We've Come to An Intersection
Some intersections provide multiple options. Others bring you to a stop and force you to make a choice. You have to choose. You have to decide which route you will take. An apostolic epoch, like the Reformation and other significant seismic moments in church history, force a choice. This is not change inside the current paradigm. It requires one to step outside that paradigm.
Pastors have a difficult choice to make. They can retain the model of laity as passive, as non-involved, as inferior in terms of authority and training, as supporters of the pastor and his staff as they do critical ministry. Or they can choose to empower laity as partners, as mutual, and as equippers for mission. Partnership does not mean mutuality of all things. Office distinctions and roles must be observed, but stiff hierarchical and class structures are not the pattern observed in the New Testament. The current model is safer for pastors who retain control, and less demanding of laity who are fine with someone else shouldering the load – but it is not working.
The current model of catch-and-hold, must give way to a catch-and-equip-and-release model. We need a model that empowers believers and releases them for ministry. Missional ministry happens in the context of daily life, in the home, the neighborhood, the marketplace, the web of relationships. It happens with people we most often see and those who we regard as most important to us. An ‘as-you-see-and-touch-them’ ministry model must emerge, not contrived, but natural, an overflow of the inner life. And if that inner life is dry, due to the lack of prayer and a deficient devotional life typical in the modern Christian, there will be no overflow, no natural ‘good news’ moments by members to their friends and family.
This mandates a shift from Sunday religion.