My purpose has not been to offer a systematic or polemical theology. My desire is to give a theological explanation for the history of the Lutheran view of Christian Vocation. Whether readers agree with the theological reactions against Rome, it is my hope that people see how Luther and other reformers gave much of the laity a renewed sense of Godly focus and energy in their daily lives. Indeed, as a pastor, this has become an area of great importance to me. In my experiences, churches function best when the laity is deeply invested in the life of the church. As a Lutheran, I would agree that our greatest contribution as Christians is to recognize, celebrate, and receive the grace that we already possess in Jesus Christ.
There are practical ways we can accomplish a renewed vision of lay vocation. I am the Connections Pastor at New Life Lutheran Church, and congregational leadership has been very intentional about moving from speech that implies membership to speech that implies discipleship. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being the member of an organization, including the church. The problem of the modern church, however, is at least as ancient as the Reformation. Membership now often implies a passive approach to church life.
Adam Roe is the pastor of New Life Lutheran Church in Sterling, IL.