Why it's Time to Celebrate Pastors Leveraging their Ministry Skills in the MarketplaceApr 25, 2023
Have you noticed how quick we are in the church to celebrate marketplace leaders who feel called to leverage their business skills in the church, but not church leaders who feel called to leverage their ministry skills in the marketplace?
It’s like co-vocational ministry can only go one way, from the marketplace to the church, and not from the church to the marketplace.
Today I want to share why I believe now is the time to celebrate and encourage pastors to leverage their ministry skills in the marketplace. And how the shift to co-vocational ministry will benefit pastors, churches, and the communities they serve.
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It's Time to Celebrate Pastors Leveraging their Ministry Skills in the Marketplace
Today I want to talk about why it’s time to celebrate and encourage pastors to leverage our ministry skills in the marketplace. And how the shift to co-vocational ministry will benefit pastors, churches, and the communities we serve.
Years ago, my previous church was blessed to have a couple of marketplace leaders who felt a call to church ministry in addition to their call to business.
So they went to seminary part-time, got their ministry degree, and were able to take on adjunct pastoral roles in the church, preaching from time to time and giving leadership to certain ministry areas.
It was a non-traditional ministry path. But our church was able to create a category and a pathway for these marketplace leaders to leverage their skills in the church.
But we didn’t have a category for a church leader, a pastor, who felt a call to the marketplace in addition to their call to church ministry. We didn’t know what to do with pastors who wanted to serve in the church and in business. We didn’t know what to do with, well, me.
Somehow, business leaders working in the church were seen as faithful to their calling. But church leaders working in business were not.
Well, thankfully, things are beginning to change, but it’s slow. Because still, in some churches today:
- You’re not all-in as a pastor if you’re exploring any kind of work outside the church.
- If you feel called to do something else in addition to serving the church, you should go and do that other thing and not be a pastor.
- Ministry happens in the building during office hours, and if we don’t see you, the presumption is that you’re not working.
- If you can’t live on your church income, you’re not content with what the Lord has provided.
- Before you do any kind of work outside of the church you need to get permission.
Personally, I think these ideas come from a “corporate” or “institutional” church model and mindset that was prevalent in the twentieth century, but is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the 21st century.
Because we’re living in a world that is rapidly changing, and in a culture where the legitimacy of the church as an institution is being questioned.
And where the models and methods that worked over the last 50-75 years are quickly becoming obsolete.
People are Becoming Allergic to Church as We’ve Known it
Hey do you, or someone you know and love, suffer from allergies?
I do. I’m allergic to weeds, dust, pollens, grasses, cats, and small children.
OK maybe just kidding about the small children part there, after all I do have five children of my own!
But back when I was a small child, I was sick a lot. Had trouble breathing, often wheezing. Got bronchitis many times. Anytime I got a cold, it settled in my lungs a long time.
I got tested by an allergist when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, and 45 years later, I can still remember what it was like when the doctor did that skin prick test on my back and arm to wee what I might be allergic or sensitive to.
After all these allergies were discovered, my doctor suggested that immunotherapy - a fancy word for allergy shots - could help my situation. I ended up getting allergy shots every week until I was 18 and moved away for college.
To be honest, I can’t say if all those allergy shots helped or not.
Still to this day, anytime I’m around cats, in a home that has a lot of dust, or outside when the airborne allergens are high, my eyes water, my throat tightens, it’s hard to breathe, and I’m coughing, sneezing, and often feel tired.
So I take allergy pills and nasal sprays. Which help some, right?
But what’s the best remedy to keep from getting sick from allergies? Yeah, it’s to avoid the environments and situations that I know will set me off.
I think that is exactly what we’re seeing in America today.
People are becoming allergic to anything that looks or smells like the traditional, institutional church, because of what it represents, according to their thinking or experience:
Judgmentalism, mistreatment of LGBTQ people, mishandling of sexual misconduct in the church, toleration of slavery and racial injustice, disrespect of women in ministry, perpetuation of toxic church leadership, etc., etc.
These things have given many people, young and old, an allergic reaction they can’t seem to shake. Just seeing a church probably gives some of them hives.
And they’ve somehow come to the conclusion that it’s best for them to avoid the church for their own emotional, mental, and even spiritual health’s sake.
How Does the Church Engage with People Who Don't Want to Engage with the Church?
So how do we in the church engage with people who don’t want to engage with the church? With those who believe churches and pastors are negative influences in society, not positive?
I’d like to suggest that if we’re going to be successful in connecting with people who have an allergy to, and perhaps even some animosity toward, the church, we’re going to need churches that don’t look like churches, and pastors who don’t look like pastors.
What I mean is, we need to experiment with creating fresh expressions of church that don’t give people an allergic reaction.
These will probably be smaller, more organic faith communities that spring up in people’s homes, cafes, or even workplaces, that don’t look or feel like the traditional type of church of the past.
And speaking of workplaces, I think engaging our culture in the marketplace will be as key for the 21st century church as it was for the 1st century church.
I’m excited for a new “marketplace multiplier movement” that is emerging, raising up Christian business leaders to live on-mission in their business, to see it as a ministry, and even foster new fresh expressions of church through it.
Co-vocational Entrepreneural Pastors
But I think we also need a new entrepreneurial pastor movement, where pastors are equipped and encouraged to launch their own business or side hustle.
This will give pastors fresh opportunities to engage their community, connect and build relationships with people who’d never darken the door of a traditional church.
And it will give pastors an income source that can be scaled if needed, if their ministry role and salary are negatively impacted due to declining tithes and offerings.
This is why I believe now is the time for the church to celebrate and encourage pastors who leverage their ministry skills in the marketplace, and why now is the time for you to create income outside of the church through your own business or side hustle, so you can serve God and provide for your family, no matter what.
Application & Action
So let me ask you...
- Are you already leveraging your ministry skills into income outside of the church? If so, congratulations! I’d really love to hear about what you’re doing, and maybe even feature your story in a future episode.
- If not, what’s holding you back?
- Do you have a money-making idea, but you’re just not sure how to get it started? Or do you need help discovering which income opportunities are right for you?
When Ryan came to me for coaching, he knew it was time to disrupt his career in the education field, and focus his skills, time, and energy into his sweet spot areas. But he wasn’t sure how to monetize those skills, and what his next steps should be to get started. We helped him discover some low-hanging fruit opportunities he could jump on right away, and some high-payoff activities he could develop over the next few months.
If you don’t have a mentor who can take your hand and walk with you every step of the way, go to www.morethanapastor.com/coaching and apply to have a chat with me. We’ll identify your best next steps, and see how I can help and support you to achieve your goals.
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