When the Members are the Missionaries: An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People

by A. Wayne Schwab. Member Mission Press, 2002.

The work of being the church is not sustaining a maintenance organization but rather supporting individual members as they discover their unique calling to serve in the "mission fields" of daily life: home, work, the local community, the wider world, leisure, and the faith community. Together, these individual missions become the revitalized church. The institutional church moves from maintenance activities (attendance, finances and obedience to clergy) to those that support mission (call discernment, formation, worship, and mission support). An effective church is one that sustains missionaries in a strong partnership.
Included are the theological foundations of this renewed vision, examples of 15 individual missions (ranging from motherhood to protesting the State lottery to creating vacation bible school), materials to discern and support missionaries, a process for congregational transformation, and models for judicatory and national church restructuring. Based on the Episcopal Church’s baptismal covenant (all are ministers of the church), the book will be helpful to any congregation —large or small— seeking to reclaim and live into the promise and responsibility offered through baptism. Schwab writes from his experience within the Episcopal Church, but has presented the material to be accessible by members of all denominations Readers may subscribe to an e-list Membermission@aol.com and/or Web site www.membermissionpress.org to learn how congregations are using the book.