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In the history of the Christian Church, the Reformation stands tall in the impact and influence it has had upon the people of God. But before I develop that statement, let me remind you of the first part of what became my personal vision or mission as a Pastor. In my last 3 posts I identified the first part of my vision: "Giving the Church Back to God".

The Reformation gave us - plain vanilla Christians -  so much that had been "stolen" from God's people by the Church in what we might call the dark ages. The Reformation gave the Bible back to us. It gave us justification by faith alone. We were given the priesthood of all believers.

For all that, there was one thing that the Reformation failed to return to the people and that was "The Ministry". Instead of the reformation of ministry there came about a re-definition of ministry. The clergy/laity distinction was still in place. As it is to this very day. The ministry was (and still is in no small degree) in the hands of the "called ones" or the professionals.

This is where the 2nd part of my personal vision came into focus. Not only was I to be one who was "giving the Church back to God"; I was also to be one who was "giving the ministry back to the people".

This meant that I, as a Pastor, was not to be the sole provider of ministry in our Church. Given that the gifts of the Spirit are as real and dynamic as the fruit of the Spirit, my primary responsibility is to do all I can to connect every member of our Church with their spiritual gifts and in so doing I will be "giving the ministry back to the people".

At this point I'd like to report amazing success in this two-fold mission. That's what I'd LIKE to report! The truth is that some folk resisted this focus or emphasis. The implications for them were far too costly and, I suspect, too inconvenient for their chosen lifestyle. Others just didn't get it. This may have had as much to do with my inability to explain it adequately as with their ability to grasp it.

However, I'm delighted to report that some got it with a passion and they moved to a level of ministry and maturity that stirs deep thanksgiving in my heart. As a Pastor, I find few things more rewarding than to help others become connected to their ministry - that to which they have been called and empowered by God.

"Giving the Church back to God and the ministry back to the people"

My personal experience suggests that whole churches are not going to make the transition from being a clergy-centred ministry to an every-member ministry. Those who make this change will always be in the minority (I suspect).

I have the enormous privilege of being a mentor to a number of younger Pastors and this is a perspective I seek to communicate to them. We may not change the world (so to speak) but there will be those who will come with us on the journey as we seek to live in a posture of giving the Church back to God and the ministry back to the people.

But how do we give the ministry back to the people? I have a couple of ideas that I'd like to share with you in my next post - Part 5

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