Originally published in the Spring 2016 Quarterly Explorer
Our church is blessed to have marvelous ministerial leadership during this interim time. Our own staff as well as our interim pastor, Bert Browning, will be able to guide us through these coming months with wisdom and skill. However, there is a very important role each one of us can fill during this time as well. One of the hallmarks of the Protestant Reformation and a clear emphasis of our Baptist tradition is the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer. What a great gift we could offer our church during this time if we could commit ourselves to serve as ministers to those around us.
We often think that only Episcopalians and Catholics have liturgical services where highly symbolic actions are taken signifying important spiritual themes, but that is true of us as well. There is a great deal of symbolism in the way we celebrate communion, not by kneeling in front of a minister to receive the bread and the juice, but holding the communion trays in our own hands and serving them to others. Understand what is being said when laypersons distribute the trays and pass them on to others. You are a priest serving the body and blood
of Christ to the person sitting next to you. We are all priests and that fact is celebrated every time we have communion.
A dear friend, Findlay Edge, phrased it like this: “Baptism is as much a ministerial ordination as any Christian ever needs.” Imagine the explosion of ministry our church could experience if each one of us took seriously our calling to be a minister. Each one of us can be an ambassador for our church as we speak to others during the week. Each one of us can be attentive to the needs within our congregation and be ready to offer help. Be eager to say yes when the call goes out for volunteers to serve as chaperones, to be a host for CARITAS, to serve on church committees, to participate on a mission trip, or any other opportunity that will inevitably come during this interim. After all, we are all ministers and during this period our church needs us in a very special way.
As a minister, please support our church with your attendance, your financial support, and your active involvement. An early Latin name for a Christian minister was pontifex, meaning a bridge builder. That is the task of every one of us during this interim time, to build bridges on behalf of our church to a world in need.