The people are the church—not just the pastor. Yet, in many congregations there is a heavy imbalance in the ownership of ministry. Clergy and paid staff are seen as God’s agents in the world, and congregants as occasional participants. Sometimes, clergy and other leaders perpetuate this imbalance.
Ann Michel presents a more inclusive, collaborative understanding of ministry, which affirms the gifts and calling of both clergy and lay servants. She uses the concept of “synergy” as a theological framework undergirding this approach. Michel lays out an inclusive and collaborative paradigm of ministry affirming the work of both lay and clergy servants.
Synergy also provides practical advice on the day-to-day skills of synergistic or collaborative ministry – how to engage others in ministry, how to build teams, how to manage meetings, how to develop others as leaders, etc. The book helps church workers, paid and unpaid, understand how their ministry relates to the mission of God and the ministry of the church, and provides practical guidance on the interpersonal ministry skills essential to any expression of collaborative ministry.
"Synergy is both a practical and deeply spiritual resource that helps provide a more collaborative way of thinking about ministry shared between clergy and laity. Ann has captured the challenges that can present themselves as laity serve in ministry not only from her research but also from her personal experience as a lay person and respected Seminary theologian, and she offers practical ways to equip laity to fully live in this call of lay servants and lay staff members. As a lay person who has served on a church staff for more than 23 years, understanding this synergistic energy articulated so well in Ann’s writing has reignited my passion and affirmed my call." - Debi Williams Nixon, Managing Executive Director, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
“How I wish I’d had this book when I first began my career in professional ministry as a lay staff person! Synergy helps readers serve more effectively. Ann Michel offers practical advice on some of the most important aspects of building successful ministry and shows why we need the contributions of all persons for God’s transformative work in the world. This will be a must-read for our church staff and volunteer leaders.”
—Carol Cartmill, Executive Director of Mission and Outreach, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Kansas City, MO
“All believers are called to serve—laity no less than clergy. Ann Michel’s book is full of practical wisdom that, if followed, will help any church fulfill its true calling.”
—Craig C. Hill, Dean, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
“Ann Michel reminds us why teamwork makes sense and then shows how to align the gifts of many for the good of all. Having deeply considered her own calling as a lay leader, Michel helps us consider the power of clergy, church staff members, and lay members who function as a ministry team. Synergy provides not only the challenge to work as the body of Christ, but the skills, behaviors, and relational habits that enable it to happen. It will enable readers to claim their role and a fresh sense of calling with renewed validity and vitality.”
—Tom Berlin, senior pastor, Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA