Helping congregations move from a volunteer culture to a “shared ministry system” is the goal of author, consultant, and ministry practitioner Judith Urban. A “shared ministry system” is a congregational context where laity embrace their gifts and serve accordingly, as well as receive training, support, and appreciation for their contributions. Urban adds to this familiar idea by seeing the “shared ministry system” as both “concept” and “system.” Before outlining the implementation process, she grounds the system in theology. She then explains twelve components in the system and explores their interlocking relationships. Some components, such as recruitment and support, are familiar. Yet Urban also covers other, less-popular topics, such as supervision, evaluation, and risk assessment and reduction. Finally, Urban includes tips, suggestions, charts, examples, and questions in this step-by-step guide. Congregations of all types and traditions will find this well-organized and comprehensive book invaluable for implementing collaborative ministry.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover