The other day at Starbucks, I bumped into Jeremy. He’s preparing for ministry in college with an eye toward church planting. He’s a the son of a two church planting co-pastors. He’s got incredible gifts for leadership. He’s majoring in Religious Studies and plans to start a church. He’s also majoring in Communications. That’s because he expects to have a day job while he works in ministry. He expects to.
And I know he’ll be a great asset to the church. But I also know that whatever business or organization outside the church that is fortunate enough to hire Jeremy will have an incredible asset on their team. He’s a go-getter.
Most church planters I know have entrepreneurial instincts, good people skills, and increasingly, practical trades. Case and Point: Recently, I read a Boston Globe story about a pastor named Seth Hoffman. He worked for Starbucks and later started a company with friends called Catchfire Creative while helping to start New Frontiers Church. Check it out.
The reason I’m thinking about this is because I’m looking for work in order to continue my church planting habit. (Thank the Lord I have some marketable skills and experience!) The historical term for someone who has a job to pay the bills in order to do ministry is “tent-maker” from Paul’s experiences in Corinth described in Acts 18:1-5. Here’s an obvious aha: Paul’s tent-making ministry was a two way street. Not only was the apostle Paul willing to earn a living by plying the tent-making trade, but Aquila and Priscilla were in business and were willing to take him on to advance God’s Kingdom.
God matched up church-planting Paul with business couple Aquila and Priscilla. As a result, Corinth was blessed. Later Ephesus was blessed. We’re told that everyone in Asia Minor heard the gospel. Priscilla and Aquila got to share in what God was doing. They beheld God’s glory!
What we need is a way to match up our Pauls with some Aquilas and Priscillas.
Most Christian business people I know understand that part of what they do is about creating jobs and extending offers of employment in ways that build their business and strengthen their community. They often see their role in the church to be about lending their talent and offering financial support. This takes it a step further. What if the business leaders who attend our churches began to understand they had a vital role in advancing God’s Kingdom by hiring church planters to work in their business?
Church planters are already doing this. I read an article on the two jobs most church planters tend to stay afloat as they launch their churches: 1) Website design. 2) Barista. In other words, they work for themselves or they work for Starbucks. Consequently, I suspect the leading employer of church-planters is Starbucks. Starbucks has a reputation as a good employer, but when it comes to advancing God’s Kingdom, should they get all the glory?
If you know someone in a position to hire a church-planter encourage them to do so!