A ministering laity doesn't happen naturally. Many people still expect the pastor to do the ministry while they watch - and criticize. Changing that image requires shaking up time priorities. Pastors who develop strong lay leaders have learned to honor those who minister, not those who demand it.
Church members notice whom the pastor chooses to spend time with. They appreciate pastors ministering to the chronic dependents, but they lose respect if the emotionally needy or the "squeaky wheels" are able to dominate. Worse, they begin to assume the pastor is the designated minister, and valuable opportunities for building an active lay ministry are lost. A breeding ground for dragons begins to develop. Even if the solid, ministering lay people are not taken for granted, often they aren't given the time they deserve.
"One of the things that surprised me when I entered the pastorate was that people felt they had to have a problem to talk to me," says a Denver pastor. "All I heard was 'Pastor, ...1