the effectiveness of God's ministry in the world.

What should a supportive pastor be doing:

  • Be a believer. Truly believe that the church is to minister in the world and that the laity have been called to do it.

  • Listen. Ask your members to tell you what they do in their daily routines. Once they believe that you are truly interested, they will tell you.

  • Affirm, affirm, affirm. Affirm that their work is important to God. Do it over and over. They have been raised in a church that told them only you were the minister. So you need to preach, again and again, that their work matters to God.

  • Be patient. It will take time for them to recognize their ministries. After all, being a passive pew sitter is a comfortable way to practice religion. Taking God's ministry into the workplace is more difficult and scarier.

  • Equip. Together with them find the ways they can best carry the Gospel into the world. Help them to make the connections between Sunday and the rest of the week. Help them to help each other.

  • Nourish. Make sure the word you preach, the sacraments they receive, and the worship they experience each Sunday will nourish them for the week ahead.

  • Support. Help them to create their own support groups. You don't have to do it. Just give them the vision and resources.

Reprinted from Ministry in Daily Life by William E. Diehl (AL174) with permission from the Alban Institute, Inc., 7315 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1250W Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3211. Copyright (c) 1996. All rights reserved.

William E. Diehl is president of Riverbend Resource Center, a management consulting firm, and serves on the board of a major steel fabrication company. He has served more than 20 years at the national level of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its predecessor body. He has written six previous books on relating faith to daily life, including The Monday Connection and Thank God, It's Monday! He lives in Emmaus, Pa., and has four children and nine grandchildren.