Launch a Ministry of Advocacy
That We May Speak...Our Ministry of Action Congregational Guide
You may download the guide in sections or in its entirety.
"That We May Speak...Our Ministry of Action" is a step-by-step guide to help congregations choose an issue and begin a ministry of advocacy.Purpose of this Guide
The study has been created to help congregations:
- gain insight and understanding about advocacy
- develop a plan of action
- launch (or improve) a ministry of advocacy.
To accomplish this, a group needs to come together to study the subject and to think through its implications for their own lives and the life of the congregation. Any group of youth and/or adults in the congregation could benefit from this study. It may prove particularly stimulating for leadership groups in the congregation--church council, elected committees, task forces, and others. It could, likewise, prove beneficial to create a new "advocacy team" of representatives of various groups in the congregation to study and initiate a ministry of advocacy.
A Word to the Leader
This is an opportunity to invite participants to select and advocate for an important issue in your community. You are responsible to plan the sessions, make sure resources are available to participants, guide the discussion, cover the material, encourage participation by all, help summarize learning, and help carry through on any possible action that may arise from your study.
This guide is designed to be used in a small group setting. There are four, 45- to 90-minute sessions. Each session builds on the previous session. In addition, "home work" is assigned at the end of each session that is used in the next session. Scripture passages are mentioned and discussed in each session. Inviting participants to bring Bibles or having Bibles available is necessary to the learning experience. It would be possible to complete the guide in a one time retreat setting. A more realistic--and fruitful--schedule would be a weekly, biweekly or monthly class, allowing sufficient time for participants to complete assignments between class sessions.
Read the complete study guide before your first session so that you can anticipate preparations and issues that may arise. (Suggestions for the leader are written in the margins of each page. Activities that need advance preparation are labeled.) Your choices will help you plan how to go about your study and decide what additional resources you may choose to use. Be sure to check out the resource page and contact the appropriate organizations to order materials that will be helpful.
- Opening Prayer or Song
- Let's Get Started (a focusing activity or question)
- Let's Focus (an introduction to the session topic)
- Let's Talk (questions for group discussion)
- What Does the Bible Have to Say? (examination of biblical texts and commentary)
- Exploring Further (to consider more of the topic)
- Before We Go (guided conversation and suggested actions)
- Closing with Prayer
that will require advanced preparations for each particular class and will involve more class time, could include:Session One
Invite a local politician to share his or her perspective on "church and state."Session Two
Invite a local person who has experienced a system that needs to be changed. Consider someone who works for minimum wage, a current or past welfare recipient, someone who has experienced medicaid either with a parent or their child, or someone who lives on social security.Session Three
Invite an advocate to share their work with your study group. Contact your state public policy office, a local coalition, social ministry organization, domestic violence organizations, county or state child welfare offices, nursing home association or other possible advocacy organizations.Session Four
Invite other people from outside your congregation who are working on the same issue you have chosen to focus on to share their experience. This may be someone who works in the government or a local coalition leader.
Copyright © 2000 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Permission is granted to reproduce this document as needed providing each copy displays the copyright as printed above. Produced by the Church in Society unit and the Congregational Ministries unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, Illinois 60631-4190.
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Scriptural quotations from the New Revised Version of the Bible are copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America and are used by permission.