Monday, 21 July 2008

Tears of strength

3 weeks in and I don't ever remember being so utterly humbled and emotional for such a sustained period of time. So utterly amazed and bemused at the rich depth of love God has for me, for us, for them.

Last night we had some training for people who lead a different section of a cell group. As I looked around I saw such a range of people, such a range of ages and backgrounds, people who have endured such hardship and people who have enjoyed such blessing, all gathered and learning that they have a role to play in church life. 4 of the 11 came to faith within the Church, which again is such a tremendously humbling thing. They have a role to play.

I think true church leadership is about ordaining the priest in every believer, not just securing it for ourselves. The reformation gave us the lovely phrase "priesthood of all believers" but did we reform the systems, teaching, practice and model of church life to actually make that a reality?

In 1520 Luther said this: "That the pope or bishop anoints, makes tonsures, ordains, consecrates, or dresses differently from the laity, may make a hypocrite or an idolatrous oil-painted icon, but it in no way makes a Christian or spiritual human being. In fact, we are all consecrated priests through Baptism, as St. Peter in 1 Peter 2[:9] says, "You are a royal priesthood and a priestly kingdom," and Revelation [5:10], "Through your blood you have made us into priests and kings.""

Martin Luther, Weimar Ausgabe, vol. 6, p. 407, lines 19-25

That's why I believe in a "small groups" model and find the cell stuff so refreshing, as it takes the emphasis of worship, bible study and witness out of the role of the professionals and into the hands of every believer. The role of the "professionals" is to equip all, not do it for them, and the body gets stronger for it.

To top off an excellent evening - one lady told me that her friend had responded to the talk in the morning and had come back to the real living faith she had experienced in the past. It's moments like that when you know God has achieved it, because there is nothing in me that could except Him.

No comments: