The previous chapter looked at ontological and functional understandings of ministry and found that both were problematic for understanding a collaborative model of ministry. If we move away from essentialist differences how do we articulate the role of the ordained? Is there a way of speaking meaningfully about the distinctive nature of ordination that does not diminish the reality of the ministry of all? Austin Farrer, writing in the late 1960s, summed up the problem thus:

If all share in the priesthood of believers and if many lay people share in the functional tasks of the ordained, what is distinctive about the clergy?