Something that I and a few friends who have recently moved into Sydney have noticed is that churches in the city presently have a lack of lay leadership. Instead, they have an ever increasing staff team - mostly made up of mts type workers or catechists or something. I have noticed this in several churches I have visited recently, and a friend of mine has noticed it in the particular AFES group that he belongs too.
What this would appear to say about our churches is that we think all problems can be solved by the hiring of new staff. Sadly, this prevents the development of lay leadership within congregations. Actually, and potential leadership from the laity with churches fails to blossom becauser they are the people most likely hired as staff.
for my mind, the most obviosu (but not only) example of this is the fact that I have seen very few (ie none at all) lay people lay service or preach in the city. Coming from the mountains, I and a friend of mine have found it quite bizarre.
Of course, I am sure that churches in the city provide excellent training and experience for their staff. But it is a short term solution, because it fails not only to train all people in the church to exercise their gifts, but also stops people from taking responsibilty. My AFES friend mentioned that some faculties have felt the lack of pastoral care in their group, and have created a pastoral care team for the faculty. And whilst it has marginally increased the amount of pastoral care that is happening, it has also discouraged everyone else from doing pastoral care because they are not on the pastoral care team.
There is another church that springs to my mind way out west that has quite a respectable reputation in being able to train and equip their plethora of apprentices. The only problem was that the church had a string of these people come in for two years and then disappear as quickly as they arrived back to Sydney. And this left many people within the church with a lack of ownership.
I'm sure there is a solution out there, especially in Sydney of all places, the new home for the "priesthood of all believers." I'm just not sure what it is yet.