Do you run this Church?

I was pleased when my post on General Conference led to a conversation with a good friend who gave me a fresh perspective on my own church leadership.  Among other things, she kindly observed that it was nice that our leaders were able to speak to us in a televised fashion every six months.  It had never occurred to me that this was unusual until my friend pointed this out, and I was led to ponder on some of the other ways that the church leadership is unique.  One of these differences is that of a lay ministry, which is not very common today, and moreover, it parallels the one that Christ had set up when he was here on the earth about two thousand years ago.

When Jesus walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he saw fishermen working on their boats and he called out to them. His simple words, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew. 4:19) were taken seriously by his apostles, and they dropped what they were doing and followed him.  These men walked with Jesus, taught with Jesus, and administered with Jesus.   They never asked how much such a living would gain or if there were any health or dental benefits included.  I assume that they did it because they felt that it was the right thing to do.  It was not an easy, luxurious lifestyle they led, but they were often the first to witness miracles performed by Jesus, and to come to know personally that he was the Savior of all mankind.

Today, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there are prophets, apostles and other church leaders who travel all over the world, from Boston to Kenya, from Alaska to Australia, teaching and administrating to everyone, not just members of the Church.  They receive no income from this work because they don’t see it as work.  At the local levels, individuals who are old enough are asked to serve in one capacity or another, whether as teachers, speakers, sacrament blessers and/or passers (the list goes on and on), and no one draws a salary.  So why do we do it? Why put in your time, money, efforts and talents towards something without remuneration?  I’d like to hope that everyone gains something, but perhaps not monetarily.

As the Bible teaches us, there are countless blessings in store for those who comes when Jesus beckons. It’s this idea that we are all helping each other, so that we can come closer to the Savior and become more like him.  Our lay clergy helps remind me that I don’t have to be a professional or divinity school graduate to help build the Kingdom. Who runs this church?  We all do!

One thought on “Do you run this Church?

  1. kasey

    People are also often surprised to hear that our missionaries pay their own way to serve a mission, rather than being paid to give 2 years of service to the church.

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