By Tyler Brown | #Sentrepreur
Over the past few years, God has called me to devote myself fully to the core missionary task of multiplying disciples and churches until there’s #NoPlaceLeft. As I began to step into that mission, I had some questions with regards to work. Should I work a job or should I raise financial support? In my last post, I shared how I came to answer that question, and how God led me to start a business on mission. Since starting that business, I have learned there are a couple of significant benefits to pursuing #NPL with a job.
Benefit #1 - Missionaries who work a job have many opportunities to engage the community.
One of the great benefits to working in the marketplace is oikos. Oikos means household or relational network. A job provides a natural way to connect to the community and build oikos. Think about all the opportunities that arise when you go to work. You have coworkers and customers you interact with on a regular basis. As you pray, God begins to open opportunities for you to care for, serve, and share the gospel with those people you work with. A friend of mine works at a local university and she has grown a pretty sizeable oikos. God is granting her favor as she prays for and pursues movement at the campus where she works.
I have also seen this benefit play out in a couple of jobs myself. I once had a job at a kids party arena. I gained a pretty quick reputation for being the Christian in my workplace. When tragedy struck because someone closely connected to our crew committed suicide, my coworkers turned to me for counsel and comfort. I was able to pray for and encourage those who were now thinking about serious, spiritual questions. I began discipling several of those guys. We started meeting at a coffee shop across the street using a short-term discipleship process called the Commands of Christ.
I now own a window cleaning business and have similar opportunities. I have customers who I get to pray for, serve, and share the gospel with on a regular basis. Recently, I connected with another window cleaner in my area. Though we are technically competitors, I began treating him as a friend: sending him work I couldn’t get to, letting him borrow equipment when he needed it, and just connecting with him over common interests. We started talking about Jesus often and began to study the Bible together. Recently, he asked me to help him know Jesus personally and I am praying for his salvation!
Benefit #2 - Missionaries who work a job promote a model for others to follow.
When you work as a #MarketplaceMissionary you have the great benefit of modeling before others how they too can make disciples even while they work a job. I hear statistics often that describe the missional nature of the American church. The brutal reality is that a large percentage of the people in church are not on mission.
Every disciple of Jesus is a new creation and an ambassador to the world (2 Cor 5:17-21). However, the majority of Christians pay the pastors and missionaries to do the ministry while they work their normal jobs. This is disheartening. But what an opportunity!
As you leverage your job on mission before a watching church, what could happen? Is it possible that a model like this would encourage some of the people in the church to devote themselves fully to the mission, even with their job? Could it be that God would inspire a generation where every disciple, not just a select paid few? Every disciple of Jesus would give their lives to fulfilling the mission?!
Missionaries who work a job promote a model for other disciples to follow. Like Paul, they would the say: imitate me, follow my example, remember what I showed you (2 Thes 3:7, Acts 20:35). We pray our model would be reproduced so that more and more disciples of Jesus are empowered and encouraged to get out of their pew and onto their purpose.
The Bottom Line is This...
The Bible does not prohibit ministry support. In fact, we see Jesus receive resources in Luke 8:1-3. However, Paul gave up his right to support from new churches in different seasons and for particular reasons. He modeled working a job on mission, and I am thankful he did. Because of his model, God has inspired me and countless other disciples of Jesus to make disciples while we work our jobs. And as we do this, we gain at least two significant benefits. Our work gives us many opportunities to engage the community around us, and our work promotes a model for others to follow.
The bottom line is this -- Are you committed to the multiplication of disciples and churches until there’s #NoPlaceLeft? I hope so! Is it ok to be an employee or an entrepreneur as you do this? Absolutely! In fact, there are some major benefits to doing so.
I want to hear from you. Write in the comments below if you have similar stories, or other benefits that you have seen while working a job on mission.