"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
A. Doing the Lord’s Work in the Work Place
Ask any Christian in today’s church how you bring people into the church or grow it, you will get very mixed responses. However, the summary of those responses will center around programs, music type, preaching, traditional vs. contemporary, etc.
What's holding us back from doing the Lord's Work? Out of 52 parables, 43 were work related. Jesus appeared in ministry 122 out in the public workplace. The same is true format of Jesus' recorded miracles.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with doing occupational, full-time ministry, not all of us were called to this type of ministry. Some of us could be called to vocational ministry, some to bi-vocational, others to what I call tent-makers ministry, and others only minister as domestic missionaries along the way in their life while being engaged in both a job and a church.
So what exactly is a tent-maker minister and what does it mean to be a domestic missionary?
I can tell you that most of the church fits into these two categories.
B. The Church Has Been Commissioned
We have developed a mindset within the church in the West that only “ministers”, those paid by the church are the ones responsible for evangelism and witnessing to others. Many pastors are hired on a regular basis. When the pastor arrives, he realizes the church has been dying and the members look to him to save the church. The pastor doesn’t save the church, Jesus does. We are the “hands” and “feet” of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in order to see converts come into the fellowship of Christ, we have to do the work. This means we have to get out, beat the pavement, and help people hear the gospel. Just because it is not what we get “paid” to do doesn’t make us any less responsible than the pastor. The same judgement he will be brought through will be the same for you as well. We are all “ministers” of the gospel and all responsible for carrying out the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
C. Paul Ministered and Worked, Why Can’t We Do the Same?
One of the biggest reasons people will tell you that evangelism is the job of the pastor is that they feel that they do not have time for such activity. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Paul both worked and ministered. He often did both at the same time. Jesus was also seen in many stories going into the work place to witness to people. That is why we know most of the disciple’s occupation, Jesus found them on the job! We should do the same with our witness of faith!
Paul was what we call a tent-maker minister. He was a self-funded missionary from the labor of his own hands. At times, he may have had assistance from various churches and groups of believers, but for the most part he made his way by the work of his own hands. He was a blessing to God’s people, so God blessed him with the means and ability to make a living making tents.
Acts 18:1-4 (KJV)
18 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
D. You Don’t Have to be a Paid Staff Member to Serve God
Paul didn’t seek to gain or grow wealth from the church, but he saw his ministry as a way to be a blessing on the church without being a burden. This is why Paul continuously worked to support himself and his missions. He took care of not only himself, but also did his best to be a blessing to others. Not only did Paul not envy an occupational minister, he embraced his ministerial independence as to be free from the sway and lure of money. If your main salary for your household isn’t paid by a church, members of that church can’t pressure you into preaching a certain way or tolerating their sin.
Acts 20:33-35 (KJV)
33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
E. Don’t Have Extra Time for Evangelism? Honor God in All You Do!
Not having extra time or energy isn’t an excuse, especially when the best witnessing you could ever do is honoring God in all you do. It isn’t always what we do, but how we do it! A great bus driver can honor God by doing his job well and being Christ like to the students on that bus. A great teacher, lawyer, police officer, nurse, car salesman, anyone can honor God! Obviously how we conduct ourselves during our work, our integrity, and holiness all play a role in our effective witness. However, if people see that something about you is different from the world, they will be interested in what it is that makes you different. As ordinary citizens, working or not, we come into contact with more people than the average minister daily, therefore we should accomplish even more for the Kingdom of God daily. We may not always be the one who gets to say the Lord’s prayer with a new believer, but we can sure help shape their view of God’s people by honoring God daily in all we do!
Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.