Many years ago, the church I served as pastor had a number of members who were involved in “Lay Renewal.”
The centerpiece of the Lay Renewal movement was the Lay Renewal Weekend. The church would gather from Friday evening through Sunday night, led by lay people from other churches, and seek to hear from God in a special way.
Our church had been through a Lay Renewal Weekend a couple of years before I became the pastor there, and we had another one during my time there.
I have to admit that it was a special time for me. I was greatly blessed by the people who came from other places, and it was good to see God at work in the life of my church family.
I’ve often thought about the name of that weekend. Why “Lay” Renewal? Most of us know that we sometimes differentiate between two different groups within the church. There is the clergy. That would be someone like me – a pastor. And then there is the laity, or lay people – the ordinary church member.
I understand some people view the pastor as different. I remember hearing someone say about a dinner we had: “There were 15 men and the pastor,” as if I were not a man.
Or someone else said about a marriage retreat: “There were 10 couples, and the pastor and his wife.” So we’re not a couple?
The fact is that people often are intimidated by the office of pastor. When they see me jogging down the street, cutting my grass, attending a ball game or shopping at a grocery store, it actually dawns on some that I am very much like they are. And I hope it dawns on them as well that God uses everyday, ordinary people to accomplish his purposes in this world.
I think of a man like Nehemiah. He was not a preacher, priest or prophet. He was a government worker. He was a layman. And yet God used him to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem and lead the people to worship and serve the Lord. He cooperated with Ezra, the priest, to get this done. But he did his part, too.
I do not believe that God intends for us to be divided into two groups, one who serves more and another who serves less.
I know the pastor has significant responsibilities and do not shirk those. But God has called all of his children to walk with him.
I challenge you to be faithful in your service to him. He has a task that he intends for you alone. Will you be obedient? Will you follow him?