Just Launched — The Ministry of Acolytes 5: An Acolyte’s Way of Life

We just launched The Ministry of Acolytes 5: An Acolyte’s Way of Life For Individuals and For Groups.

The acolyte ministry can be very rewarding when we bring our whole and committed selves to its mission; when we see it as an opportunity to help shape the spiritual growth of young people in Christ.  When we approach the ministry as formational — as a serious influence on the lives of youth in the church rather than simply as a way for them be involved with liturgy — the nature of the leadership changes. The adult in charge of the ministry does facilitate and organize, but they plan further ahead and with both nuts-and-bolts details and spiritual/formational goals in mind. Such leaders come up with a vision for the ministry’s future, motivate and inspire people to engage that vision, and build and coach a team to achieve it. Then they set new goals, so that the ministry is always growing. 

In this course, Sharon Ely-Pearson and Roger Speer, co-authors of the book I Serve at God’s Altar: The Ministry of Acolytes, offer suggestions for building the acolyte ministry as a formational ministry. Sharon talks about orienting the ministry around The Way of Love a 7-step set of practices out of the Episcopal Church centered on sharing Jesus’ “living, liberating, and life-giving way in the world.”  She also discusses nuts-and-bolts suggestions about inviting acolytes to serve and scheduling and about ways to build relationships between the leader and acolytes. Roger talks about how acolyte leaders build and work toward goals for the ministry. He also discusses setting clear expectations for acolytes and giving them ways to participate in shaping the ministry. 

When approached with this kind of vision and leadership, the acolyte ministry becomes more than a way for kids to participate in worship — it becomes a way of life.

This course is ideal for people who are interested in leading acolytes or other children’s ministries. For a preview of the course, please click here.

Just Launched — The Ministry of Acolytes 4: Tribal Ministry

We have just launched The Ministry of Acolytes 4: Tribal Ministry For Individuals and For Groups.

For many years, kids participated in church ministries because that was what you did.

Then the 1970s happened. People began to question traditional approaches to church-going, but youth-oriented ministries remained popular, partly because of all the guitars.

Today, youth-related ministries have many other activities competing for their time. Kids don’t participate just because that’s what everyone does. This change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — kids participating because they are moved to do so rather than out of inertia is a good thing, right?

But it does mean that organizations like the acolytes ministry cannot expect to run themselves they way they did for decades. Kids join ministries today because they feel drawn to particular sets of values, activities, and people. Sets of people oriented around a common interest or goal can have great influence on how they think and feel and (in the case of the church) how they experience faith.

For this reason, Roger Speer suggests using a new model to build the acolyte ministry: treat the ministry as a tribe. By “tribe,” Roger means a small group of people who share a strong interest in what brings them together; who influence and support each other; and whose leaders share their vision and help them function effectively.

In this class, Roger Speer, Director of student ministries at Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta, Georgia and co-author with Sharon Ely Pearson of the book I Serve at God’s Altar: The Ministry of Acolytes, discusses what tribes are, and what it means to treat a ministry as a tribe. He describes ways to build the ministry so that it brings like-minded kids together and brings them confidence, energy, and respect for their liturgical role. He discusses ways to ensure that the ministry understands its mission and sets itself up to withstands transition in leadership. Finally, he describes the discernment process acolyte leaders should engage and what kind of leader is generally right for the role.

This class is ideal for people who are considering leading acolytes and for churches who are interested in re-energizing their acolyte ministries. For a preview of this course, please click here.