Monday, 12 September 2016

clergy and lay people

(journaled Feb 16, 2006)

I am thinking more and more that our "problem" with "leadership/clergy" is actually more a problem with "lay persons"--who have little or no role other than to turn up and agree with the leaders.

Okay, of course it is more complicated that that, but really, creating a large class of "non-ministry" church members is a big problem, because by putting the "focus" in the hands of a few, it tends to take the focus off Jesus as Lord; it discourages the "lay people" from really being involved as part of the church body, growing in faith and grace and relationship with God, from doing their part--using their gifts--for the health and edification of the church, from spreading the gospel, from loving God and others, from being valued equally as Jesus values all equally.

There is a place for "leadership" (though, oh, I have disliked the "L word") but it must be a place of humility and serving, as in "the greatest must be the least," as Jesus Himself has shown. There is no place for "human" honor and trappings, though certainly there is a place for respect and love, and yes, even obedience when the leader is walking close with Jesus (and if he/she isn't, they are no longer actually worthy of leadership).

There is also no place for those who would say, "My church," or attach their personal name to a "ministry," as that path can so easily lead to a man/woman "being in charge" rather than Jesus. It does seem there are occasional people who are very humble, and yet have their name attached to their ministry (like Billy Graham, perhaps), but there are far too many cases, especially in North American ministries with the leader's name attached, which have become far too "leader-centered" (man or woman).

Such a fine line, but I am inclining to give more value to clergy/leaders than I did a few years ago when I became so discouraged at what I saw happening in churches focusing on a human leader. At the same time, I am still wanting all members of the body of Christ to be valued, and recognized and encouraged for the roles God has called them to.

Something to think more about...

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