We in the Churches of Christ are about as low church as you can get. We even claim to have no clergy — because every member is a minister.
We refuse to allow our preachers to be called “pastor,” and we’d be positively apoplectic if a preacher wore a clerical collar or robes.
We are so concerned to minimize the power of the preacher that most churches consider a minister automatically disqualified to be an elder.
But not every member gets paid, and not every member gets to sit in on the elders meetings. Not every member works fulltime for the church.
And there are other differences, too. We don’t let our ministerial class dress differently, but we certainly treat them differently — sometimes appropriately and sometimes not so appropriately.
So I figure it might be a good idea to lay some of this on the table and talk about it.
Now, I’ve never been on staff at any church. I’ve been an elder for a while, and I was a ministry leader and deacon for many years before that. I’ve hung around ministers all my life. But I can’t pretend to see the world through their eyes. Therefore, I will likely miss some critical issues, and I might even be insensitive to the ministerial perspective now and again. So please pitch in and help me sort through the issues that come up between our paid ministerial staff and the rest of us.
Here are some issues that seem to merit discussion —
What does the preacher do for a living? How many hours does he really work?
If he’d ever had a real job, he’d know how unrealistic his preaching is!
How come he expects me to volunteer in addition to my fulltime job — and he wants Fridays off?
Why doesn’t the minister have any friends at church?
He says he’s suffering from burn out. Is he serious?
He wants to take time off to get another degree?
I know my wife wears shorts, but I really think the preacher’s wife should set a better example.
You’ll get to come to the elders meeting if we ever discuss anything that matters to your job.
How little can we pay him without running him off?
Can you believe how the preacher’s kids act in church?
Why didn’t you visit my great aunt twice removed in the hospital?