The clergy are good politicians. They have their ear to the ground. Lately, there have been rumblings about the fact that they are too much the focus of the church institution. Not wanting to be obviously unbiblical, they have developed a new message for hooking you in. I call it, the "ministry-only-through-the-institution" fallacy. It goes like this:

1) From I Cor. 12, everyone is a 'minister' by virtue of his or her gifts. You are all ministers, and the preacher is the Minister. Who says the clergy don't believe in the ministry of all believers, anyway? 2) Now to be a Christian is to be a minister here at XYZ Christian Church. (Translation: The only legitimate ministry is through an institutional church.) 3) Therefore, you cannot be a genuine Christian without working here (or in some other institutional church). 4) God hates Mavericks or Lone-Ranger Christians (people who think for themselves). 5) Therefore, if you are not willing to work here [and let us be your boss], then you need to find another church home. (Question: will it be any different elsewhere?)

Now these words may not be exact. I scribbled the essence of this argument on the church bulletin (score-sheet) between the staff listing (roster) and the calendar (smorgasbord menu).

While the sermon (pep talk/strategy session) was being delivered (emoted), surveys (institutionalization agreements) were circulated listing open positions. I doubt that it occurred to anybody that the New Testament does not assume that all or any of our 'ministry' (work) must be coordinated (controlled, supervised) through some corporation. And if many important works are to be carried out in this world, functions which were conspicuously absent from the 'survey', we had better be brave enough and conscientious enough to go around the institution. Jeff R. Rada.