Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions How to Turn Pew Sitters Into the Ministry A-Team

How to Turn Pew Sitters Into the Ministry A-Team

“I’m not interested in being on somebody’s B-team,” my friend said.

He was talking about churches that distinguish ministry work and responsibility based on whether a person receives a salary from the church. Those on the A-team (pastors and ministry staff) call all the shots, closely control all the work of the church, and lead all initiatives. The B-team is expected to pay the salary of those on the A-team, follow orders and be quiet.

My friend is a highly capable, extremely successful guy in the real world. He has lots of ministry ideas and the leadership talents to make big things happen. But he’s been told to conform to the status quo of the A-team. Now he’s become frustrated enough that he’s given up completely on the organized church.

Though rarely referred to as such, the A- and B-team distinction is widely evident. It is one of the significant factors causing the decline of the American church today. Unfortunately, the majority now perceives that ministry—and being a disciple—is something that paid professionals do. The role of the people is to attend a presentation once a week, watch the rehearsed show, pay the performers, go home and resume life as usual.

This A/B distinction is not only disempowering the disciples, it’s discouraging our most capable, highest capacity people. They’ve somehow construed that they’re just members, second-rate Christians because they lack a theological degree, and cannot truly lead without being on the church payroll.

What’s more, members and attendees sometimes gather the impression that the clergy have attained higher favor with God.

A Message of Hierarchy

How are the people getting this sense of hierarchy? It often comes across in subtle and unintended ways. Some examples:

a. The church’s website illustrates its ministry with dominant pictures of the pastor.

b. The church attributes its success (Sunday attendance) to the work of the professionals on stage.

c. The staff describes ministry fruit in terms of the number of members who have gone on to pursue full-time ministry (paid).