In some religions, there is a clear distinction between the roles of people who work exclusively for the tasks of their religions—such as Buddhist priests and Christian ministers—and those of lay people.
How about Tenrikyo? No matter what position we may have, all of us followers have faith in God the Parent and try to follow the Divine Model of Oyasama. Also, it is important for all of us to use the Scriptures as the standard for our life—this way of living is referred to as single-heartedness with God.
When it comes to differences among us, some lead a life of faith while having a job or supporting their family, and others such as church head ministers focus on salvation work while living at their churches. Since the latter work exclusively for the path, they may be compared to Christian clergy.
However, it is not that we have different rules and precepts for living. For example, through working for the salvation of others, a follower may establish a church and become a church head minister. The distinction between head ministers and others is more flexible than rigid.
At the monthly service of each church, its head minister and other service performers wear the same service garment and perform the service together on the dais. The service is not performed only by the head minister or those who work exclusively for the path. When performing the service, we are all seen equally as service performers.
Likewise, the church head minister is not the only one who can carry out salvation work and administer the Sazuke, nor do other followers only visit and worship at their church. We all unite our efforts to advance the path of single-heartedness with God.
In the early days of the path, all followers had their own occupations to begin with. Among these early followers, there were those who gave up their occupations to focus on the salvation of others and eventually became church head ministers. It was their great enthusiasm for salvation work that led them to work exclusively for the path.
From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company