From time to time in my role as pastoral assistant I get asked by our pastor to fill in for him do what we what call "lay leading" a service at our church.  In all of Western Australia (an area the size of more than a 1/3 of the US), we only have about 10 full-time English-speaking Lutheran pastors and 17 congregations, so it's not so simple to find a real pastor to fill in.  Hence, it's considered acceptable to have a lay member of the church lead a service and deliver a message under the supervision of the pastor.  Across Australia this is quite common due to a significant shortage of Lutheran pastors.

I can't say I truly enjoy lay leading, but I don't say "No" when asked because I know it's needed and I know I'm able to do it, and the congregation appreciates it. God provides what's needed.  My most recent lay led service was on the 10th of July.  I prepared my own message based on the readings of the day including Isaiah 55:10-11. (read on below)

 

{rokbox title=|Play "Message: The Efficacy of the Word"| size=|250 15|}podcasts/Efficacy_of_the_Word_sermon-Tim_20110710.mp3{/rokbox}. Click on that previous link and then be patient for the audio to buffer.  While waiting, you can click here to open the accompanying slides in another window.  If you have troubles with the audio player, download the audio file directly.

 

I'm on to lay lead again on the 21st of August.  Time will be short for preparation this time so I'll probably be using a prepared sermon from The Lutheran Church in Australia's excellent website with weekly resources for supporting lay leaders in planning their services.

FYI: We post our church sermons as podcasts every week at http://rmlp.podomatic.com in case you'd like to hear a real pastor preach.