All Disciples Are Full Time, Not Part Time Pastors

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I have many friends who are ordained ministers and many friends who are lay pastors, who have a “regular” job and ministry. Some lay pastors say they work all day to support themselves and their ministry, and then after they get off work they then work for God. I don’t see it that way. I believe they are full time pastors, working for God even while doing their “regular” job.

For years I too was a lay pastor while working for UPS. I supervised the early shift starting around 3 AM. I was not the only Christian or even the only pastor working at UPS. Students from a nearby Baptist seminary and other lay pastors of various denominations worked there as well. One morning I had to call and wake up one of my employees who overslept. He apalogized, realizing he was already supposed to be at work. He was a Christian, so I told him, “Get in here as fast as you can, after you have your prayer and Bible time.” First I was a pastor. Second I was a UPS supervisor with a deadline to meet.

As Gospel Workers we always pray before entering the pulpit where we preach for thirty minutes. How much more so should we pray before going to our regular jobs, where we will be preaching by word and example, not a mere thirty minutes but rather 8-10 hours.

This is how it was with Jesus.

Christ was just as truly doing His Father’s business when toiling at the carpenter’s bench as when working miracles for the multitude. –Ellen White, Heavenly Places, Page 214

You might think a “regular” job might get in the way of your ministry, but it does not have to be that way. I talked to a lady, who told me she had a gift and card shop that was just breaking even for many years. She said she kept it open because people were coming in all the time who needed encouragement, and it was a great way to meet people. One morning while working on the sort isle at UPS, the guy sorting next to me started asking me questions about Revelation. While we were working hard at 3 in the morning, I was able to share some Christ centered teachings from Revelation. In all my years as a paid Bible Worker I was never able to give a Bible study at 3 am, but that morning I had the opportunity to share Jesus with someone that I may not have had the opportunity to meet any other time or place.

There’s a story of a Romanian prisoner who was always talking about Jesus. Finally the guard had enough and told him, he could make one last sentence about Jesus, and then could say no more.

What would you say if you could only say one sentence about Jesus?

The Christian prisoner did something very wise. He said as his last sentence, “Jesus is like me.” You may think that statement was a bold and presumptuous. But it was actually very wise and humble. Knowing he could talk about Jesus no more, he simply used those words to let everyone know, watch me, and I will show you Jesus. 

As disciples for Jesus we do not just use our “regular” jobs to support our ministry. We make our “regular” jobs a part of our ministry. We don’t leave our “regular” jobs at the end of the day to go do our ministry. We do our ministry while at our “regular” jobs, preaching by example, and reaching people we never would have met during our “gospel worker” job.

Some police officers wear the uniform, but other police officers find they are actually more effective in accomplishing their mission if they dress just like everyone else. They are called “plain clothes officers” or “undercover detectives.” In plain clothes or in uniform, they are police officers just the same. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you may be wearing a suit like a regular minister, or you may be wearing a delivery uniform or restaurant uniform, or medical scrubs or what have you. Either way, what you really are is a pastor!

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

20 Things Your Bible Worker Will Never Tell You

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Since this is my 20th year of being a Bible Worker Lay Pastor, in keeping with the theme of “20”, here is my list of 20 things your Bible Worker will never tell you. While I have put the list together mostly myself from my own experiences, it is not entirely my own.  A couple other Bible Workers have chipped in too with a couple contributions of their own. No names, as the whole purpose was to give them a voice while remaining anonymous, so they can truly tell you what they will never tell you. If some of these points seem a little harsh, they are not intended to be. They are only intended to be real.

Twenty Things Your Bible Worker Will Never Tell You

  1. If I seem pre-occupied when you try to have a conversation with me at church, it’s because I am. I’m teaching Sabbath School, probably preaching too, and keeping an eye out for the people I invited to church today. Call me during the week and I can give you my undivided attention.
  2. I really appreciate the $25.00 gift card you gave me for Christmas. I know since I’m still wearing my worn out shoes it looks like I haven’t used it yet but I have. I used it to buy school supplies for a struggling family I’m working with.
  3. Tell me you can’t read and I can work with you and help you. Keep telling me you forgot your Bible or can’t find it and we will never get anywhere.
  4. When you tell me your family is praying for me every day, it means the world to me. When you call me and pray with me it makes my day.
  5. When I called and told you about a Bible student I have who needs a ride to church, and you told me it’s not on your way, I wasn’t really asking if it was on your way. I was just asking if you would do it. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I go out of my way for people all week long. Why should I be the only one? Fact is I do try to match people up in the same area, but I also try to match personalities and male to male and female to female.
  6. Don’t be afraid to hang out with me because I may see you’re not perfect. I’m not perfect either.
  7. You may have driven by and seen me on the golf course this afternoon. What you didn’t see was me spending the entire night before, in the Emergency waiting room, praying with one of my Bible students, while their wife had emergency surgery.
  8. I mean it when I say call me anytime. If everyone is afraid to call because I may be busy then that means no one will call and I won’t be busy. I depend upon you to call and keep me busy. I like to be busy.
  9. You may not feel like you know the Bible very well, but that observation and comment you just made about that verse we just read was pretty good. I will be sharing it with all the people I study with from now on. Thanks!
  10. When I am studying with your children in your home I would really like you to join us. If you do not care to join us, please don’t leave the house to run errands. I know you trust me, but the question is, do I trust your family?
  11. I really am interested in what you have to say, but I can’t answer your question until you quit talking.
  12. I use my lap top when giving Bible studies, and following up on leads and making appointments. That’s why it looks like I’m on Facebook a lot. Plus Facebook is another way I stay in touch with my Bible students.
  13. I may use you as an illustration in one of my sermons, but I won’t use your name and may even switch your city and gender in my story to protect your identity.
  14. I truly appreciate your offerings in support of evangelism and the Bible Worker fund, but just so you know, I work for Jesus and not the richest person in the church. He is the One who died for me and the One I am going to be faithful to.
  15. When I ask you to greet for an evangelistic meeting I need you there for the whole night. I may need something handed out at the end, plus it does not look good for you to greet everyone and then, them watch as you get in your car and go home. Same for special music. Watching you come up on stage, sing a song, and then go home before the speaker begins, does not do much for the continuity of the meeting.
  16. The literature in the literature rack in the church lobby is for visitors. Please buy your own literature if you are a member.
  17. I wish you wouldn’t use that study Bible, or would at least understand that the study notes are not inspired and are not 100% accurate.
  18. On my day off I will gladly explain to you the plan of salvation, but I really don’t want to use my day off debating whether Adam had a navel or not.
  19. Remember last fellowship lunch, when you were huddled with your little clique and the visitor I am studying with was sitting by himself? Yes, after I asked you went over and invited him to your table, but he saw me ask you. It would have been a lot more effective if you had reached out to him without me having to ask. Thank you for offering to give him a ride to the doctor that week though.  Connecting with him outside of church was a nice touch.
  20. Our study group has 10 members and meets for 75 minutes. We really care about you and what you have to say, and will give you the floor all night if you really need it. At the same time please be respectful of the other members of the group and that they too may have something on their hearts as well. Thank you to those who are mindful of the math and realize 10 people can’t talk for 20 minutes each within 75 minutes.