A priest is a channel of forgiveness, grace, mercy, healing. A priest provides pastoral care. This is what God has called every believer to do and to be. The first step, then, in helping people move into ministry is to remind them of that, to tell them, "You are priests."
Over a decade ago, I visited an exciting church in the inner city of Chicago. While most Sunday sermons in that neighborhood echoed through half-empty auditoriums, the sermons of this church's pastor reached overflow crowds Sunday after Sunday. Obviously, it was an unusual church. People weren't just dropping their money in the plate and then putting their feet up while the pastor did all the work. They believed they were called to minister and by God's power could minister.
I had a chance to talk at length with the pastor. "What's the secret of your success here?"
"Simple," he said. "I just tell people who they are—chosen by God, his children, his priests. I don't shame them for what they are not; I tell them ...1