The subtitle of the cover article in the latest Lutheran caught my interest: “from Sunday into Monday.” But I opened the article and found stories of retirees packing snacks on a Tuesday, or who chose to locate a worship center near a community crossroads. While there were wonderful examples in the article of congregations that have paid attention to community needs and developed vital and meaningful programs around those needs, the article still left me wondering: “where are MOST of the members of these congregations on Monday morning?”
All too often, our understanding of the “ministry of the laity” in the Lutheran church has been reduced to the volunteer things we do for the church. While it’s great that some of those volunteer hours are served outside the church walls, I wonder how many working Lutheran adults are weary of hearing that they should get more involved in volunteerism, while they struggle to figure out what faith means in the 40-60 hours a week they are in paid employment, and the many other hours they spend caring for their kids or their aging parents. The question is not "what new thing do I add to my schedule to act out my faith," but "how can what I already do every day reflect Christ crucified and risen?"
Lutherans are always reluctant to reduce faith to ethics, or to give prescriptive answers to the dilemmas so many adults face. But if the church is to be vital in the future – that is, if we expect persons under 65 to get engaged – we had better figure out, and quickly, what best supports the Monday morning faith of those who spend their weekdays in the working world.