Collaborative Ministry

What is Local Collaborative Ministry?

Local Collaborative Ministry has been around in the Scottish Episcopal Church since the mid-nineties. Now woven securely into the Church’s mission and ministry strategy, LCM empowers congregations to participate as fully as possible in God’s ongoing work of mission and ministry. Such participation is seen as the responsibility of the whole people of God. 

Fundamental to LCM’s developmental approach is the provision of educational resources to entire congregations, thus forming everyone for their ministries-for-mission, whether those be exercised in daily life and work, or within the gathered community of the church. Using a pool of trained facilitators from across the Province, this ‘learning for all’ is delivered right where the congregation lives and meets – to help people to connect faith and life, understand the theology of collaborative ways of being the church, and improve their skills in worship leading, pastoral care, listening, group work and so on.

LCM  Questions and Answers

What is Local Collaborative Ministry?

This happens when members in a congregation work together at local level to help sustain the mission and ministry of the church.

What is meant by “ministry”

Ministry primarily means all that pertains to the life of the congregation: worship, pastoral care, hospitality and welcome, outreach and the development of a local strategy for mission.

What is meant by “mission”

Mission is participating in God’s action to spread the good news of the Kingdom in word and action.

How might members work together to sustain the worship life of the church?

Involvement might begin with reading the appointed lessons, then progressing to leading intercessions, conducting a service and giving an address.

Is this not the responsibility of the priest?

In the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles there are now only 5 stipendiary priests trying to cover 29 congregations. If congregations are going to survive, one possible way is for them to learn to take responsibility for some aspects of worship for themselves.

Is it just about church life?

Definitely not. Local Collaborative Ministry offers skills’ training sessions within congregations which help people deepen their life of discipleship which is then lived out Monday – Saturday in the world, at home, at work, at leisure.

What advantages are there in adopting LCM?

Congregations can discover the gifts they thought they never had. Where services have become infrequent, the prospect of weekly services then becomes a possibility. Weekly services at a set time encourage people to become regular in their pattern of worship and have the potential to improve the financial base for the congregation.

Where can congregations access training?

The Province has a team of trained people who can give help to congregations wanting to know more about Local Collaborative Ministry: Theological Facilitators and Local Collaborative Ministry Mentors

 Is there a danger of “congregationalism” developing as a result of LCM?

It is part of the vision of the people of God all working together which is important in the concept of LCM. In that sense the congregation plays a crucial role. The Episcopal Church however is governed by a clearly defined hierarchy with Bishops, Priests and Deacons. Congregations are not self-governing (congregationalism) but subject to the Canons of the church.

Can a congregation practise LCM without a priest?

The Episcopal Church is a both a hierarchical and a sacramental church and therefore it is essential that a priest has both oversight of a congregation and is available to consecrate the Sacrament. This no longer happens on a ‘one priest-one charge model’ however; nowadays it is more likely that a stipendiary priest has oversight of several congregations in a region and that the local charge has an OLM (ordained priest with a local license) cleric in its midst.

The administration of the Sacrament, however, may be effected by Lay people, thereby freeing the priest to help other congregations elsewhere to survive sacramentally.