In recent years, the buzzword in many Christian circles is "marketplace ministry." According to the proponents of the marketplace ministry, the so-called sacred-secular or clergy-laity divide is simply regarded as an artificial division that is not biblically based. This issue emerged repeatedly in the recent Tentmakers International Congress (for my comments on the Congress, see here, here, here and here) and the NECF National Pastors-Leaders Consultation in Nation Building that I attended recently.
While I agree that the sacred-secular and clergy-laity divide is indeed an artificial one, in reality, this divide is clearly emphasised in the church today by both the "clergy" and "laity." I once spoke to a church leader that is championing the marketplace ministry some years ago. I asked this person whether he sincerely believed that the so-called existing divide between the sacred-secular needed to be addressed in the church. He gave me an affirmative answer.
Being cheeky, I then asked, "If this is the case, are you prepared to do everything you could to remove the great divide between the clergy and laity?"
He responded, "Yes, I am."
"Then are you going to address the great divide in the salary of the clergy and laity?" I asked.
"No," he answered. "The full-time workers are called by God to serve him in this capacity while the laity is not. So we definitely cannot pay them the market rate. After all, God also calls this group of full-time workers to trust Him to provide for their daily needs."
Hmmm...so much for the so-called sacred-secular divide being an artificial one.
Credit: Cartoon from Cartoonchurch.com