Q. What is the ministry of the laity?
A. The ministry of the laity is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given to them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.
--Q&A from The Book of Common Prayer (in "An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism")
Gifts of the Baptized
Baptized persons are called to be actively involved in Christian life.
Each baptized person brings unique gifts to ministry, including gifts of time, talent and treasure. Baptized persons are musicians, teachers, learners, leaders, workers and supporters of work, and have the opportunity to move in and out of various roles as they discern where the needs of the community, gathered and scattered, match with the gifts of the individual.
Baptized persons, through their faithfulness, integrity and compassion, carry on the work of reconciliation in the gathered community and in their witness and service to the community at large.
Ministry of the Baptized Within the Community:
Baptized persons are called to continue in the Apostle’s teachings and in prayer.
The liturgy begins with the gathering of the people whose faithful presence in prayer and praise enables the creation of a community that is welcoming, inclusive and reconciling.
The baptized may serve with the clergy in the ministry of word and sacrament, as ushers or hosts, acolytes, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, lay preachers, Eucharistic visitors and worship leaders, as well as through music and preparation of the altar.
Baptized persons have roles within the life and governance of the parish. They financially support the work of the Church through prayerful stewardship. Their presence on vestries, committees and boards assures the orderly management of parish affairs, including business matters, stewardship of property, the work of hospitality to all, and ministry in pursuit of social and economic justice.
Baptized persons have roles as teachers and continuing learners in the formation of mature Christians who seek to develop a Christ-centered pattern of life.
All of this work is sustained through the prayers and gifts of the faithful.
Scattered throughout the community, baptized persons witness in word and deed to the good news of reconciliation through Christ; such witness is their most powerful tool for evangelism. This includes faithfully joining with others in ecumenical and interfaith actions, witnessing to the spirit of reconciliation within the community.
Through secular employment and work with community agencies, they are called to carry out their baptismal vows to “seek Christ in all persons” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people.”
Ministry of the Baptized in the Diocese
Baptized persons serve with clergy as delegates to regional convocations and to the annual diocesan convention, representing the people in the formation of vision and policy. They serve on a variety of boards, councils and commissions for the diocese.
Through the diocesan cycle of prayer, they support the work of parishes, missions and ministries throughout the diocese.
Within the region, the Diocese of Missouri exercises its prophetic voice to call for compassionate justice for God’s people and care for God’s Earth. The work of the diocese is supported through faithful stewardship of the baptized.
Ministry of the Baptized within the Church and the World
Bearing the message of reconciliation to a broken world, baptized persons are found serving through national and international ministries, including representation at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the National Council of Churches and the Anglican Communion. They join in prayer for people throughout the world and for peace in the world.
Through gifts of time, talent and treasure, baptized persons reach out in love in the name of Christ throughout the world.