It can be a real challenge when working with church ministry and evangelism to decide whether you should work as a full time minister, or if you should do some business and have a „secular” job next to your „sacred” work.
The reason why I type „secular” and not secular, is that I do believe that there is no such thing as a sacred and a secular job, the question is only why you do it. If you work as a gardener, but do it for the Lord, then it is just as sacred as someone preaching the gospel out on the mission field. However, the question is still whether you should have a job next to your ministry or not.
Neglecting the work of God
In Acts 6:2 we can see that the church is growing and there is lots of work that needs to be done. The tasks did not only consist of teaching and preaching, but in addition it require lots of time to take care of the daily needs such as food distribution in the church. Facing this problem the apostles said: „It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables.”
This verse can bring lots of light and wisdom on the subject of the connection between business and ministry for you as a minister. First, let us take a look at what this verse does not say.
What Acts 6:2 does not say:
It does not say that a minister should not work
It does not claim that a minister should only preach, teach and pray
It does not say that that preaching is more worth as a job than serving at the tables
The quote from Acts 6:2 does however say the following:
A minister of the Word should not have to neglect studying and reading the Word because of his tasks and business.
It is great helping out and doing other things, but only if it does not take away the task from what should have the highest priority in your life based on the calling God has given you.
Paul – a great business man and minister
Paul is an interesting example of someone who worked and preaching, at the same time. He worked as a tent maker, and what is important is that a “secular” job does not only bring you an income, but it is also a great way to build relationships and get in contact with new people. Paul was an apostle breaking new ground, and as you break new ground it can often be hard to get financial support, you have to take care of yourself. A natural answer is therefore that a job next to your ministry can be a necessity, after all you need to it.
You might say that God will provide… and, yes he will. But, I know lots of missionaries who live from supporters in other parts of the world. They have to spend lots of hours sending newsletters, then they have to go back home for weeks and months every year to spread the news and keep the money going… and thus if they used the same amount of time doing business, the results would be the same, and not as all as frustrating as the task of “bringing the supporter money in.”
When business and ministry together takes to much time
I believe there comes a time as a minister when you need to make a decision. If we again consider the verse in Acts 6.2 we can easily understand when this point has been reached. If the amount of business get to such a high level that you have to neglect your relationship and time with God to get it done, or when the amount of ministry has reached such a level that you have to neglect the Word of God in order to be able to combine both ministry and business at the same time. If you have reach this point, then here comes some possible solutions.
Your relationship with God is never to be neglected! Get that it order first
Find and employ someone who can help you in the business, thus giving you time that you can use for Bible study and ministry.
Delegate your ministry tasks, which again will make it possible to keep up with both business and ministry.
Train leaders who can take over as leaders of the ministry, and then you can either move on to a new place and start similar ministries, or just continue as a supervisor for the ministry and keep the business running.
Train leaders who can take over your business. Keep supervising the business, but move into full time ministry. If the ministry can finance itself and you, then that is great, if not make sure that some of the money flowing into the business will keep flowing into your pocket.
As you can see there is no perfect answer to this question. What you should do is an individual choice, but the most important is never to neglect your relationship with God. After all all the wisdom you need origins from God, and that wisdom is badly needed when you standing before important decisions.
Ask for advise
It is great to have the Holy Spirit as our guide and adviser, but sometimes we misunderstand and believe that since he is leading us, we do not need to ask people for advise ever. But, if the Holy Spirit is our guide and counselor, he is not only guiding us, but others as well. Why not ask someone you look up to and believe to be filled with the Holy Spirit what he believes is right for you to do when facing such a situation. Describe the different options and tell them about your life situation. Feel free to share what you feel like doing, and listen as they share their thoughts on the subject. They might have experience, they might see things from a different perspective, so the advise of Godly people is never to be underestimated.
Good luck and God bless you, and if you have further insight and thoughts on this subject, please write a comment and share what is on your heart!