Will the Church please leave the building?

Thinking about the Church, Mission and Discipleship over the last few weeks, there have been two things that have focussed my concentration:

1) The Priesthood of All Believers

2) Future Patterns of Ministry.

Firstly, the Priesthood of All Believers. 1 Peter 2:9 talks about all the Church being a priestly people, a chosen generation. Unfortunately, there seems to be a twofold confusion in the Church over this doctrine. Some people talk about the ‘Priesthood of All Believers’ with no distinction between lay and ordained ministry. Others believe that only a Priest has a function in active ministry, and quite often leave him/her to it.

 

This causes at the best of times confusion, and at the worst, division. There are two Greek words for ‘priest’ in the Bible. The first one is hiereus meaning “sacred one”, which refers to that passage in 1 Peter. The other one is presbyteros meaning “one with elder hood”, as referred to in passages such as Titus and 1 Timothy.  Evidently, the doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers is talking about the former greek word.

 

That said, we as a priestly people, i.e the WHOLE Church are called to go and make disciples. The problem sometimes is that due to the confusion of this doctrine, active ministry of all believers doesn’t happen.

 

This first thing has prompted me to think about ‘Future Patterns of Ministry’. As you know, if you read this blog regularly, I am currently going through the selection process to be an ordinand in the Anglican Church, more specifically the Church in Wales. One of the criteria talks about ‘Future Patterns of Ministry’. What exactly are future patterns of ministry? Well, I guess in short, it’s how the Church is going to fulfil the Great Commission in the future, taking into account sociopolitical and cultural situations.

 

So, thinking about the Church in the UK, what do I think is the way forward for the Church (or at least, one of the ways forward)?  The one thing I think which would make a huge difference to the Church and how we go about our mission is rethinking the place of lay ministry. We need to stop thinking that only those who are paid by the church can do church ministry.

 

Granted, there are many churches who do a great job of getting those who sit in the seats on a Sunday to minister throughout the week. But, generally, and stereotypically I think, the Church isn’t good at this. Many may feel undervalued, unconfident, and maybe even under qualified. This should not be.

 

It’s especially more crucial in the 21st Century that everyone mucks in with the work that’s been set before us. In a culture where everything seems big, impersonal and non stop, it’s no longer feasible for a minister or Vicar to pop round to everyone’s houses and take pastoral care amongst their local communities. Local communities aren’t the same as they were years ago. A local community these days could refer to a whole city! Parishes are getting bigger, merging, changing, and the needs are differing. Saying this, all these changing conditions make the priestly people, the Church the ideal group for reaching out to these communities, rather than just a handful of clergy and church staff.

That’s what I’m currently thinking. What are you thinking about the Church at the moment? Maybe this video will provoke you…

0
Share
Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Joe Bloggs

    Mr Dean,

    Big time fan, first time reply. God Bless ya Brother! May I suggest you train as a baptist pastor, you ideas of church and the preisthood of all beleivers is what Baptists think…might be more suited to ya bro!

    Keep up the blog, it’s a good read!

    JB

    • Thanks for the comment, Joe Bloggs 🙂 You may suggest it, but my calling is to the Anglican church, which, believe it or not, believe the same thing as the Baptists in terms of the church and the priesthood of all believers too! Thank you for your support and encouragement. I do love it when people engage with the content I put up on here.

      Hope you have a blessed rest of your week! Stay in touch!