How to become a Lay Preacher
What a Lay Preacher is and what he has to do is regulated in the Church Law, the Congregational Code – it is copied at the end.
Additionally to the Church Law rules were fixed which describe how you have to prepare to become a Lay Preacher.
Attend all Foundation and all Advanced Lay Preacher Courses and additionally courses in Counseling and Children’s Ministry.
With the new model of courses in the North-Region (Gauteng) of ELCSA N-T you can finalize it in two years.
There is an assessment which is now regulated. Below you find the approved text. Further information you can get from your pastor or the ELCSA(N-T) Co-worker and Lay Preacher training Committee.
Lay Preacher Assessment
We advise candidates to prepare at least one sermon like the recommended for the assessment under the supervision of their local pastor. The local pastor should give his/her go ahead for the assessment.
The Circuit Lay Preacher Commission assesses the preparation of the sermon and visits the candidate delivering the sermon in a regular service.
The candidate has to deliver a typed preparatory sermon which has to be handed in to the Circuit Lay Preacher Commission two weeks before the service; in a regular service of congregation the candidate delivers the sermon.
Preparation of the sermon should contain:
Usage of different translations (http://www.biblegateway.com ) and usage of an interlinear bible (http://www.interlinearbible.org ) to show understanding of possible varitations of translation.
Context of the actual text in the chapter and in the book with brief references to the background and purposes of the specific book that relate to this specific text - Use a commentary/Study Bible! (http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/)
Historical context of the text (Wikipedia.org, http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/ - German)
Where are parallels or similar texts in the New and Old Testament?
What is the issue of the text? – Use a commentary! (http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/)
What are the keywords in the text – and how to interpret them? – Use a commentary!
What is the situation of the congregation? What is the daily life experience concerning this issue in congregation? – Describe!
What might be the relation of the issue of the biblical text to the situation of congregants?
Decide and explain your choice of main intention/issue of the sermon!
Decide and explain your choice of your structure of the sermon! What is the rhetoric structure/the logical flow of your sermon?
Describe the relation of sermon to the service: Church year, liturgy, readings, prayers, hymns/songs.
Present an order of service.
The main issue of evaluation of sermon will be:
Does the sermon reflect the main issue of the biblical text and relates it to the situation of the congregation?
Individual theological decisions and the focus chosen by candidates have to be accepted.
Liturgical and rhetoric presence
Harmony of liturgy, prayers and sermon
(After service in congregation with the Circuit Lay Preacher Commission)
After this discussion the candidate will be informed he/she passed the assessment if he reached 50 % of the requirements.
Approved by the Lay Preacher Commission, ELCSA N-T, 23.08.13
Church Law of ELCSA N-T
Congregational Code, Chapter 8, Section 56
Section 56 Lay Preachers
(1) Congregation members may take over duties of public preaching during worship services as Lay Preachers. They are appointed by Church Council. Lay Preachers shall, in the first instance, do duty in their own Congregation, but by invitation and after consultation with the local Pastor, they may perform duties in other congregations. They must be suitable for this service and be eligible to become Congregational Councilors.
(2) Congregation members may be appointed to this post by the Bishop if a corresponding proposal is made by the local Pastor and the Congregational Council. Prior to the appointment the Lay Preacher shall complete a training course under the supervision of Church Council. Lay Preachers are obliged to participate in in-service training courses.
(3) Lay Preachers are inducted into their post by the Dean or a Pastor appointed by him to do so. The Bishop shall issue a certificate of appointment to the Lay Preacher.
(4) The appointment is valid for 4 years, but may be extended.
(5) The appointment shall end:
(a) when the appointed term has expired. The appointment may be extended on application by Congregational Council and Pastor. A further induction is not necessary.
(b) when the Lay Preacher declines the appointment and returns his certificate of appointment.
(c) when the appointment is withdrawn for good reasons. In this case Church Council and the Lay Preacher shall be heard.
(6) The local Pastor supervises the Lay Preacher.
(7) Lay Preachers perform their services without remuneration. If they perform a service in another Congregation than their own, that Congregation shall reimburse them for their expenses according to the guidelines of the Church.
(8) Lay Preachers shall use the pulpit and altar for their service.
(9) With their consent Lay Preachers may be commissioned by Church Council to lead a Congregation and/or to administer the Sacraments.
(10) Lay Preachers may be invited to attend Pastors’ Conventions.
(11) Lay Preachers are bound by the constitution and laws of the Church and Rules of the Congregations in which they perform their services.
Section 57 Lay Readers
(6) The appointment may be cancelled with immediate effect if the local Congregational Council so decides. No reasons for its decision need be given. The local Pastor, who may propose the cancellation of the appointment, must in any event be requested to give his opinion.
(7) Lay Readers may decline the appointment. Congregational Council must be informed.
(8) The appointment may be renewed on request. In this case it is not necessary to repeat the induction.
(9) For the duration of their appointment, Lay Readers may perform their service in any Congregation of the Church, if the respective local Pastors agree.
(10) Lay Readers shall use the pulpit and altar for their service.
(11) Lay Readers are bound by the constitution and laws of the Church and Rules of the Congregations in which they perform their services.
(12) Lay Readers perform their services without remuneration. If they perform a service in another Congregation than their own, that Congregation shall reimburse them for their expenses according to the guidelines of the Church.
(13) Lay Readers may alter prepared sermons where expressions or examples are used which may not be applicable or which appear difficult to be understood. Any other changes should first be discussed with the local Pastor.
(14) Lay Readers are obliged to participate in in-service training courses from time to time.