Serving at the Eucharist, the Effect on Lay Leaders

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Roberts, Mollie M.
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School of Theology Thesis 2020 , Church involvement , Importance of church involvement , Effect of serving as lay leader , Enhanced worship experience , Lay participation
Ultimately, we as the church, and as a clergy of the church, hope to expand the Kingdom of God. One way to do so is to involve more people, more deeply in their church community. It is reasonable to think that if the people are more faithful in their Sunday attendance at church that they will be likely to participate more fully in the programs of the parish. Increased involvement in programs such as outreach and educational formation will in turn help them to deepen their relationship with God, and the Body of Christ. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect serving at the Eucharist has on lay leaders. Assuming it is a positive effect, how is lay leader service encouraged and/or supported at the parish level. The study first used a short on line survey of lay leaders and then structured interviews of six Episcopal Church rectors. The survey results support the hypothesis that serving at the Eucharist enhances the worship experience for lay leaders. However, the interviews demonstrated that there are very few routine, purposeful efforts on the part of clergy to encourage this type of lay leadership and very little in the way of feedback loops to assess the experience. Though additional research should be done, it seems clear that Episcopal clergy should be intentional in encouraging lay participation in leadership positions.