Value and Significance of Mutual Ministry
WHAT?! you say? How can that be? Let me explain what I mean.
I was trained in seminary in the 1970s for ministry in the 1950s. It was
very much the “Father Knows Best” model of ministry. The priest of a
congregation was a benevolent ruler who not only led worship and provided
pastoral care, but offered benevolent leadership in all matters. Father made
every day-to-day decision. What style of worship? What Sunday School
curriculum? What evening will be Bible study be on? Who will be a lay reader?
I was taught that this was both a privilege and a responsibility. Yes,
the priest makes all the main decisions. Who knows what trouble lay people
would get into without the wise guidance from their leader? I remember being
told that washing coffee cups after a meeting as a priest was poor leadership.
A good leader would find someone to do that job, and delegate.
In my over forty years in the ordained ministry, I have gradually learned
about the value and significance of mutual ministry— of all of the members of
the body of Christ offering what they can give to the life of the whole. I have
never seen that lived out more than here at St. John’s during these past
strange months we have been journeying through.
Consider what ministries have emerged among us, at the
initiative of members of our community. Shannon Conley and the pastoral care
group have been regularly calling members of the congregation to check in with
them. Shannon and members of the choir on their own have initiated a Zoom
Morning Prayer on their own.
Deacon James Tyree has initiated a Wednesday evening video prayer
service. Greg Taylor has built an impressive new website for St. John’s. He
also has built on my homilies on video, adding lay folk leading prayers and
lessons. Olivia Burke has enriched our life together with glorious musical
offerings. Steve Warren prepares sack meals to take to the homeless every
weekend. Ben Odom and the search committee press forward with the vital task of
selecting a new rector for St. John’s.
Members of our vestry and Resource Development Committee are stewards of
our financial resources and our physical property, as well as taking counsel
for the spiritual well-being of our congregation.
And then there’s you. You join us in prayer. You look in on the various
online offerings. You remember your friends in this church family. You long for
the day when we will gather again and lift our hearts and voices together.
Really, I’m just kind of along for the ride. What an honor to be a part
of this congregation at this time!
—Rev. John Borrego
St. John’s Episcopal Church
235 W Duffy StNorman, OK 73069Office Phone (405) 321-3020