With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #29.
With their minister gone, church members lead us in the service, the entire service. They don’t need paid staff or a guest speaker to conduct the service; they can do this on their own.
I always appreciate seeing laity – that is, nonprofessional, nonpaid people – take part in leading a church service. It’s more personal and real, less of a performance or show. Some churches aren’t able to conduct a service without their pastor present (or at least have a guest preacher to give a message), while others manage just fine.
Having paid staff and professional clergy is an Old Testament model; it distracts us from the example set forth in the New Testament, where we are all priests, ministering to one another. Our churches would all be better off if we learned how to conduct services on our own, without the need of trained ministers to lead us.
Given the chance, I think we’d do just fine.