The authorised for Lay Ministry (ALM) training scheme was developed in 2001 to provide a range of courses to equip people for lay ministry in the local church and parish. There werea number of ministry electives which gave a specialised forus where appropriate. The ALM scheme came to a natural end around 2020 as churches grappled with the covid pandemic.
Since 2020 a more flexible and adaptive approach has underpinned the desire to equip, encourange and develop local lay ministry. Recognising lay ministry locally is largely the responsibility of the incumbents and PCC, with some lay ministries (ie. Anna Chaplaincy and Lay Funeral Ministry) recognised at diocesan level and others (ie. Readers / Licensed Lay Ministry) at national level.
What is Locally Recognised Lay Ministry?
All disciples are called to a life of Christian service and ministry. Disciples don't need any special permission to do this other than the commission they received at baptism. We all express our faith in our daily lives, not just when we gather in church, this often referred to as 'everyday faith'.
The ministry which some lay people exercise is seen by others as being representative of the local church leadership. This is most obvious where there is visible 'up front' ministry such as leading worship or pastoral care and is being exercised in the name of the church. It is good ministerial practice for these ministeries to be recognised more formally by the incumbent and PCC/s.
How is it Discerned, Recognised, Equipped and Overseen?
Discernment - This may simply involve acknowledging the gifting and experience of lay people alongside their sense of calling. The diocesan Deepening Discipleship course could be used to assist people as they explore their gifting and calling as disciples and potential ministers.
Recognition - is likely to involve agreeing a role description and ministry agreement prior to the incumbent and PCC authorising the lay minister. Authorisation should be time limited and subject to supervision, review and may be renewable. It is often appropriate to mark the recognition during a suitable service in the local church.
Safeguarding - it is the responsibility of the local parish to ensure that the mandatory safeguarding checks and training are in place.
Equipping for ministry - Taking into account gifting and prior experience, appropriate training may be neccesary and could take the form of local bespoke training / mentoring, diocesan equipping for ministry courses or some other ministerial training course or study. This could take place before authorisation or may follow 'on the job' as agreed locally.
Supervision and Oversight - It is the responsiblity of the incumbent and PCC to ensure that appropriate supervision and support is provided. This will involve:
- regular meetings
- knowing who to turn to when faced with a difficult situation
- opportunities for reflective practice
- Deepening Discipleship
- Lay Worship Leading
- Lay Pastoral Ministry
- Lay Funeral Ministry
- Anna Chaplaincy
Good Practice Guidance:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Role Descriptions (Word), (PDF)
- Ministry Agreements (Word), (PDF)
|Diocesan Lay Ministries Adviser
|Information and advice on good practice on any aspect of lay ministry
|Mission and Ministry Administrator
|course information and expressions of interest