In the Old Testament, the priesthood was a conferred office. This is still true in some denominations today, but not in others. Within those churches, those holding the office have recognized authority and responsibilities. Outside of those churches, the accepted position is that all believers hold the priesthood. What have I given you the authority to do in my name? Heal the sick? Declare the good news of the Kingdom to the poor and the lost and the blind? An easier question is what have I denied you the power to do in my name. Nothing. I have given you a durable power of attorney.
Do you know how large the Body of Christ is? You do not have a way to take a census of all believers, but I do. I know those who are mine. There are many members and many denominations. Some of these have a strong hierarchy structure with a visible leader and others do not, but even within well-defined organizations there is a wide range of opinion. With no structure in your world to unify my body it is remarkable that it is as unified and consistent as it is in core beliefs. Does this point to a unifying influence beyond this world?
What do you look for in a pastor? Education is highly rated, and an important part of being a theologian. So seminaries select professors for high academic credentials and they create institutions and graduates according to the same value system. What is the core value of the Christian faith? Don’t believers claim that love is more important than anything else? How would you describe me and rank the things that I considered important? Would education ever appear at the top of the list? How is love expressed in every aspect of your church life?
Are you a hopeful person? What are you hoping for? People generally use this term in connection with a specified outcome, such as, I hope my car will start, or, I hope I don’t get sick, or lose my job. These are valid concerns but is this the Biblical type of hope referred to along with faith and love? What if those things you hope for do not come to pass the way you want? Is hope still a valid concept? Even if you don’t get what you want, do you still believe that you live in a favorable and benevolent world and that I watch over you in love to secure your ultimate good?
Do you draw a strong distinction between full time ministry workers and laymen? Do you see your own occupation as full time Christian work? Let me rephrase the question. Are you a full time Christian? Have I instructed you that you are to do whatever you do as unto me? The Bible recognizes church offices, but it makes a stronger case for inclusion and all belonging to one body than it does for multiple classes of believers. I want you to think of whatever you do as full time Christian work, whether you are a farmer, engineer, barber, or truck driver, among others.
Have you ever killed time? You understand that time cannot be killed in the same way that living sentient beings can, but this is a common phrase never the less, and for good reason. If you pass time without any accomplishment or worthwhile activity, it is just as dead, and it will pass at a uniform rate either way. Does this concept imply that you have a duty to move ahead, to make connections and progress? I told my disciples that their time was always ready. Have you ever been in a situation where there was nothing beneficial you could do?
Do you believe in Santa Claus? Children believe in Santa because adults tell them to. The adults know better, and generally leave it to the kids to figure out the truth on their own. Yet adult believers who claim not to believe in Santa still have an approach to prayer. What are the essential features of your prayer life? Does it involve a list of requests? Do you expect answers on the basis of whether you have been naughty or nice? Do you ask primarily for toys for yourself?
Are you an evangelist? The Great Commission applies to every believer. Where do you begin? You have certain doctrines that you consider essential to your faith, so you may be tempted to begin there, cutting to the chase, so to speak. But your audience may not be ready for that. Education typically proceeds in a logical progression, building concept upon concept. Evangelism is a type of education, and people learn what they don’t know by comparison to what they do know.
Do you face opposition to the advancement of your faith? Do you identify this as coming from your spiritual adversary known as the accuser? Is this a doctrinal position, or something you have a conscious awareness of in real life? The opposition is real enough. Do you see it more as external resistance or internal resistance? Can you identify sources of external resistance? What about internal resistance? Can you examine your own fears, biases, prejudices, narrow, lazy, sloppy, or self-serving thinking, and realize how these things are holding you back?
Do you like stability and predictability? Do you like to be comfortable? These things are generally preferred, but if these are your primary goals you will live a life that is too small for you. Growth requires exposure to the new and unfamiliar. There is no predictability in new situations, and you cannot expect to be proficient in new tasks on your first attempt. Don’t let this fear discourage you from moving onward. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly at first. How else would you start? I have called you to follow me, but everywhere I lead you I will be beside you and support you.