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The lack of shared leadership between clergy and laity presents a challenge to the small rural church. A model of ministry for engaging the pastor and laity of a small membership rural church in educational, spiritual, and action experiences to help them maximize their human potential as co-laborers in God's vineyard has been developed in this dissertation study. Its purpose is to teach and model an approach to helping clergy, lay leaders and members of the congregation learn to share leadership and work together in order to change the way people think and behave in the areas of worship, mission and evangelism.

The approach used includes the engagement of a church administrative council in a nine week Bible study of selected scriptures to help them gain an understanding of the nature and mission of the church as well as the role of clergy and laity in accomplishing that mission. At varying times in the progression of the study sessions, members of the administrative council are requested to begin modeling certain specified behaviors. Questionnaires are used at specified intervals during the ministry project to gauge progress and provide feedback for follow-up in succeeding sessions as well as evaluation of the project.

This model of ministry is simple enough for any small congregation to adopt and powerful enough to be profitable. Yet, it is adaptable for use in any congregation where the lay leadership can be intimately involved with the congregation.

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