28 February 2008

Mormon Church's lay ministry & service organization draw attention in media

The following text (and the above photo) has been extracted from the LDS Church's Newsroom.

According to Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at Virginia’s Richmond University, the practice of providing universal volunteer service opportunities to youth and adults in any given congregation leads to personal and social benefits.

“The value of the system is that it prevents religion from ever becoming a spectator sport. One doesn’t go to church to be ministered to, but to minister,” he said.

“And since we tend to love those people and institutions we invest in,” he adds, “lay service forges powerful bonds of interdependency and unity.”

In order to understand what makes Mormon congregations “unusually cohesive faith groups,” as Givens calls them, a closer look is necessary.

According to former Mormon bishop Chris Rutter, lay service “gives members a chance to learn new skills and knowledge, strengthening their faith and enhancing their religious experience.”

Rutter says that young people, new members and all others who are capable of contributing are given a church duty, such as leading the music, teaching a class or organizing the scout troop.

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