By Rev. Stan Davidson
Someone other than a preacher does much of the work that makes a church successful. “Laity” is most often the applied term for these individuals, but that term is inadequate at best. Yet, for lack of a better expression, let us focus on the laity.
“Laity” is defined as “people rather than clergy, or people not in a particular profession.” The reason I find the word inadequate is that these people are often referred to as nonprofessionals. This is true in the sense of they are not in the profession of the clergy, but I find many of them to be very professional. In fact, many of them are more equipped than the pastor to handle certain tasks of the church. To say they are not professionals is to belittle the gifts they can bring to the table.
I do believe that God has called the pastor to lead the congregation in all areas relating to the spiritual and natural operation of the church. Yet, one of the best statements I have ever heard concerning leadership is that “the best leaders surround themselves with people more capable than themselves.” God has provided many good laypeople that are submitted to the godly leadership in their lives and can bring some very wonderful talents to the church.
Bezaleel and Aholiab were professional craftsmen who designed the furniture for the Old Testament Tabernacle. God specifically stated in scripture that He put understanding in them for the task. (Exodus 36:1) I am certain that the finished product looked much better than what Moses could have built, especially if Moses’ construction talents were anything like mine.
There have been many “nonprofessionals” throughout history who have played key roles in building church buildings and church congregations; people who never graced a pulpit to present a sermon, song, or Bible study. They were skilled laborers who dedicated their talents to God.
God is reawakening this principle in the Apostolic movement, and He wants us to have a fresh appreciation for these valiant warriors of the cross. I recently observed some skilled laypeople do some marvelous work in Guatemala. A few days ago I preached in Greenville, Alabama in a building built by Alabama Church in a Day, a crew consisting of many non-preachers. I have observed in the church that I have pastored for almost 30 years that God has blessed us with many skilled men and women who play key roles in the growth that is occurring.
Faith is an awesome thing and cardinal to church progress, but James tells us plainly that faith without works in dead. As Sr. Pastor, I recently “spoke a remodeled platform into existence.” In other words, I gave the go ahead, yet nothing happened until some men in the church brought designs and plans; then hammers, saws, energy, and talent to the room.
God has provided Alabama with builders, metal workers, electricians, plumbers, decorators, chefs, organizers, environmental technicians, certification inspectors, and whatever you may name. Some of them hold ministry license cards in their pockets, but many have never graced a pulpit. But, they may have built a pulpit.
So, thank you. You may not sing as loudly as the next guy or be the first to clap your hands, but thanks for the platform I stand on each time I preach. Thanks for the beautiful pulpit that I stand behind. Thanks for keeping the IVA system running and sounding good. Thanks for the skilled music that ushers me into God’s presence. Thanks for a clean sanctuary that smells nice when people walk through the doors. Thanks for rest-rooms that look attractive and smell marvelous. Thanks for the dinners and fellowships, and even the skits and plays that make me laugh.
Thanks for that extra offering when the missionary comes by. Thanks for the fruits of your labor, the tithes and offerings. Thanks for the orphanage house in Guatemala where many children will find a Christian home. Thanks for a place to worship God when we all come together. Thanks for the special gift when another saint is hurting and in need. And, by the way, thanks for the little extra hug and the “I’m praying for you.” You will never know how much it means to me.
The above article, “FOCUS on Laity,” is written by Rev. Stan Davidson. The article was excerpted from Focus on Alabama Magazine.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.