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Marks of Ministry of a Worship Leader and Lay Preacher

 The following is a concise and comprehensive description of what the United Reformed Church can reasonably expect of people who are called to be a Worship Leader or a Lay Preacher.

It is not intended to be an exhaustive list and it is not expected that every Worship Leader or Lay Preacher will exhibit all of these marks. It is acknowledged that what this will look like in each Worship Leader or Lay Preacher will vary depending on the context, the individual, and the specific ministry to which they are called.

Both a Worship Leader and a Lay Preacher in the United Reformed Church (URC) seeks to be:

  • A faithful disciple of Jesus Christ: caught up in the joy and wonder of God’s will and work; seeking always to live a holy life in public and in private; sustained by their own rhythm of prayer, Bible reading and worship; open to journeying as a disciple with others.
  • A person of accountability: committed to serving as a lay preacher within the conciliar oversight of the church; willing to engage in systems of support and mentoring for Worship Leaders and Lay Preachers; willing to engage in mandatory training including safeguarding; ready to collaborate with others for the mission of God.
  • A crafter of worship: sensitive to the many traditions and styles within the church yet confident to create and advocate new forms as appropriate by combining theological and liturgical knowledge and understanding with technical and practical skills; able to administer the Sacraments if authorised to do so.
  • A preacher: passionate and effective in breaking open God’s Word in preaching; to be relevant in the world whilst retaining their prophetic edge to equip God’s people in their mission and discipleship to share the Gospel and to live God’s Kingdom of justice and peace to the full.
  • A lifelong learner: self-aware and committed to lifelong learning reflecting and re- examining the message they communicate; aware of their own strengths, gifts and limitations and thus willing to seek support when and where necessary; making use of the URC provision for on-going training for lay preachers.
  • A contextual theologian: delighting in Scripture rooted in the Reformed tradition; able to communicate their own faith and its implications; able to encourage others to discover how these rich resources inspire and sustain faithfulness.
  • A pastor: demonstrates pastoral care through preaching and prayer; confidently adapts when pastoral circumstances dictate.
  • A public figure: reliable and effective in representing the Church in preaching and/or service reading.
  • A reformer: able to help congregations to discern and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit as new chapters open in the life of the Church and others close.

Mission Council March 2021

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United Reformed Church