The Priesthood of All Believers

Date Published

August 22, 2022

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Published by Cory Willson

Jake and Betsy Tuls Professor of Missiology, World Christianity, and Public Theology

Do auto shop teachers and principals and dental office secretaries have a place on God’s mission map? In this video, institute director and Calvin Theological Seminary professor Cory B. Willson shares about the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and how we all can work together to seek flourishing in God’s world.

Your location and presence matters to God.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you do, God cares. First and foremost, because you matter to God. You were created to bear God’s image and one of the important ways you do this is through the work of your hands every day.

Then, when we look at work and its purpose, we see how the priesthood of all believers serves together in our fallen but redeemable world. What does it look like to be an electrician living out God’s mission? A photographer? A historian?

Colossians 1 tells us that Jesus is not just our redeemer but also our creator. His commitment to redemption builds upon his work of creation. God’s mission includes his purposes of creation and redemption. Therefore Jesus did not come to make us Christian in a spiritual sense, but to make us more fully human as God intended. This has tremendous implications for our daily lives! Colossians 3:23 reminds us: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…. Wherever you are, wherever you spend your time throughout the week, you are invited to be an active participant in God’s mission.

So, if you can live and breathe your mission every day in the kingdom of God, what does Sunday morning worship look like?

In their book Work and Worship (Baker Academic 2020), scholars Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson tell us, “From a theological perspective, pastors and worship leaders do not invite workers into the mission of God. The workers in the pews have been laboring within the missio Dei all week long.”

Instead, the authors note that pastors and church leaders have the role of acknowledging and blessing this missional work their congregants engage in on a daily basis. .

“The priesthood of all believers,” Kaemignk and Willson write, “desperately needs to be reminded of its high and holy calling to worshipful work.”

In doing so, gathered worship is not made less significant, but even more significant, because it facilitates the offering of their week of worship to God and reminds and refocuses worshipers for the task ahead in the coming week.

Wherever you find yourself today, be encouraged that in your work matters to God, you have a place on his mission map. Take a moment to encourage another by naming the creative or redemptive work you see them participating in. Reach out to your auto mechanic, your accountant, and yes, your pastor. Tell them that you see and value their work and so does God.

All work rightly belongs to God, so let’s be the ones who remember our calling, while reminding others of theirs.


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