I’ve been thinking lately about growth, and about Westside’s hope that we can invite more people to join us in community. Many things have been happening to move in that direction, including changes in our Sunday morning worship and Religious Exploration routine, our ways of thinking about being together as a community of all ages, and our approaches to leadership. One important shift many of you may not know much about is the revived role of our Committee on Ministry.
In the past, UU churches often had “Ministerial Relations Committees” which were designed to essentially serve as liaisons between clergy and lay people. This had some benefits, but often had the undesired side effect of making it seem that only the professional minister performed ‘ministry’ at a church. In fact, every single person at Westside—long-term members, friends, even new guests—is performing ministry as part of our community. The Committee on Ministry is meant to oversee and support all the ministries of the church.
So, for example, coffee hour is a fellowship ministry, in which we build healing and supportive relationships. Adult RE is a ministry, in which we explore and grow, and help one another develop as people. Social Justice is a ministry to the community both within and outside our doors. And financial support of Westside is a form of ministry to our church family, and to the community at large.
Everything we do can be seen as a ministry, for ‘ministry’ simply means healing service.
The word “minister” comes, at its most basic, from the root word meaning ‘minus’ or ‘lesser’—it refers in this sense to one who serves a higher cause, one who subordinates oneself to a higher purpose. In Latin and old French, it referred to being a ‘servant’ or of service. And since all of us have the capacity to serve, that means I am not the only minister in the building. You are all WUUC ministers, too.
Every moment has the potential to be a moment of ministry, and every person has the ability to ‘minister’ to others. If we seek to grow and expand the ministry of our congregation, then we must each of us find new ways to minister to one another and to our larger community. So perhaps we might all consider this question: in what ways am I growing my own, personal ministry at Westside? If you can, think of two or three ways you might, in small or large ways, expand your ministry at Westside. This might mean making a follow-up phone call to a visitor you met at coffee hour. It might mean offering to participate in an activity that feels a little out of your comfort zone. It might mean attending a new class or group, or purposefully sitting with people you don’t usually sit next to.
If we are to be successful in expanding the ministry of our congregation, then we must all take up the good work of expanding our ‘ministries’ in the community. Every small act can be seen as a ministry, and when they are honored as such, these acts of service have incredible power. I invite you to consider the power you have to transform yourself and our world through your own, unique ministry.
In faith and fellowship,