Pastor’s ponderings

This Sunday is Laity Sunday, the annual celebration within the United Methodist Church of the ministry of the laity.  Often, in today’s world, we forget that the ministry of the laity is the primary means by which people interact with the church, and come to enter into a relationship with Jesus.  As Discipleship Ministries noted, “Today, lay people are the front line of daily ministry at the workplace, in the home and within the community” ( ).  This makes sense when you consider that laity make up 99% of Christianity.  Clergy are but a small part, and as the years have progressed, they have become even fewer in number.  As such, as Discipleship Ministries concluded, “We need the whole Body of Christ as we seek to become more vital congregations who make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!”

            In United Methodist Churches the world over, this Sunday members of the congregation will lead worship. Instead of pastors, it will be laity who pray, deliver the message from the Lord, and lead the time of worship.  As such, I can’t help but to ponder – why does this happen only once a year?  If laity are the frontlines of ministry, why are so many not involved every Sunday, or every day for that matter?  Perhaps, in our current culture, we leave the ministry to the “paid professionals,” the ones who have gone to school for this or that and receive a salary for what they have been called to do.  Or, perhaps, more pointedly, many laity are fearful of trying to keep up with what clergy do week in and week out.  They say, “I can’t pray like the pastor does.”  “I can’t write a sermon.”  “I can’t do that.”

            Many people in the Bible said the same things.  Yet, do you know what happened?  God empowered them to do what was needed when the time came.  Few people in the Bible went to school to obtain a theological education.  Few people in the Bible were trained in “the right way” to “do church.”  Instead, they were totally reliant upon God to show the way, to provide the means, to bring the good news of the Kingdom through them into a world that so desperately needed to hear it.

            So, I ponder today, how different would the world be if the 99% were the ministers of the gospel in the world around them?  The 1% can only make but so much progress.  All 100% is needed in the effort.  The Body of Christ is incomplete without everyone being involved.  How might you use your hands and feet in service today?  How might you use your voice to proclaim the good news?  How might you be the minister to others?  After all, we are all a part of the “priesthood of all believers.”       

                                       Always pondering,  Pastor Steve

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