The Church gives a lot of lip service to “the priesthood of all believers” and “the ministry of all the baptized,” but when it comes down to it our churches look a lot more like this:
than they do this:
The standard model of Church is still very much an expert standing up front telling the congregation what to do, how to think, and where to send their checks. As one of those experts, blessed to have an Master in Divinity degree and a denominational pension plan, I still can’t help but wonder what sort of disservice this model does to the masses?
Take, for example, the Ephesians lesson for Sunday. Paul invites, in fact, begs the whole church in Ephesus to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which [they] have been called…” My question is this, when lay people hear this admonition from Paul, do they think it applies to them or just to the clergy who have been “called”?
Let me be clear, we are all called to ministry.
Sure, some are called to preach, teach, and administer the sacraments. But the calling to be a doctor, lawyer, pipe fitter, or stay at home mom is just as valid. The key isn’t what job one does, but the motivation that lies beneath. To practice law to build the kingdom to the glory of God is a calling. To raise children in the knowledge and love of the Lord is a calling. To weld warships, to cook chik-fil-a sandwiches, to lobby for equal rights, to sell iPhones (mmm… new iPhone) can each be callings if they are done, in Paul’s words, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Whatever you are doing today, be it analyzing stock portfolios, mixing sound, doing laundry, or installing brakes – you are called to ministry. As one of the experts, I echo Paul, and beg you to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”