Hey, that's great. So did I once.
But I remember a professor back at CUNE backing up a student who took umbrage to the term "church worker." She was majoring in business or something like that and was involved at her church, but since she wasn't a DC[vowel] or LTD student, she wasn't a church worker. No, she was just a person who would be tithing on a real wage and serving her local parish not on the clock but with her free time. Think of it! Furthermore, she wasn't receiving a "church work" scholarship she'd feel obligated to work off even if she married and had children soon after graduation.
It is understandable for pious people to want to make a career of piety. But I wonder if career-ifying the service of lay people is best either for them or for the church. Lutheran school teachers, DC[vowel]s, deaconesses, and all the rest are, it is no secret, very poorly compensated (much worse than pastors). Placement is a constant problem, especially in the current economic climate. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who knows numerous Ministers of Religion-Commissioned who have been treated absolutely shamefully by church employers who ask far too much of them in the name of "ministry."
What would happen if all the good-hearted Concordia students of the world chose majors which gave them reliable prospects for a comfortable (might I even venture "fair"?) wage, supported their families thereby, and made church service a regular family extracurricular? How many families like this would it take to do the work of one full-time staff person, and what would those families gain from spending more time together at church? How might it benefit the unbelieving world to have more skilled Christian laborers, businessmen, and professionals rather than an ill-defined class of church-employed persons busying themselves in that sequestered environment with needs that have always existed in the church but only recently began requiring full time staff people? How might this affect perceptions of the doctrine of vocation? How might the church be affected by having fewer people on payroll and more people tithing off greater incomes?
I'm not saying the "church workers" are bad. I'm saying the opposite. They are devout, good-hearted people, as they have exhibited by being willing to make less money and take jobs which the world does not respect. But just imagine if all those people didn't go into full time "church work." They'd make enough money for their families to have more than soup and muffins for supper all winter. They'd have ongoing relationships with coworkers outside the church. They'd show up at church more often than Sunday morning because the life of the church is a priority for them. They'd be at evening Bible classes asking good questions. They'd be demonstrating to their kids that the best use of their free time is in the service of God and His people.
I wonder how pastors would answer if given the choice between one full time "church worker," or five active celibates or families who showed up every Cleanup Day and Wednesday night and at the homes of the sick and lonely; who salted the world and bore witness to Christ every day in their places of work; who sought pastoral counsel in matters of life and theology; who (in the case of families) grew and blessed the parish with well-catechized, church-loving children.