[ all are called -
some heavyweight views ]
In 1985, the Church of England published the report All
Are Called (p51)5 in which the Common Statement contains
Because all human beings
are made in the image of God, they are called to become
the people of God, the Church, servants and ministers
and citizens of the Kingdom, a new humanity in Jesus
we are tainted by our sinfulness, God’s wonderful
grace and love offer us all this common Christian
leaves everyone free to refuse this call; but the call
is there for all without exception.
… and for everybody, bishops, priests and laity
together, the great sacrament of our common calling is
our baptism …
Some of this is familiar stuff – after all, in
Matthew’s account Jesus’ last words are:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:19-20a)
But wait a minute, all are called to be “… ministers
… of the Kingdom”, that’s not so often realised. So why is it that ‘ministers’ are thought to be those who
lead churches, wear their collars back-to-front and are
somehow more holy than the rest of us?
The Bible is very clear: all baptised
Christians are called to minister God’s
grace, mercy, love and truth.
The eminent theologian Professor Paul Stephens
Ministry is an
‘accordion’ word that has come to mean whatever air
we put into it! … The Bible addresses this massive
confusion with a liberating perspective: ministry is
defined by Who is served … rather than the shape and
location of the deeds done.
Ministry is service to God and on behalf of
God in the church and the world.
Ministers are people who put themselves at the
disposal of God for the benefit of others and
God’s world. It
is not limited by the place where the service is
rendered, the function, the need met, by the title of
the person or even by the overt reference to Christ. As we will see, the Greek word for ministry (diakonia)
is simply the word ‘service’.
They are totally interchangeable ways of speaking
of the same reality. …
… So those who follow Jesus and are incorporated into
the family of God are servants.
The decisive thing about being a disciple of
Jesus is diakonia, offering one’s life in the
‘employ’ of the Lord even unto death.
Christians are people who put themselves at the
disposal of God. … Ministry is not an exceptional
optional activity for the people of God but rather part
of its essence
And this view of Christian
discipleship is not peculiar to one church tradition. The seminal World Council of Churches (WCC) paper 111 Baptism,
Eucharist and Ministry contains a section entitled The
Calling of the Whole People of God 16, which opens the
Ministry section of the paper and contains the
The Holy Spirit bestows on the community diverse
and complementary gifts.
These are for the common good of the whole people
and are manifested in acts of service within the
community and to the world.
They may be gifts of communicating the Gospel in
word and deed, gifts of healing, gifts of praying, gifts
of teaching and learning, gifts of serving, gifts of
guiding and following, gifts of inspiration and vision.
All members are called to discover, with the help
of the community, the gifts they have received and to
use them for the building up of the Church and for the
service of the world to which the Church is sent.
Whilst not binding on the 300 church traditions
that belong to the WCC, the paper was reached with a
“large measure of agreement” and we are asked to
note “That theologians of such widely different
traditions [including Roman Catholic] should be able to
speak so harmoniously about baptism, eucharist and
ministry is unprecedented in the modern ecumenical
seems, then, that all major church traditions or denominations agree, even
argue that all baptised believers should be involved in ministry to God, to
each other and to the world. There is
no disagreement about these ideas; it just takes a long time to get things
moving! Pray God that this site and
many other small initiatives may help God’s church to be a sign to the world of
a better way, as we each grow in our ability to minister his grace, mercy, love