Bob Spencer
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Bob Spencer

This thesis seeks to investigate the issues of ministry by the laity of the Church in their daily life in the world and the equipping processes that have accompanied or need to accompany it. This project seeks this information through a correlational study of several variables. The inquiry takes place in five Presbyterian Churches, but it seeks to be aware of these issues as they are similar in the wider Christian Church. The project arises out of the professional experiences of the author, as related to the issues in his twenty-four years as director of a Laity Centre for Christian adult education and spiritual development. Experiences with ecumenical networks like the World Council of Churches during that time also inform this thesis.

The background research explores Holy Scriptures, (Hebrew and Christian), Theological studies, and the historical perspective in regard to lay diakonia service and equipping for this ministry in daily life. This literature research also explores the questions about the what and the whom of this ministry. Other areas that were searched for background to this topic included: Adult Faith Development, Adult Education and Adult Learning research. These disciplines also contributed some important issues regarding motivational theory. A model for adult learning within the church was developed out of this part of the research, which is called the "Lay Ministry and Adult Learning Window".

The quantitative research that made up this project involved a questionnaire on ""Ministry in Daily Life". This questionnaire was distributed to five different congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in Guelph and Fergus, Ontario, as well as eleven pairs of persons outside the study area who had expressed interest in this topic. Of the 172 questionnaires distributed, 106 were completed and returned for a 61.6% rate of return. The 79 variables of these 106 cases were recorded and analyzed in a survey research computer program. Reports were generated from the resultant data on the frequency of the responses individually and in relation to the other variables. The results were then used to develop a understanding of these Presbyterian laity and their attitude to Christian vocation, ministry in daily life, equipping or educational support to that ministry and other matters related to the topic.

Conclusions and recommendations for adult education or equipping for lay ministry in daily life were developed and expressed in the thesis, not only for the Presbyterian Church but also for other denominations as well. These include the "Learning Window" and a "Life Transitions Model" for building a mutual learning community for adult learning and faith development. Both of these strategies are included in a four part plan for equipping the laity of the Church for ministry in daily life and work in the world.