The vocation of all God’s people
Most of the time when people talk about ‘vocations’, they actually mean hearing God’s call to be ordained as a clergy person. Vocations actually embraces much more than that. God could be calling you to serve him as a lay person, perhaps even in the job or the role that you are already doing.
The national Church of England has recognised that lay people have a massive part to play in the flourishing of God’s church. What they do from Monday to Saturday in the world of work, school or college might have more impact that what a clergy person does on a Sunday with a congregation. They’ve put together a report called Setting God’s People Free, which examines how lay people can be empowered and equipped to do God’s work outside the church community.
Our diocese is a pilot diocese for this work, and you can read more about how we’re involved here. Below you can also read about examples of lay people who are already making a difference in our world.
Lay Ministry Training
The diocese also offers a number of resources for lay people who wish to exercise a certain lay ministry in the church through a locally commissioned role. There are a number of such courses that take about a term to complete.
- Lay Pastoral Assistant (LPA): this course is designed for those who wish to undertake pastoral visiting for a church.
- Lay Worship Leader (LWL): this course is for those called to lead non-Eucharistic worship in church
If you think you are called to such a role, please contact your parish priest.
Reader Ministry (Licensed Lay Ministry)
The ministry of Readers was revived in the Church of England in 1867, but has a far longer history, tracing its origins to the Elizabethan church and before. Like clergy, Readers hold the bishop’s licence, but they offer a lay ministry focused on preaching and teaching. They are often described as the church’s lay theologians. In Portsmouth diocese Readers are trained on the Portsmouth Pathway.
Those wishing to explore a calling to Reader ministry should contact their parish priest. Further information about Reader ministry in Portsmouth diocese can be found here.
Lay people can also become pioneer ministers, finding new ways to reach people with the good news, or to create worshipping communities. Pioneer ministers work to discover what kind of approach works best in their community (which might be different to another community).
The Church Mission Society runs a range of training courses to help those who fell called to lay pioneer ministry. Click here to find out more.