[Continuing the discussion on Andrew’s two groups here.]
Group B says that every Christian is a minister in the sense that they are a servant. This group recognizes that not all are called to formal Word and Sacrament ministry (i.e. Pastoral Ministry), but all are called to exercise their spiritual gifts for the edification of the body of Christ.
Again, who has ever, in the history of Christianity, denied that all Christians are servants? But to use the terminology of “everyone a minister” obscures the real issue. When Oscar Feucht wrote the eponymous book, he wasn’t saying only that “everyone’s a servant.” He was specifically espousing the idea that pastors are only there to “equip the saints” for their ministry, which was the only real ministry. Pastoral ministry, for Feucht, was a purely functional thing that existed not as an objective office established by Christ to give out His gifts, but to equip all Christians to do the real work of ministry. Needless to say, this ain’t a Lutheran idea. One need only refer to AC V to see this.
I don’t see how the second part of this section is any different from what you say Group A believes. To each his own vocation.
This group loves the idea of small group bible studies, because they foster fellowship, discipleship, edification of the body of Christ, and can serve as informal outlets for evangelism. This group realizes that some lay people do have the spiritual gifts of teaching, leading, and knowledge. Equipping such people with Biblical commentaries with discussion questions and answers could be quite effective.
I think you should note that they can foster those things. They can also foster heresy and false teaching with little or no pastoral oversight–which, I think, is the rule, not the exception. A side-question: what qualifies “teaching, leading, and knowledge” as “spiritual” gifts that are different from what any particular teacher has? I’m just not clear on what is meant by “spiritual gifts” here.
Having a ministry to the married, or a ministry to college students are also need oriented examples of ministries that aim at a particular group of people. Ministering to college age people will probably be different then ministering to senior citizens. Why? Because they are facing different challenges, and wrestling with different issues. In conclusion, Group B believes in empowering leadership, and equipping the saints for service in the church, while Group A thinks that their service is primarily outside in society.
There may be valid and good reasons for having groups aimed at different ages; why not different groups aimed at different races? I think this has a more likely effect of enforcing group stereotypes rather than breaking them down. The Church is one body, and as such shouldn’t we aim at gathering the various ages, backgrounds, etc. into one community? Segregation based on any criterion would seem to exacerbate the problems in our churches, rather than alleviate them. I’m having trouble with definitions again. What does “empowering leadership” mean, exactly? And why set up “in the Church” against “outside in society”? Surely Christians live primarily “in the world”; why ghettoize them?