Did you know that the origin of the word clergy comes from the Latin meaning “learned men”? These are the men and women who are supposed to lead our churches, because they have the education that others don’t. They are professionals.
Now compare that with the definition of laity: “the people outside of a particular profession, as distinguished from those belonging to it.”
Did you catch that? The laity are outside and uneducated. They are amateurs.
The origins of clergy is traced back to the 12th century, and laity first appears in the 16th century. But long before this, the Apostle Paul had a different idea —
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? (1 Corinthians 1:26-28 from The Message, emphasis added)
There is a HUGE PROBLEM when we think that only the professional clergy is equipped to do the ministry of the church! What makes a healthy church (like the first century church we read about in the book of Acts) is when EVERYONE is actively involved in ministry.
These words from Howard Hendricks are tough to hear, but right on target:
“I believe a great problem in evangelicalism today—whether in the local church, missions, seminary education, or what have you—is we have too many big-time operators! And too few servants. …
“The typical church hires a clergyman to rob them of the privilege of exercising Christ’s gifts. … The greatest curse on the Church today is that we are expecting a small group of professionals to get God’s work done.”
I hope I haven’t stepped on too many toes with this one. My intent is not to offend, but to get the church thinking. I want to see EVERYONE that calls themselves a Christian actively involved in ministry.