Disciple: Preach It!
The Lay Preaching Training Initiative enters next phase
In the prologue of John’s Gospel, the gospel writer makes a profound connection between the word and flesh. A word by itself can remain an abstract idea. Words like “love,” “forgiveness,” “justice” and “mercy” sound good in principle, but they take on a new life and meaning when they are embodied in the person and actions of a living, breathing human being who is faced with all of the challenges and complexities of our world.
Preaching is a moment in our worship when word and flesh come together. The preacher joins the word, which was proclaimed generations ago, with our lived experiences here and now. It involves more than an exposition of text. Preaching happens in a community, always reaching toward the questions “How does this word speak to us today?” and “How do we respond?”
NOT JUST FOR CLERGY
Our lay preachers come from different backgrounds. Many came from other denominations before finding a home in The Episcopal Church. Some participated in an ordination exploration process, while others are called in different ways. Some received formal training from seminaries and colleges, while others were trained locally by their clergy. One of the joyful gifts that a lay preacher offers the life of the community is a visible, physical reminder of the call for all to proclaim the gospel. Jesse Griffin, a lay preacher at St. Andrew’s, Haw River, shared that “the Bible is for all people. The scriptures are to be read, interpreted and struggled with.” As a preacher, he says, it is exciting to look closely at the texts and draw on the scholarship of others. “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
TRAINING FOR LAY PREACHERS
The Episcopal Preaching Foundation will continue to work closely with our trainers to implement the training in the Diocese and adapt it for our needs. They have plans to gather all of the trainers and participants in this first round in person some time in 2022 or 2023 when it is safe to do so. This is paid for by the grant.
The Diocese of North Carolina has long been supportive of lay leadership and ministry. We are excited to take part in this new opportunity to help those called to lay preaching achieve their goal and take us yet another step closer to Becoming Beloved Community.
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT PREACHING?
- Be comfortable with your own faith. As one of the cornerstones of preaching is sharing the Good News, it’s important to be comfortable talking about your own faith. Embark on conversations with others; if you need conversation starters, try a “Go Speak” gathering or simply use the cards as prompts.
- Embark on a study of scripture. As a preacher, you will be helping others learn the meaning behind scriptures. Deepen your own studies, either formally or informally. Great ways to start include Bible studies, Education for Ministry (EfM), Church Next, CALL courses, The Iona Collaborative, online courses, Academia de Liderazgo or similar programs.
- Take a leadership role. As your comfort and studies progress, take a leadership role in your own church’s formation offerings. Lead a Bible study or teach a Sunday school or adult formation class; all are great ways to take next steps on your journey to becoming a lay preacher.
The Rev. Canon Earnest Graham is a regional canon in the Diocese of North Carolina.
Tags: North Carolina Disciple