The Pastor and the Business Person

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TylerR's picture

Editor

What good books have ya'll read which bring out the implications of our secular vocations for the Christian life? I've been interested in reading some more about this for a while, now.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

I went from a secular vocation:

  • IBM and later DEC computer sales
  • To seminary (age 28 when I started)

To vocational ministry (16 years)

And back to a secular vocation after I broke my neck:

I had a hard time figuring out how to make money vocationally

  • I applied again at IBM and was hired but then just before I started they had massive layoffs and I was never onboarded

With my physical limitations I knew I needed a sit-down job:

  • I considered accounting (my undergrad degree was in finance & economics
  • And computers

I went back to get another bachelors in computer science

And that opened the door for me

After starting my computer vocation, I purchased hundreds of books in the early years

Ron Bean's picture

Before I was converted I was employed in an occupation that essentially no longer exists. After conversion I finished my undergrad degree in education and later added a graduate degree in Bible. After 30 years of poverty wages (willingly taken because I was in full-time ministry) as a Christian school teacher an pastor, I found myself at 60 years old in need of employment and without a marketable skill. I accepted a job i retail with a great company (IKEA) and also served as an elder in a local church. After a non-stressed induced heart attack last fall I retired on nothing except social security.

If I were starting again I'd have a marketable skill as a fall back source of income and I would have let my wife work in spite of the opposition of the church.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Never been a pastor, but when I was a young pup, a pastor noted that he picked me out for someone who would be a good deacon, but probably not a pastor.  He therefore recommended a number of books he thought would be valuable to me in figuring out truth vs. nonsense.  Among them:

Zondervan's Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

Theological Dictionary of the New Testment (a.k.a. "Littel Kittel")

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew reference

Fee, How to Read the Bible for all its worth

Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Eerdmans.

...and an assortment of works by C.S. Lewis.  

All are still on my shelf, all get used often. I've never regretted the purchase--can't say as much about many other books I've purchased.  And to be honest, it sometimes scares me how many pastors I know who (a) do consult lots of commentaries but (b) do not consult these more basic works.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Stacy Potts's picture

Over the years, one of the things I have repeatedly reminded our people of is that they are not defined by their vocations. It goes something like this:

Said to a car salesman - You're not really a car salesman. You're really a minister of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a car salesman.

Said to a retiree - You're not really a retiree. You're really a minister of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a retiree.

You get the idea.

The goal is to help our people see that, as believers and regardless of one's vocation, we are all ministers of Jesus Christ and can use whatever vocation God has given us to minister in many specific and unique ways.

Andrew K's picture

Stacy Potts wrote:

Over the years, one of the things I have repeatedly reminded our people of is that they are not defined by their vocations. It goes something like this:

Said to a car salesman - You're not really a car salesman. You're really a minister of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a car salesman.

Said to a retiree - You're not really a retiree. You're really a minister of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a retiree.

You get the idea.

The goal is to help our people see that, as believers and regardless of one's vocation, we are all ministers of Jesus Christ and can use whatever vocation God has given us to minister in many specific and unique ways.

I really like that. Excellent. What a great way to frame it. :) 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Darrell Bock: "The local church is like a hub. The business of the hub is not about the hub, the business of the hub is to be a hub. The hub is supposed to work outwards, if you will, and work into other places you come here and so when you’re just focused on the hub you are suffering from nearsightedness. You’re so focused on what’s going on in here, you forget this is supposed to be a generative place that is sending things out."

In some of the churches I've attended in the past, there is a belief that the purpose of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 work is to get to Sunday. Secular work is second class, full-time ministry is the highest calling. Hence, much of the preaching about work is by pastors who have lost touch with what it's like to work "in the world", and it comes out blather. People head out on Monday feeling like they are going to waste the next 5-6 days of their lives in order to get back to Sunday.

However, one of the first commands God gave Adam was to work, to tend the garden. I hope my fellow dispensationalists will forgive me for this, but He didn't have Adam start a church, He told him to care for this physical earth, to be a skilled overseer of creation.

Our work, whatever form that may take, is in itself an important part of how we fulfill our earthly and spiritual purpose. Our work, regardless of vocation, is an opportunity to use our spiritual gifts to be purposeful and productive, serve others, and be credible representatives of Christ.

All things being equal, a Christian should excel in business.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I hope my fellow dispensationalists will forgive me for this, but He didn't have Adam start a church, He told him to care for this physical earth, to be a skilled overseer of creation.

Out of curiosity, why would you need the forgiveness of dispensationalists for affirming a key dispensational tenet?

Bert Perry's picture

Knowing the risks of introducing seriousness into a delightful joke by Susan, I yet feel compelled to remember that at times, our corporate culture(s) seem to take precedence over what we think we believe.  No?  In the case Susan mentions, I've talked with guys who noted that they were "nudged" into attempting the pastorate because that was simply what one did when one graduated from one's Bible college back in the day, whether or not one had the character and skill set to do it well--and with predictable results.  Another friend noted that in a church he attended, the only guys to get any attention from the young ladies were the "preacher boys".  Oddly, he parted ways with that church, not being a "preacher boy" by vocation or motivation.  

And again, my apologies.  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.