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The board of Lutheran CORE recognizes Empowered Laity as one discipling resource that Lutheran congregations may wish to try. It has the potential of helping everyone realize their potential to teach, preach, and heal.

Discipling will take place in small huddles via Zoom. A huddle is an ongoing coaching vehicle, meaning the coach guides where the players need to grow. The Empowered Laity coaches are “creating a reproducible discipling culture based on a model that has worked in other more secular Western Culture contexts as well as here in the US.”

The Empowered Laity organization is offering two lengthy huddles in the fall of 2020. In a nutshell: 

  • The Empowered Laity huddle will explore the dynamics of ordained/laity and what it means for everyone to engage the ministry Jesus promised in John 14:12.  That is a massive paradigm shift for most congregations as it puts mission into the hands of everyone where they interface with the world, not simply the church as an institution and its mission.
  • The Painting with Words huddle teaches “how to convey the Gospel in memes.”

The Empowered Laity huddle will start with an analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) so that the coach begins to understand what each disciple needs. The coaches may also lean into conflict management, public and private communication, leading transitions, personal discipleship and reproduction, etc. 

One of the first things explored in the Empowered Laity huddle is the primary discipleship question, “Do I have a life worth imitating?”  The coaches will use a tool called the Character/Competency grid.  From that the coaches will teach the Kairos Circle, learning to hear what God is saying and discerning what to do about it. “Hearing God” is a difficult step as many want to jump right into action.  The coaches may also spend time exploring one’s spiritual gifts as Apostles hear differently than Teachers or Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, etc.

The second huddle, called Painting with Words, teaches your team how to create a Meme (symbol and statement) that accurately represents a congregation’s gifts as well as speaks contextually into their surrounding community in ways that can be received – missionally.  This huddle will provide enough challenge and information to get them started, but to really explore it will take at least a year and a follow-on huddle where coaches and students would explore things like stance and the hero’s journey as models of story telling.

These huddles were developed and utilized by Pastor Brian Hughes and Pastor Karen Heist at St. John Lutheran Church, Columbia, Maryland.  Both have received extensive training in these models, and have implemented them at St. John over a 6-10 year period.

Pastor Brian Hughes discussing his Empowered Laity Huddle.
Pastor Brian Hughes discussing his Painting with Words Huddle.

Click here for other resources that Lutheran CORE recommends or visit our Seminarians page.