While we're at it, there are plenty of lousy terms to go around. "Public ministry" is certainly one of them, but I think the worst has to be "church workers." I think of guys in hard hats.
It would be funny, but the truth is that it denigrates the Holy Office.
I suppose someone could answer that you need a term for that section in the synodical website. What are you going to call pastors, teachers, and deaconesses (are they listed in there too?), all at once.
Answer: how about "Pastors, teachers, deaconessess"? Is that really so hard?
In addition, "church workers" has to be about the clumsiest designation I've ever heard.
Of course it has plenty of longevity. I think St. Leo the Great was the first to use it, during the controversy with Dioscorus. Just kidding.
New administrations in the LCMS have a way of putting their mark on things. The Bohlmann administration gave us the current LCMS cross (ah, more on that later, sometime); the Barry administration gave us those nice little "What About" tracts; the Kieschnik administration gave us, well, you know . . .
So here's a suggestion to pass along: how about the Harrison administration making a review of our nomenclature?
Church workers? Honestly.