Lay Apologists are the Church’s Boots on the Ground
by Donnie Griffin
There are a lot of things going right for the Church these days. I know it doesn’t necessarily seem like it with all of the LGBT hoopla, but it’s true.
The recent push for the Church to alter the gospel to include the culture’s golden calf of absolute sexual freedom along with the recent Pew study that reveals a declining Christian population in America seems to be waking a few churches to the need of at least some level of preparedness to defend the Faith. That revival can be both positive and negative.
With the availability of apologetics training popping up in several seminaries and many Internet ministries, it’s easy to take a top down approach. It’s easy to determine which church leader(s) has the capability (free time) to be trained and let him loose on the congregation. That approach lends itself to a major mistake. When the apologetics ministry is focused on the leadership, the laity is subjected to apologetics teaching. How is that a mistake? Let me tell you.
In the world of church leadership, especially in smaller churches, it’s easy to see oneself as the person who stands between the world and the congregation. It’s easy to take on the role of protector. Sure, you teach the laity the Scriptures, but in the end, it’s easy to believe that it’s your spiritual leadership that guides them and keeps them from spiritual harm. In other words, it’s easy to assume that because you hold a title that you are called to some ministry while the laity are merely the uncalled masses who you are called to instruct how to live.
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I am not saying that church leaders who fall into this trap are guided completely by their depraved motives. I don’t believe that is true. I don’t believe that many church leaders are power hungry manipulators, although I have known a few. I’m simply saying that it’s easy to assume those roles without a great deal of diligence and introspection.
What would be a culpable error would be to realize that you have slid into this trap and continue without repentance.
Why is this an error?
The mistake is not in the original thought that church leaders should be called people. Pastors, elders, and deacons should not be elected due to seniority or availability. Neither is a degree or pedigree a qualification. Even the Biblical qualifications for elders and deacons listed in Timothy and Titus aren’t enough. These qualifications are prerequisites. They are not sufficient in and of themselves. A person must meet these qualifications but meeting them is only sufficient if that person is called.
The mistake is not realizing that the laity are called as well…
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