John R. Stott said, “The first reformation put the Bible in the hands of laymen; the second reformation will place the ministry in the hands of laymen.”
One of the tenets of the 15th and 16th century church reform movements was the “Priesthood of all Believers.” Yet, hundreds of years later, many still experience a two-tiered system—the ministry professionals versus the volunteers.
Over the past year, I’ve been in a number of settings where I’ve heard believers who are not in vocational ministry give a testimony or share in some way. Several times I heard them describe themselves like this: “I’m not a staff person or pastor, I’m just a volunteer/doctor/home-maker/business person…” Each time I hear that kind of statement, it breaks my heart—because it reveals that subtle two-tiered value system.
I earnestly propose that we erase the “just.” Whether or not your ministry offers a source of income or professional title, no believer is “just” a disciplemaker. Every follower of Christ is part of Jesus’ plan to reach the world.
To drive this point home, take a minute to read Colossians 1:1-8. You’ll notice that Paul praises the ministry of his brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae. Everyday people are the main characters (and primary ministers!) in this passage. In contrast, Paul and Timothy position themselves as supporting characters, mobile alongsiders who empower and release generations of disciplemakers.
We need a new focus on ministry as the work of every person, who ministers in Jesus’ name right where they live, work, and play. The gospel was meant to spread to the highways, byways, nooks, and crannies of the earth, through believers embedded in a lost world. There is no “just” involved in that high calling. We are all co-laborers and we are all needed.
Have you ever been tempted to use “just” before describing your work in the Kingdom?