The “every member a minister” movement is growing. Reggie McNeal described it this way in Revolution in Leadership: Training Apostles for Tomorrow’s Church:
Typical church thinking views the ministry as clergy-driven and clergy-dominated, the province of those credentialed to represent God. The laity serves mostly by providing a resource pool of time, energy, and money to generate and operate the clergy’s program.
Missional churches empower God’s people for genuine ministry. They do not just invite them to come alongside the “professionals” as their helpers. (p. 39)
The biblical foundations for the movement are plainly presented in Greg Ogden’s Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God.
What is the implication for seminaries?
The founders of Rockbridge Seminary wrestled with this question:
How do we re-engineer seminary to serve the church that teaches every member ministry?
As now seen in the design of Rockbridge Seminary, we shifted traditional seminary thinking in 4 ways:
1. We view ministry as a role, not as a profession. No distinction is made between volunteer and vocational ministry.
2. We view seminary education as ministry development, not credentialing. Our purpose is to help a student fulfill his or her calling to service.
3. We view an academic program as a learning journey to be walked, not a series of courses to be finished.
4. We view seminary faculty as learning and ministry mentors whose primary objective is to help students reach ministry development goals.