According to the New Testament, God wants church services to be spiritual sprinkler systems where the Holy Spirit freely flows from everyone present. (See 1 Corinthians 14:26.) This is God’s powerful “prophetic activation” (a phrase made popular by Sandy Powell of Nashville, TN).
When a church service is allowed to be a spiritual-round-robin sprinkler system, moderated and directed by the living, resurrected Jesus Christ, the glory of God shows up! “If an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’” –1 Corinthians 14:24-25.
So is the clergy/laity concept biblical? “Are there two standards of service, one high and Christlike, and one much lower, made to meet the case of little, lean, cowardly souls? No! No! No!” –William Booth (co-founder of The Salvation Army)
At The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, Tennessee, we believe that every Christ-follower is clergy and is called by God to be a minister/witness, regardless of how he/she makes a living. (This was taught by Martin Luther and other leaders of the Reformation and is called “the priesthood of the believer.”) We also use a different worship leader each week so that no one person or group is exalted above the rest of us.
If you are in the Nashville area, check it out: Sunday mornings at 10:45 — 225 Berry Street, 37207.