For all the faults of the institutional church, I think this is still true today. I know it is true in house churches...
Thursday, January 09, 2014
The role of leaders
The Romans assumed that the bishops and clergy were the active elements of the church and should they be destroyed, the masses of ordinary Christians would simply drift away. This was no doubt true of the pagan temples and perhaps for the Oriental faiths. But it was a misreading of Christianity where behind each bishop, priest, and deacon there was a line of lay persons ready and able to replace them.— The Triumph of Christianity, page 150