The people of God are set apart in order to be sent back into the world. What does the gathered people of God need in order to carry out their vocations in society? How will they be the transformed, equipped, empowered people of God serving in the world through their ministries in daily life? How are their skills for ministry and leadership in the congregation being strengthened?
And as we move beyond the church doors, do we know the ministries in daily life to which each other is being called? How will we walk with one another in those varied arenas, any and all of which are places for potential ministry and for working toward a more just and peaceable world? And what about the people whose lives the congregation members touch? What does daily transformation of the body of Christ mean in the lives of those people? How can we really make a difference in the world?
To believe in the communion of saints is to believe that God is the Creator of the whole world, that Christ is and continues to be incarnate in that world, and to claim the Spirit’s power. As leaders walk with the laity, listen to and engage the theological questions people raise from being involved in the world, ministerial leadership becomes more interesting, more vital, more theologically challenging and alive. And ministry is multiplied.
Those who have been called to faith in Jesus Christ have been faithfully ministering in the world in each generation. Full recognition of this ministry and these ministers by the church is the issue. In that regard we have a transformation waiting to happen, an unfinished reformation.
For an article that discusses these issues in full, click on the title of this post. I prepared this article for a Lutheran World Federation conference, “Theology in the Life of Lutheran Churches,” March 25-31 in Augsburg, Germany.