Setting God’s People Free
A report by the Lay Leadership Task Group
The Task Group was originally asked to review lay leadership, in particular beyond the walls of the church. To do so, it became clear that we needed to broaden our focus to encompass lay discipleship. This report is not an exhaustive exploration of the role of the laity or of lay discipleship. Rather, we see the report as marking the start of a vital journey.
The report was overwhelmingly endorsed by General Synod in February 2017.
A great opportunity lies before us. It is the same opportunity that has presented itself to the Church in every decade for the last 100 years. It is an opportunity that arguably has not been fully grasped since the days of Wesley.
Will we determine to empower, liberate and disciple the 98% of the Church of England who are not ordained and therefore set them free for fruitful, faithful mission and ministry, influence, leadership and, most importantly, vibrant relationship with Jesus in all of life? And will we do so not only in church-based ministry on a Sunday but in work and school, in gym and shop, in field and factory, Monday to Saturday?
At the outset, to avoid misunderstanding, we emphasise the following points about this report:
- It calls for a shift in culture - not a narrow, centrally driven strategy.
- It looks beyond and outside Church structures to the whole people of God at work in communities and wider society - not to 'fixing' the institutional Church.
- It seeks to affirm and enable the complementary roles and vocations of clergy and of lay people, grounded in our common baptism - not to blur or undermine these distinctions.
- It proposes steps to nourish, illuminate and connect what is working already in and through frontline parishes - not to institute a top down approach.
- It aims to see confident involvement, engagement and leadership of lay people wherever they are called to serve - not to devise lay alternatives to clergy.
Setting God's People Free - Summary Version