Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Missional leaders must cast-off the ‘clergy-laity divide’, and reassert the “priesthood of all believers” understanding that all believers are gifted for ministry while appreciating that not every believer is gifted in the same way or for the related ministries tasks. All God’s people are gifted for building up the body of Christ as each member uses his or her gift(s) in love (Ephesians 4). The reality is that God has afforded the church with ample resources to perform its mission and ministry in the world. As long as it submits to the Lordship of Christ and sensitively practices the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Thus missional leaders are called upon to discern God’s gifts among God’s people and stir them up to love and good works. However, gifting is best discovered in the context of mission. You will not discover your gifts by doing a gifts survey, but by engaging in mission and ministry in your local context. It is in the doing that you find out your gifts. This focus on the priesthood of all believers and the gifts of the Spirit does not imply that the local church does not need leaders to lead it. On the contrary, the more we acknowledge the challenge before us in this post-everything world, the more we will realise our need for leaders, who equip and enable God’s people for mission in this broken world.
Likewise, every believer must fully understand how their vocation plays a central role in God’s redemptive purposes in and for the world. God is a missionary God, and he calls his people to participate in his mission in the world. It means that not only is ‘every member of the church called to minister,’ but also all God’s people are called to be missionaries in the context that God has placed them. Thus, God’s purpose for his church and the world would be best served if we actively encouraged all God’s people to see themselves as missionaries. Missionary activity is not merely for a select group of people who go overseas. It also involves serving God in the local community, in our workplaces, in schools, in our neighbourhoods and our homes. The reality is that the whole of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ should be orientated towards bearing witness to Jesus in word, deed and life in whatever context God has placed us.