Lay people learning to have everyday faith conversations is key to the Church'

Chair of the Central Reader’s Council and Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, is calling for a greater focus on equipping non-ordained Christians to teach the faith.


Speaking at an event called Teaching the Faith in Leicester (10th November 2018) which aimed to equip lay people in the Diocese of Leicester and across the Church of England, Bishop Martyn highlighted the value of everyday faith conversations by Christians, rather than relying on clergy teaching.



He told an audience of Readers and non-ordained Christians in various informal teaching roles across the Church, that: “We will only start to rediscover how to have everyday faith conversations when lay people lead the way.”


Bishop Martyn said: “Teaching the Faith is all about learning to have faith conversations’ in the everyday. Too often we equate teaching and preaching (both are important) but most teaching happens in informal settings when we use the everyday occurrences of life to help others explore what it means to live in God’s kingdom.



“Lay ministers are generally well placed to do this as they understand the world of work and the social networks of those who don’t come near our churches.


“My argument is that equipping lay ministers for this work of equipping all God’s people for ‘everyday faith conversations’ must be one the highest priorities for the church at this moment in our history.


One of the unintended consequences of our push to increase numbers of ordained ministers (a good things in itself), has been a devaluing of lay ministry (Reader ministry or youth work start to be seen as just a stepping stone on the way to ordination).


“This is happening after several decades of what has arguably been the most extraordinary flourishing of lay ministry ever seen in the church since the time of John and Charles Wesley. Quietly, and without any grand strategies by church leaders, God’s Spirit has been stirring. We need to notice this, celebrate it and work with God.”


At the Teaching the Faith event, as well as Bishop Martyn’s keynote address, there were also talks from Paula Gooder and Dulcie Dixon McKenzie. More details here:


Paula, Director for Mission Learning and Development in the Birmingham Diocese (Church of England), focussed on the content of the faith we are teaching, asserting that to teach the faith, Christians need to know it really well.



And Dulcie, Director of the Centre for Black Theology at The Queens Foundation, applied it to work across cultures and generations, highlighting Liberation Theologies and challenging the Church to consider other perspectives and ask whether the interpretation of the faith that is taught might now need a makeover.


We hope to share videos of the keynote talks and some of workshops at the event here in the coming

First published on: 5th August 2019
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