The Power of the Laity

From the late Rev. Lou Tarsitano, Rector of St. Andrew’s in Savannah, Georgia:

Someone mentioned, too, the potential power of the laity. And they do have great power, which most of them never choose to use, partially from a lack of sacrificial leadership, but also from a lack of taking up the cross themselves. Any ten middle class households can start a faithful congregation, not only because God would have spared Sodom for ten just householders, but also because of the power of the tithe. Those ten households have the power on the very first day that they agree to tithe to support a minister in their community on an economic basis similar to their own. Their first year’s budget is done on the very first day, so that every person God adds to their company is their store for the future.

If they can’t find a faithful clergyman to care for them, they can pay to educate a young man willing to pay them back with his love and service. They can also start a missions and building fund. The traditional BCP provides as many ways for these lay pioneers to worship God today, as it did the pioneers of earlier centuries.

I would add that no minister would start (or restart) a church from scratch with just the laity’s money.  In an Anglican environment, one would need at least lay readers, members of the vestry, volunteer sextons, etc.  If you want to grow the church, your lay people are your first outreach people.  That’s something that many ex-TEC ministers didn’t think about until they had to start again!

This essay as a whole is a stirring piece.  Let us take up the Cross and follow Him!

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