I’ve had a very unique journey to land at the place where I am currently operating compared to the traditional route to this type of role. On paper, I’ve gone to the wrong schools and studied the wrong stuff and acted the wrong ways for years prior to this place of service. While I have a decent intellectual grasp of why I believe what I teach, the ministry I am entrusted with is more a reflection of my experience than it is my knowledge.
Based on this non-traditional approach to getting to where I have gotten, I would have been disqualified in traditional, denominational Christianity of the last century. There were certain gates that had to be passed through in order to get from one side of the equation to the other. If those gates were successfully navigated, then you could be a keeper of the tradition that afforded that passage.
There were a couple of metrics that were in play. One was when you received the sacrifice of Jesus as your own. Then there was “those called to ministry.” If called, and obedient, then the process of gates could begin towards your job in a church or in missions. You were invited, the thinking went, to be a professional Christian.
Now, I believe we get called into things by the Lord. We get invited into His stuff and are commissioned to bring good news to other people. There are no gates and there is no difference between the “pros” and the non-paid. Non-paid believers are just as called and just as gifted, maybe more so in many cases.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 says that “anyone” in Christ is a “new creation” and “reconciled” to Christ. It says that those that are reconciled to Christ are given a “ministry of reconciliation,” and are, in fact, “ambassadors for Christ.”
I’ll submit that part of the rejection of church by society in recent years is tied back to the demonic scheme of the division between “clergy” and “laity.” This division is supported by the gates of a system that distinguish certain Christians above others in the practice and administration of Christianity. Nobody wants to be picked last or left out and many in the millennial generation and others are simply going to a different playground.
People are born again by a significant encounter with the Living God through the grace of Jesus Christ. When that happens, they are undone and want to build on the passion born of encounter. If/when we relegate them to door greeters with a ceiling of being plate passers, we quench the fire and start the clock towards their complacency. For those that are paid to equip others in the calling of ministry, that’s malpractice.