i tried for a long time to figure out how i would bridge my career to ministry, meaning how i would link my work with a church. ive since learned and believe that the number of people who are “called” to do this is far fewer than many of us think.
first, a bit of background.
my drive to combine my work with ministry lead me to pursuing work in full-time ministry, meaning i wanted to work in/for a church. i first tried doing an “internship” at the church i was attending hoping to learn about the roles of the pastors and preachers and how a church operates. it turned out to be just a summer of doing some dirty work like pulling weeds and setting up for and volunteering for VBS. it was not what i expected to be and i didnt really learn anything. the fault lies almost entirely on me as i did not convey exactly what i was expecting to get out of the “internship” and the church didnt have an “internship” “program”. i just asked if i could intern and they said yes.
next i lived in a house with 7 other guys that was organized by one of the local college ministries. it was fun, awesome, and again not what i hoped and expected it to be. it was at the Lighthouse, as we called it, that i formed some of the best and strongest friendships that i will ever have. it was also at the Lighthouse that i decided, with the help of some very wise counsel, to marry my wife. it was great, but not what i expected.
after i got married, i decided to give formal christian education a try. i attended Liberty University online in the biblical studies program with the hopes of becoming qualified to work in a church. as it turns out, im terrible at online school. i didnt fail out or anything, but it was hard and im procrastinate pretty bad, so just leaving all of the learning and studying up to me isnt the way that i learn best, unless im really excited about the subject, like coffee. it was also during this time that i discovered that i dont really want to work in a church. i loathe church politics and want nothing to do with them. i saw some people that i know well basically get the boot from a church instead of getting help. that basically sucked any desire i had for working in a church, at least in Hays, completely dry. this is also about the time that coffee started to become more of a passion than a fun hobby.
so then the search for a career was on. i settled on a trade, carpentry. i attended a technical college and learned both framing and finish carpentry. it was during this year long program that i discovered the joy of hard work. for a long time i looked for jobs that allowed me to do the least amount of actual work so that i could be on my phone or just do nothing. if im being honest, it was a pretty rapid change of mind in how i think about work. its like a switched was flipped. i grew tired and bored of just sitting around doing work that i cared nothing about.
so here is why i dont think you have to try and figure out how to bridge your work with ministry or church. i think that God wants you to do ministry through your work. i think that most of the time, God wants us to serve and praise Him through working in excellence, and not solely through prayer and worship services. our actions are the way that we reflect what we believe the most and i can think of no better way to honor the Lord than through our work. ive done nothing more than work since i graduated high school, and i bet that is true for most people as well. i could grapple with how to tie together my work and ministry or a church, or i could just work hard and pursue excellence as if i am working for the Lord. the world needs every person in every line of work to work this way. you can honor God through more than church services and giving away you work to a church. you can work hard and well and let that be one of the ways you are faithful to God. this is what i feel most called to do. this one of the ways i most connect with God, especially when working in the service industry. serving people food and drinks really drives me to work hard for them, to make absolutely sure that they have a good experience. thats how it connects for me.
what i am trying to say is that you dont have to try and connect your job to a ministry or church in order to honor God in your work. you can “just” strive for excellence in your work, which is what God already calls us all to do.
Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”