Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing Laity for Ministry

(Michael J. Christensen). Abingdon Press, 2000.

With essays by nine writers, 'Equipping the Saints' finds a niche among the growing number of books that emphasize the “priesthood of all believers” in their responses to the church’s twenty-first century challenges. In the foreword, evangelism professor Leonard Sweet asserts: “There is only one mission: God’s mission”—not one mission for the ordained and another for the laity. Editor Michael Christensen envisions three major streams of ministry in the “one river of God”: community, worship and mission. “No longer,” says Christensen, should “we continue to call people in the worship stream ‘clergy’ and those in the mission stream ‘laity.’ Rather, all the baptized may be ordained as ministers, called and equipped to swim in a particular tributary in the one river of God.” This book examines various experiences in congregations’ small-group ministries and laity’s role in them. A particular example, described in one essay, is Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois. Ministers and lay leaders alike will find both inspiration and guidelines for addressing the reality that the “called out ones” are all of God’s people.