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2 brothers remind seminarians of link with laymen in ministry


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Seminarians preparing for ministry can learn a lot from laymen. With that in mind, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Mark Coppenger introduced two doctors who were members in the church Coppenger pastored, First Baptist, El Dorado, from 1983-88. He expressed a desire that all of the students experience the job of having godly laymen like John Henry Moore and Berry Lee Moore as a part of their churches.
The two brothers, both doctors, stressed the importance of lay ministries during an Oct. 29 chapel service at Midwestern in Kansas City, Mo. They were active in their churches, yet learned about the love of Jesus Christ while serving as deacons. Berry Moore said it was after this experience that he realized serving Christ is not only a privilege but also a Christian’s responsibility. Both men are now members of Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado.
“Christ continually served others and was always thinking of someone else’s needs,” Moore said. “That is the way we are to look to others. Everyone has a ministry — not just preachers. We should live a life of ministry.”
Moore challenged the students to find the word layman in the Bible. “It doesn’t exist,” he said. “The Bible has the words servants and saints. In truth, we are all soldiers of the cross. There’s no difference between those who are paid to do ministry and those who are not,” he said, adding, “We are all children of God and we should all be serving him.”
Moore added that work is the primary way a layperson can be a missionary. “As a physician, I come into contact with a lot of people my pastor could never reach,” he said.
John Henry Moore told the students that it is their job as ministers to encourage their congregation to get involved and to evangelize. “Laypeople can make a difference — and that involves you,” he said. “You have a special calling from God and that comes with some awesome responsibilities.”
Moore noted key priorities for ministers to focus on when shepherding a church. The first is to always keep your eyes on Jesus. Secondly, he said to “preach the Word of God in season and out of season.”
“You’ll stand before two kinds of people — the desperately ill and the dead,” he said. “A dead man does not need you to talk about the benefits of the Cooperative Program,” Moore said in establishing the priority of bringing life-giving messages for eternity. “If you stand and preach Jesus Christ, he will bring life.”
Moore encouraged students to model evangelism for their laypeople just as Coppenger had done that for him. Together, Moore said, they knocked on many doors to share the gospel with people in El Dorado.
Finally, Moore said a minister needs to love God’s people. “The church you pastor will not be your church — it’s God’s church,” he said. “Love the people as God loves them.”