MINISTRY IN DAILY LIFE
Ideas from ELCA
Here are a number of ideas about ways congregations can
nurture ministry in daily life, as reported in a survey
conducted by the Division for Ministry of the ELCA.
These suggestions are not just theoretical. The
congregations have used them in practice. They occur within
existing congregational structures and programs (e.g.,
confirmation, worship, adult education) and are not
"add-ons." For further information, contact Sally Simmel,
Division for Ministry, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago IL
60631-4195, e-mail email@example.com, phone 800-638-3522,
Have an ongoing mentoring program for
confirmands that lasts throughout the confirmation
period. Adult mentors are trained and they and their
confirmand partners go into the mentor's workplace, to
the confirmand's workplace, to a neo-natal unit and to a
cemetery. Sharing faith stories is central - e.g.,
police officer mentor talks with confirmands about "Thou
shalt not steal." Mentor is part of confirmation service
along with baptismal sponsor.
Ask confirmands to make a confirmation stole, with 3
symbols of faith on one side, 3 symbols of activities in
daily life on the other.
2. New Members
Conduct interviews with all new members to
discern their gifts, leading to specific "callings" to
areas of ministry where they want to grow.
Use "Monday's Ministers" by William Diehl in member
classes to help new members recognize their callings to
ministry in daily life.
Offer "Discipleship education" for all new members,
after which trained consultants sit down with graduates
to discuss how and when they want to serve.
Introduce new members to the congregation along with
the location of their ministries in daily life.
Set explicit expectations for new members, including
ministry in daily life.
Use material from workplace visits for examples
Have as a regular part of worship a "Mission Minute",
a presentation (perhaps by video) of someone's ministry
in daily life.
Select a "minister of the week" who talks about his or
her ministry during worship, and then that person's
ministry is prayed for during the week. Include children
as well as seniors.
During Lenten services have members give talks about a
connection between a beatitude and daily life or between
a scriptural practice and daily life. This compels lay
members to reflect on the intersections between their
faith and daily life.
On certain occasions during the year worship can
center on an occupation which is recognized and affirmed
- e.g., Festival of St. Luke might feature health care,
or on Labor Day, members' occupations recognized -
"love in work clothes."
4. Workplace Visits
Have the pastor do regular workplace visits to
affirm laity and link Sunday to the workplace.
Some pastors who do workplace visits regularly say
about them: "People listen more intently because they
know I care." "As you get to know the people, you find
out how important their work is, so it is natural to
visit them at work." "I am intentional in touching
'everyday life' for people and not leaving them so
5. Vision, Mission, Logos, (consciousness
Vision statements and stewardship emphasis can
be vehicles for focus on ministry in daily life.
Consider a year's theme of "Everyone a Minister," with
banners, T-shirts, etc.
Have a map of the community with pins showing where
members spend their time - "Where in the world is St.
Make a slide show of the daily life ministries of
"Duck Award" - a duck head on a plunger is given
monthly to someone who sticks his or her neck out in
faith in some activity in the world.
Begin meetings with "What exciting thing happened in
your ministry this week?"
Use "SPLASH" materials and "Connections: Faith and
Life" (Augsburg-Fortress) with the congregation.
Reflect ministry in daily life in the
congregation's mission statement, e.g.: "The Holy Spirit
empowers us for ministry in daily life."
Where possible have a Director of Member Ministries
who helps people identify their gifts, visits workplaces
and works with staff to emphasize MIDL in all the
Have a Shared Ministries Committee to include all
members in some area of extended ministry.
Job descriptions of congregational staff and their
evaluations should include focus on their support of
members' ministries in the world.