Developing a Lay Ministry Team in Your Church
Tony Cooke

We often hear talk about the need to enlist others for ministry, to raise up leaders, to delegate, etc. I was just at John Nuzzo’s church (Victory Family Church) in Cranberry Township, PA, and saw these principles being implemented tremendously well.

Instead of the mentality that all pastoral care needs to be done by paid staff, Victory has twenty-three trained lay ministers and seven more who are going through their training program now. These individuals are hand-picked by the staff, and in the last twelve months, this is what this lay team accomplished:

  • Approximately 50% of urgent care situations (98) were handled by the lay ministry team.
  • They covered 29 of the 52 weeks of emergency calls.
  • More than 65% of spiritual guidance appointments were handled by the lay ministry team.
  • These lay ministers conducted five weddings and fourteen funerals.
  • They facilitated 80% of all baptisms.

Lay ministers undergo 34-weeks of training, which takes place both in-person and online. The following is the curriculum they have put together for that purpose:

  • Jimmy Evans Pastors School (video) – 11 weeks (Contact XO Marriage for XO Now Premium subscription)
  • Ministering the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – 1 week
  • Boundaries (in Ministry) – John Townsend – 1 week (YouTube video from Gateway Church:
  • One on One – Personal Ministry by Tony Cooke (audio) – 5 weeks (Included in “The Collection” from Tony Cooke Ministries)
  • Faith Life Training – 7 weeks (Various audio teachings and books – list available through Faith Life Training small group curriculum)
  • Hospital Visitation Protocol – 1 week
  • Funeral Prep/Protocol – 1 week
  • Funeral Service Presentation – 2 weeks
  • Wedding Prep/Protocol – 1 week
  • Wedding Ceremony Presentation – 2 weeks
  • Water Baptism Protocol and Practice – 1 week
  • Emergency On-Call Protocol – 1 week

Some may think that their congregation is not large enough for such a program, but I believe this concept can be scaled and adapted to fit various sizes of churches. Even if you start simply by having someone join you on hospital visits or sit in with you on spiritual guidance sessions (when appropriate), you can begin training people to step into care ministry to labor alongside you.

Click here if you would like to download a copy of the “Lay Ministry Team Playbook” used by Victory. I appreciate Pastor John and his staff being so generous in sharing their resources.