C.S Lewis on Christian Lay Leadership and Witness

September 21, 2015

Today C.S Lewis is best known for his fictional work, especially The Chronicles of Narnia which was later made into a multi billion block buster movie series. However, CS Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and was an important thinker of Christian morals and ethics. His book Christian Behaviour provides and important insight on lay leadership. Lewis writes:

When they ask for a lead form the Church most people mean that they want the clergy to put out a political program. The is silly. The clergy are those particular people within the whole Church who have been specially trained and set aside to look after what concerns us creatures who are going to live forever, and we are asking them to to do a different job for which they have not been trained.

The application of Christian principles say to trade unionism or education, must come from trade unionist and Christian schoolmasters, just as Christian literature comes for Christian novelist and dramatist, not from the bench of bishops or clergy trying to write plays and novels in their spare time.

C.S Lewis’s comment teaches three important lessons.

First, the Christian ministry and mission must be exercised in God’s world. That is why Jesus demand of the Christian disciple that he or she understands his or her responsibility through three images: salt, light and yeast.

Salt makes a difference to the flavour of food. The Christian is called upon to make a difference to the world.
Light transforms the darkness. In is the Christians’s vocation to transform situations of darkness.
Yeast changes dough. The christian person must be an agent for change by his or her lifestyle and activity.

The second lesson is that the Christian lay person is at the frontier of Gods’ mission. The Christian must proclaim Gods’s loving a caring rule.

Third, Lewis reminds the Christian community of the variety of ministries in which members of the body of christ must be engaged. God’s ministries are not only excised in the Church, but in the world. In fact, the clergy must prepare God’s people for their ministry in God’s world.

Worship and sacrament must come alive in God’s world. Biblical reflection must guide god’s people to realise his Kingdom. The prayers we say must issue in prayer living, so that we can follow the Benedictine watchwords “To work is to pray” Christian life therefore must become incarnate in daily Christian living