Mission resources

All Are Called to Serve: Lay Ministry Teams

Life in the Church, to which every Christian is called, is a permanent ministry, in which the Christian serves God through the Church, and serves the Church itself. 'For the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many' (Mark 10.45, cf. Matthew 20.28). This was the new principle, hitherto unknown to human society, which was the basis of the Church's life. In the Church, life and ministry are one and the same, because in the Church the Holy Spirit, by which and in which the Church lives, forms the principle of activity. Where the Spirit is, there is life also, and hence action and ministry.

The whole of St Paul's doctrine about the 'the work of the ministry' is based on the words of Christ quoted above. The work of ministry is incumbent upon all the members of the Church, but they do not all minister in the same way; they render service in accordance with the gifts they have received (I Cor 12.4-6).

- Fr Nicholas Afanasiev

It is in keeping with this Orthodox Christian teaching that "in the Church, life and ministry are one and the same" that we are inviting all those who attend services at Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Mission to step forward in faith, join themselves to the heart of our mission and to take up their baptismal vocation as co-ministers in the body of Christ.

The basis of our common life in Christ is our communion in the Eucharist, our corporate prayer and personal ascetical life and unique ministry according to the gifts we have received in the Holy Spirit. These are the three themes of our mission 'rule of life', our common participation in the mission of God to the world.

As we go forward together, proclaiming the Kingdom of God to our world—indeed, enacting the Kingdom in the world—there are various areas of ministry in which we can participate. For some people, their gifts are clear and one or more areas of ministry easily chosen, but if you are open to serving and unclear on how to do that, please speak to Fr Geoffrey to help you to discern your unique ministry.

Discover more about the six areas of lay ministry:

The ministry of worship includes those who serve in the choir, as acolytes, and those who help to set up before and clean up after services. It also involves planning/scheduling services and reflecting on our liturgical life together, helping to increase worship involvement through such things congregational singing and full participation in liturgical action.

The ministry of hospitality involves not only welcoming visitors, but ensuring that our worship and other activities are accessible to and friendly to all, no matter the background, family shape or circumstances. One of the projects will be creating and/or procuring booklets and leaflets to provide visitors with information on our mission and worship, as well as the Orthodox Christian church and faith. This ministry also includes following up with those who are absent, coordinating fellowship hour, and arranging our mission's social activities and excursions like pilgrimages.

The ministry of teaching encompasses both adult catechesis (instruction of enquirers and catechumens, and ongoing Christian education) as well as instructional programmes for children. This ministry will support our mission's responsibility for Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the university, and will also liaise with the graduate school of Orthodox theology at Trinity College (where taking courses on an audit or credit basis can be part of adult education).

The ministry of service and outreach is focused mainly on our immediate community, providing practical support to people in need on our university campus (a small city itself with 60,000 'residents') and the surrounding neighbourhood. It addresses itself to other marginalised communities—people who are hospitalised or shut in, in hospices, in prison, etc. Delivering service activities will involve working in partnership with other Orthodox parishes and/or other Christian churches and agencies. Current service projects include the establishment and development of Myrrhbearers Traditional Christian Burial Society and St Hermione Lay Pastoral Visitors programme.

The ministry of stewardship will assist all members of our mission to understand the utmost spiritual necessity of offering ourselves sacrificially to our Lord and the service of His Kingdom. It will also coordinate fundraising to support our ministry activities.

The ministry of administration within our mission is naturally centred on the annually-elected parish council (which, as with all ministries, must be led by those who are core and fully committed members), but all members—especially those with a gift for an area of administration—are welcome to attend and consider serving in this capacity.

Selected Articles on Mission Development, Life and Outreach

Articles and resources on the organisation, life and outreach of a mission-minded Orthodox parish.

Teaching and Guidance

Research Documents

  • ʺGo and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishesʺ - Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, Committee for Agencies and Endorsed Organizations