In a world where the church is faced with declining attendance, financial constraints and a shortage of clergy, is it possible to establish a new vitality and energy? According to Robin Greenwood, if we as a church let go of the idea that we are marginalized, then we can become confident enough to boldly discover diverse and holistic ways of re-imagining the church. When faced with diminishing congregations, instead of looking for someone to blame we can ask: “What is there which is hopeful and fully alive, speaking of the liberating power of God? What can we offer to people and society who are searching for meaning in daily work and relationships?” There exists within the church a damaging split between clergy and laity, with laity being seen as somehow inferior. What is needed is to recapture the original concept of laity as the royal priesthood of all believers.
In this book, Greenwood argues that in the Local Ministry movement every Christian person has a gift to offer. Everyone, with their particular personality integrated with everyone else, is set free to do what is necessary for the church to be church. The Local Ministry movement gives a freedom to explore the many connections between faith and life, emphasizing well-being, celebration, hope and enjoyment. It is by working together in collaborative ministry that it is possible to renew the church.
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Robin Greenwood is a practical theologian with over 30 years of experience reflecting strategically on the character and task of the church. He has resourced conferences and workshops in several provinces of the Anglican Communion and written widely on ministry issues. Currently he is Ministry Officer for the Church in Wales and a director of the Edward King Institute for Ministry Development. He is a member of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. His other works include Parish Priests (2009), Transforming Priesthood (2002), The Ministry Team Handbook (2000) and Local Ministry (2006).