Total Ministry

What is Total Ministry?

When we speak of baptismal ministry we refer to our lifelong engagement as members of the
Church of Jesus Christ, living a life of love of God and love of our neighbor for God's sake in Christ.

Such living is based upon, but not limited to, the following principles:

~ the Church, the body of Christ, exists to carry out God's mission

~ ministry happens in all of life's endeavors

~ learning in ministry begins with preparation for baptism and continues until death; it is experiential and lifelong

~ the Gospel must be engaged afresh in every context, every time, and every place

~ every person has a unique configuration of gifts; no one is omnicompetent

~ no person is indispensable; every person is irreplaceable

~ the Spirit equips every congregation with what it needs to do what God is calling it to do

~ congregations are not problems to be solved; like individuals, each has a unique pattern of gifts and opportunities which shape its ministry; ministries are not slots to be filled

~ the local congregation or community of faith calls people to offices and specific ministries

When we speak of Total Ministry we refer to the concept, processes, and curriculum used by the Diocese of Northern California to revitalize congregations by developing and affirming the ministry of all baptized persons. This is a clearly focused strategy for action and for encouraging a more widely-participatory discernment of God's call to live out the promises of our baptismal covenant.

The Goals of Total Ministry flow from the theological assumptions above.

~ that Total Ministry development will build on the best of a congregation's history, respecting its experience in its context

 ~ that each Total Ministry congregation will be equipped to meet its basic ministry needs from among its members, while enjoying the consultation and support of a Missioner and/or other ministry professional(s), and working interdependently with other congregations of the deanery/region and the Diocese

~ that each Total Ministry congregation will call a ministry team gifted in sharing tasks, committed to strengthening the ministry of all the members, and leading in envisioning opportunities for mission and for learning

~ that each Total Ministry team will show commitment to lifelong learning and ongoing development, including the calling and incorporating of new members

~ that Total Ministry congregations will show other congregations in the diocese the rich possibilities of heeding the call to ministry for all believers and thus revitalizing their congregational life.


For more information on Total Ministry, please contact the Rev. Betsey Monnot at


Recommended Reading

Resources to learn more about Total Ministry

Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours
by Roland Allen

Compulsion of the Spirit
by Roland Allen

*Total Ministry
Stuart Zabriskie

New Growth in God's Garden
by Margaret Babcock

Born of Water, Born of Spirit
by Thompsett & Kujawa

*I Have Called You Friends: An Invitation to Ministry
by Kevin Thew-Forrester

Listening Hearts
by Farnham, Gill and McLean, Ward

Simpler Living, Compassionate Life
ed. Michael Schut

Weeds among the Wheat
by Thomas Green

The Churches the Apostles Left Behind
by Raymond Brown

by James Lower, Jr.

Classics of Western Spirituality
by William Law

Grounded in God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Group Deliberations
by Suzanne Farnham

*Living on the Border of the Holy – Renewing the Priesthood of All
by William Countryman

Quantum Changes in How we do Ministry
by Eddie Gibbs

The Church in the Marketplace
by Archbishop Carey

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix
by Edwin H. Friedman

* Great “starter” books


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