Response: The answer is clear from the commission Christ gave the apostles after His resurrection as He sent them into all the world: “Go ye therefore, and teach [disciple] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew:28:19-20).
The apostles were to make disciples through the gospel. And all those who believed on Christ and were baptized were to be taught to obey everything that Christ had taught the original disciples. That, of course, meant that the new disciples were to go and make other disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe everything Christ had commanded the original disciples.
If we would obey Christ there is no way to escape the fact that every true Christian is a successor of the original apostles and is authorized and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do everything that Christ commanded, taught, and empowered the original disciples to do. Every Christian must necessarily be the “disciple of a disciple,” and so forth all the way back to the original disciples!
There is no elite class in the body of Christ who alone can perform baptisms or preside over the communion of the bread and wine in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins, etc. The church is not divided into clergy and laity; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.