Laity and the Problem of Professionalism in our Churches


(This blog first appeared as an article in the Mennonite Brethren Herald, Sept. 12, 2003, and is here slightly revised.)

Let me begin boldly. I believe that there has been a colossal disenfranchisement of the laity in our churches.   Parallel to this phenomenon is the professionalization of the pastoral ministry.  I want to illustrate these phenomena and show why they are problematic.  

Hierarchy of Gifts

First, there is little place for the involvement of the laity in the “important” tasks in our churches.  Oh yes, lay people are needed to do the “smaller” tasks – help along with the children’s ministry, teach Sunday school, play in a worship band.  But, the overriding assumption is that each of these areas needs to be headed by a full-time professional pastor who acts as an administrator over the volunteer laity who do the hands-on work – under supervision, of course.  Thus we have worship pastors, children’s ministry pastors, evangelism pastors, administrative pastors, and always a lead pastor who generally does most of the preaching…https://elmerjohnthiessen.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/laity-and-the-problem-of-professionalism-in-our-churches-2/

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