Lay Church Workers – Trust and Responsibility

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the role of the laity in the management of the Church:

“There should be a renewed becoming aware of our being Church and of the pastoral co-responsibility that, in the name of Christ, all of us are called to carry out,” the Holy Father said. This co-responsibility should advance “respect for vocations and for the functions of consecrated persons and laypeople,”

This guidance is particularly meaningful when looking at the perspective of working for the Church as a lay employee. Acclimating to working for the Church requires a very different set of expectations than those people have when working in the private sector. Managing the business of running a Church organization requires an understanding of the functional requirements of finance, fundraising, education etc., but also a fluency with the ethical, social justice and mission based aspects of our Catholic faith.

The interaction between laity and clergy in achieving desired business outcomes requires adjusting advice and decisions to accommodate concepts which would seem alien in the commercial world. Investments based on Catholic theology, living wages, declining revenue or support opportunities which conflict with beliefs of our Faith run counter to the foundational principals of the corporate world.

People who consider joining a Church organization to do good work and make a decent living need to ponder this cultural difference, as they contemplate a career in lay leadership for the Church.