Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Priesthood of Believers
The International Coalition of Workplace Ministries in the USA has posted an article by Eric Swanson, which proposes ten paradigm shifts for the Church (see http://www.icwm.net/articles_view.asp?articleid=1395&columned). An interesting observation (paradigm shift no. 3) is that, if churchgoers are not given the opportunity to minister, they drop off in time. I think this is true. But there’s an interesting twist. Swanson writes: “In the typical church, lay people are asked to serve in five or six capacities: Teach a Sunday School class / Work in the nursery / Lead a home Bible study or small group / Sing in the choir / Be an usher or greeter / Serve on a board or committee.” These “five or six capacities” go unquestioned by Swanson, except that he notes an important need to add “ministering to ... the needs of a community”. This is good -- yet why such a short list of “five or six capacities”? There would seem to be a big gap here. There’s a multiplicity of things that churchgoers can do besides: leading the prayers, giving spiritual messages, welcoming guest speakers, preaching the sermon, and so on. We ourselves do this within a fairly “traditional” context. Not to speak of what people can do in groups. QUESTION: Why is it that Swanson’s list is as short as “five or six capacities”? Why, apparently, does he not see so many more?