It is good reformed theology to say that the call of God is extended to all members of a congregation. That God can call a person to be a lawyer or a laborer in equally valid form as God's call to be a clergy. There is a special category of people who fit somewhere in between those called to be pastors and those called in what we often refer to as the secular dimensions of our society. These are those who have received theological training and in most cases have been ordained within their particular denomination, but choose to exercise their gifts in some form of ministry other than that of the congregation.
Some exercise their ministry in the familiar structures of chaplaincy or a counseling ministry. Others work in social service agencies that minister to the poor or needy in our society. Still others find their calling in law, medicine, business, etc. Yet each understand themselves as practicing their calling. Unfortunately, they are often neglected by their denominational structures and do not receive the corporate nurture from colleagues who are also ordained.
A first step might be identifying the variety of forms of ministry beyond the congregation that take place in your presbytery. Once you have identified the theologically trained, or spiritually called, members who engage in ministry, they can be invited to attend the gathering. At the appropriate time, someone could describe examples of the variety of ministry that is taking place. Perhaps have those so engaged stand for a brief recognition and then engage in the following litany of affirmation.
A Litany Celebrating the call to Specialized Ministry
Psalm 111 (Adapted)
(Leader) "Praise the Lord! (We) will give thanks to the Lord with (our) whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
(People) We recognize John, Ellen, Byron, and Beth who have felt the call to develop their gift of teaching that extends beyond their local congregation and blesses the community around them.
(Leader) "Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them."
(People) We celebrate the creative ministries of Joan, Philip, Floyd, Bob, and Ellen who have advocated for justice in ways that have prodded our conscience and moved us to a deeper understanding of the justice of God.
(Leader) "Full of honor and majesty is God's work, and God's righteousness endures forever."
(People) We lift up Susan's work in counseling and support groups and Beth's work with prison ministries. We honor Arthur's work with Hospice and Florence and Henry's ministry on behalf of returned veterans.
(Leader) "God has gained renown by God's wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful."
(People) Today we praise the call that has extended the ministries of Brenda, Russ, Carlton, and Rick on behalf of feeding ministries in their communities.
(Leader) "(God) provides food for those who fear him; God is ever mindful of God's covenant."
(People) We commend the ministries of Evan, Carol, and Earnest who have worked to strengthen the bonds of their communities and bring people together across diverse boundaries.
(Leader) "God has shown his people the power of God's works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of God's hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness."
(People) We recognize with appreciation the work of Phyllis, Brendan, Mike, and Errol for their efforts to bring God's presence in the professions within our communities.
(Leader) Each of those named and so many who are yet to be named have responded to the call of God in special ways that have strengthened the ministry of this presbytery. We give thanks to God for the working of your Spirit in their lives and in ours.
(People) "(God) sent redemption to God's people; God has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is God's name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever."
This is written for a Presbytery meeting but it could easily be adapted to other denominational gatherings or local congregations who wanted to celebrate the diverse ministries of their many members. Obviously, the fictional ministries of the people mentioned in the litany along with their particular ministries needs to be replaced with the real efforts that have been identified.
The main thesis is that as a corporate church, we need to honor and affirm these servants of God as well. As we do so, we strengthen the whole body