I love Wimber's phrase that 'everyone gets to play'.
At a time when the Church is finally starting to awaken (as David Keen observes) to its call to mission and growth this needs I think to be matched but a rethinking on Vocation so that so many more can be empowered to get involved to pray, serve, create, innovate, risk, fail, have courage, lead initiatives and gather others into the advance of the Kingdom in this land. This will only happen if religious professionals in dresses (and me not in a dress:) can get out of the way and let the folk in the pews get on with it.
Tim Challies writes more on this in The intrinsic value of what you do (Yes you!) which I hope will affirm you if you run a business or are a mum, a doctor, a teacher, a student or any other occupation that might brand you as 'the laity' and thereby somehow as less holy, less connected to God or less able to be effective for the Kingdom.
It's quite simply poppy-cock to think that I am more connected to God than you (assuming you have repented and believed in Jesus).
God seems in my experience to use those who are hungry for Him, those who seek Him, those who wait on Him, petition Him and love Him.
'Many are called but few are chosen'
Matt 22 v 14
Who are chosen?
Are the chosen confined to Wesley, Whitfield, Wimber, Gumbel and Pullinger or indeed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Clergy?
No. Those who are chosen are those who quite simply desire to be and can't help themselves. Those who by the Holy Spirt at work in them yearn for it and are desperate for it.
By grace he is at work in some and that is a work of power.
It's interesting that the context of Matthew 22 is a directive to the religious professionals of the day.
I am one of those so must never say I haven't been warned.
So seek Jesus, spend time with Jesus, ask Jesus, listen to Jesus and just see what happens.
Finally, I share a MLJ quote from the Sermon on the Mount which goes some way to clearing up once and for all the misconception that any Christian is more 'special' than anyone else. The wonder of mercy and grace is the fact that you are a Christian at all.
"Read the Beatitudes, and there you have a description of what every Christian is meant to be. It is not merely the description of some exceptional Christians.
I pause with that for just a moment, and emphasize it, because I think we must all agree that the fatal tendency introduced by the Roman Catholic Church, and indeed by every branch of the Church that likes to use the term ‘Catholic,’ is the fatal tendency to divide Christians into two groups—the religious and the laity, exceptional Christians and ordinary Christians, the one who makes a vocation of the Christian life and the man who is engaged in secular affairs.
"That tendency is not only utterly and completely unscriptural; it is destructive ultimately of true piety, and is in many ways a negation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no such distinction in the Bible. There are distinctions in offices—apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists, and so on. But these Beatitudes are not a description of offices; they are a description of character. And from the standpoint of character, and of what we are meant to be, there is no difference between one Christian and another.
Let me put it like this. It is the Roman Catholic Church that canonizes certain people, not the New Testament. Read the introduction to almost any New Testament Epistle and you will find all believers addressed as in the Epistle to the Church at Corinth, ‘called to be saints.’ All are ‘canonized,’ if you want to use the term, not some Christians only. The idea that this height of the Christian life is meant only for a chosen few, and that the rest of us are meant to live on the dull plains, is an entire denial of the Sermon on the Mount, and of the Beatitudes in particular.
We are all meant to exemplify everything that is contained here in these Beatitudes. Therefore let us once and for ever get rid of that false notion. This is not merely a description of the Hudson Taylors or George Mullers or the Whitefields or Wesleys of this world; it is a description of every Christian. We are all of us meant to conform to its pattern and to rise to its standard."