There is no New Testament basis for the clergy/laity ministry dichotomy that relegates laypeople to a secondary role in ministry. Just as the Reformation put the Scriptures in the hands of the laity, there is now a realization that we need to put the ministry into the hands of the laity. The fact that all believers in Christ share in a holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9) means that all of us have the same access into the holy of holies (Hebrews 10:19-22) to offer up sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, and service (Hebrews 13:15-16; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 4:10-11). The biblical doctrine of the priesthood of believers teaches us that we are all called to “full-time ministry” in our spheres of influence. As we cultivate our personal walk with God and nurture others through discipleship and witness, we engage in the enduring work of God.
At the same time, God has appointed certain people for places of shepherding and leadership in churches and ministries. These are people whose gifting and character demonstrate a level of maturity that makes them models for others to follow (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:17). Such leadership in the body is learned through training and experience, earned through service, and discerned by the community. “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). These servant-leaders develop a vision for what God is doing in the lives of others and enjoy helping them mature and reach their potential. They are more interested in discipling people than in directing programs. As these leaders model, teach, train, and develop new leaders, they serve people by helping them move from a self-centered to an other-centered and Christ-centered orientation. In this way, they are involved in healing the wounded, maturing the healing, and releasing the maturing.
Three Temptations That Can Keep Leaders From Being Servants
The first temptation is to be relevant, that is, to make significant contributions to the contemporary world. The discipline here is to move from relevance to prayer by listening to God’s voice and loving Jesus more than what we do or accomplish.
The second temptation is to be spectacular, that is, to gain the plaudits and commendations of people. The discipline here is to move from popularity to ministry by becoming embedded in a confessing and caring community.
The third temptation is to be powerful, that is, to be in control and to use the power of this world in the name of serving God. The discipline here is to move from leading to being led by choosing love over power and seeking the downward mobility of surrender to the leadership of Jesus so that He increases and we decrease.
Taken from Ken Boa's Handbook to Spiritual Growth
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