The Joseph Sittler Archives — The Expanding Scope of Grace
The Joseph Sittler Archives — The Expanding Scope of Grace
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Ministry in Daily Life

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The topic of ministry of the laity, or the ministry of the non-ordained Christian in daily life in the world, was very important to Sittler, and he spent a lot of time on this issue. As a particular example of his commitment, he made a number of presentations as part of the ALC program “Equipping the Saints,” conducting workshops around the county. He clarified carefully the role of “the ordained ones” (see that topic in the archive) in a way that frees the clergy from the bewildering variety of expectations imposed on them. Sittler provides a new conception of the role of the laity and the ordained that is even more important for today. Sittler’s conception of the ministry of the laity is grounded in his general theological framework, including the transcendent significance of creation and the comprehensive nature of God’s grace. There are some significant and unusual themes in Sittler’s view of the ministry of the laity in daily life. Part of that ministry, he believed, is actually to do theology. He lifts up the perspective that the life experience of the laity in the world can provide (and has provided in history) theological insights important to the Christian community. Second, he notes the significance of the laity as “friends of the King” — the representatives of the king present in the different places of the world; the laity reflect the “presence” of the Lord in the world. And, finally, he stresses the importance of the laity in being rather than just in doing. He challenges us to ask: How shall the laity manifest its faith in the world in such a way that the preaching of the word is invitatory? How shall we be in the world in such a way that the Christian community is seen as attractive? He notes that a Christian can cause, in every corner of the world, “eruptions of instances of care” — a wonderful concept that lifts us far beyond the usual picture of what it means to “do something” for the church as a lay person.

A sample of materials on Ministry in Daily Life available from the Archives

  • The Holy Spirit and Human Reflection (Concordia Summer Theological Conference, Minnesota), Audiotape (7/26/82)

  • The Ministry of the Laity (Minneapolis), Audiotape (10/80)

  • New Models for Ministry (California), Audiotape (1981)




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The Anguish of Preaching by Joseph Sittler

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