But why did the Baptists and the Methodists have an abundance of clergy? Both denominations developed systems that made it easy for gifted laymen to enter the ministry. Among the Baptists the local preacher, or farmer-preacher, was often a man of local origins whose call was ratified by his fellow congregants. It was not uncommon for more than one member of a congregation to receive “God’s call.” Those not selected to fill the local pulpit had to seek one elsewhere, typically by starting a new congregation. The result was free market competition among Baptist preachers and a generous supply of clergy to fill any available slot. The Baptist farmer-preachers came with the people because they were the people.

Rodney Stark, The Churching of America