If you want . . .

to orient committee members to their role under the new model

The Ministry of Committees on the Ministry
A Resource for Committees on the Ministry


The Ministry Issues Pronouncement affirmed that the work of a Committee on the Ministry is itself a ministry. It is not just tracking the progress of members in discernment but rather engaging with them in a holistic process of discernment and assessment. This may be a new role to some on the committee, and for all members it requires developing certain skills and habits.

This resource is designed as a workshop that takes about two hours.

I. Warm-up Reflection
The Ministry Issues Pronouncement affirms that the work of a Committee on the Ministry is itself a ministry. Therefore, faithful and effective committee service is characterized by certain “marks” just like authorized ministries. In your experience, what characterizes faithful and effective COM ministry? In other words, what qualities and skills are important for you to exercise in your service as a committee member?

  • Brainstorm and create a list. Why are the qualities and skills you listed important? How do you continue to cultivate them in yourselves as a committee?


II. Review of the discernment process
Your primary ministerial role with Members in Discernment (MIDs) is to engage in discernment with them. The fundamental three-fold discernment question is: To what ministry is this person called? Does this ministry require authorization? If so, what form of authorization?

The Ministry Issues Pronouncement has outlined a process for discernment with MIDs that contains five steps:

  1. mutual covenant of discernment;
  2. a covenant of formation;
  3. an assessment of readiness for authorization;
  4. authorization; and
  5. an ongoing covenant of accountability.

    These cover the “life cycle,” if you will, of your ministry with MIDs and authorized ministers.
  • Read: A Narrative Summary of the New “In Care”: A Covenant of Discernment and Formation (Draft 3.1, pp. 31-35).
    Discuss: How does this process improve upon the old “in care” process for you as a committee? How does it change your sense of service as a ministry in and of itself?
    Note: Click on the word “Draft 3.1” for a link to the document, then scroll down to the appropriate page.


III. An exercise
Discerning someone else’s call to ministry is not easy. Sometimes it can be quite difficult. Difficulties arise when a person’s call is not immediately obvious, or when it is expressed inconsistently, or simply heard more loudly by some than others! Therefore committee members must cultivate certain habits and virtues in their work of discernment with Members in Discernment. The Ministry Issues Pronouncement has identified five: Respect, Trust, Honesty, Sensitivity, and Consistency.

  • Divide into five groups. Each group will consider one of the characteristics of a faithful process of discernment, as found in A Mutual Journey of Discernment: Words Make a Difference (Draft 3.1, pp. 38-39). The groups will consider Respect, Trust, Honesty, Sensitivity, and Consistency, respectively. Answer the exercise questions and report back to the whole gathering. Note: Click on the word “Draft 3.1” for a link to the document, then scroll down to the appropriate page.


IV. Review covenant materials
All ministries are strengthened by ritual and by written agreement, and the same is true of your ministry with Members in Discernment. The MIP has developed materials that you can use to formalize your covenant of discernment.

  • Read A Service Recognizing the beginning of a Covenant of Discernment and Formation (Draft 3.1, p. 53-54) and A Covenant of Discernment and Formation (Draft 3.1, pp. 55-56). How would you adapt this service and this covenant for use by your particular committee? Note: Click on the word “Draft 3.1” for a link to the document, then scroll down to the appropriate page.
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