After thinking I was selling my soul to the man I am happy to report that I repented of my previous compromise and instead “stuck it to the man!” After only one day of training!
Hard core I am? Ok so I confess I got the details all wrong, it was not data capturing but fieldwork that they were asking me to do. And rather than a dull drudgery of 9-5 data crunching it was going to be more like working crazy hours 6-7 days a week for about a month and a half. Plus 2 weeks of training, for no pay of course, “cos we all know that is how the man rolls”.
The cost of earning the extra cash we decided was going to be too high for our existing ministry and relationships. And for our family after what has been a really tough year for us.
We took the decision to rather enter the year refreshed, excited and full of energy for the mission God has called us to. Rather than drained, worn out and needing a break. When it seemed like this opportunity for work was going to support our ministry it was a good option when it became obvious that it was going to detract from it – it was a bad option. We believe that as followers of Jesus the ministry he has given us to do is the primary criteria for our decision-making. Of course that does not exclude the possibility of working full-time in a regular job – as most Jesus followers must do. What it does mean is that employment - the when, where, how, how much – is not our primary criteria for our decision-making.
So what about the money? It is not our abilities or our employment which provides for our needs, it our Father in Heaven who is our great and gracious provider… even when the means He uses is regular employment.
So I am still hard-core right?
I have been saying for a while now that getting paid to do ministry is a privilege and not a right. Now I have to put my money where my theology is – I have a temporary job, working for the man. If we are honest most of us missional types have a bit of a non-conformist streak in us, which God graciously uses for his glory. So we like the idea of being funky baristas, photographers, consultants, web-designers, writers, basically anything that allows us to be a bit alternative in lifestyle and life-choices.
But as I was not seeming to cut it in any of these more acceptable missional practioner, alternate jobs, while still being cool I have been forced to actually believe my own rhetoric and get a real, real (repetition intended) job working for the Census 2011 doing data capturing. Yes be aghast not only am I working for the man, but it will be mind numbingly boring in all likelihood with precious little redeeming “sexy” factor.
So if this blog falls eerily quiet over the next month and a half (yes I know it has been rather quiet of late anyhow) you now know that I have sold my soul to the man.
But on the less cynical side the extra cash I earn will hopefully help to consolidate us financially and set us up for ministry next year.
And it won’t hurt to experience the dullness and low job satisfaction that the majority of people in our country experience on a daily basis… and now how do I glorify God in all this?
This is a slightly edited repost of an old blog post from my old blog. I found myself talking about some similar things with a few others lately, which prompted me to go look this post up. And after reading it again thought it might be worth re-posting. I would value your input:
I was in conversation recently on the state of education in South Africa and the pros and cons of homeschooling and what was apparent is that most of us think that the education system in South Africa has some real problems, challenges and difficulties. And as Christians there are some real issues we need to work through, think through and make decisions about, concerning the education of our (in my case future) children. They are not easy decisions and light answers will not suffice.
But as we spoke it suddenly occurred to me that there we were debating the issues and criticising the current malaise of the education system but what would it mean to be a missional church in this situation. To be missional in our culture/educational system should mean that:
1. We find ways to support, encourage and pray for teachers and educators in our communities (especially Christian teachers who are trying to be salt and light in a difficult and dark world).
2. There is a lack in our education system of passionate and qualified teachers; as well as a motivation for those teachers to be there. With the result that many good teachers leaving the profession on a monthly basis (so the word on the street goes?). If we Christians really love our city, and want to bring and embody the “good news” of the kingdom for our city, then perhaps we need to be encouraging Christians to consider teaching as a profession. It is a desperate need in our country and city, it is a way to love the city, to serve the city and that is not to mention the potential impact that could be had on the young lives being taught.
3. Given that many teachers are underpaid and under-resourced, perhaps we ought to find ways to finance, resource and support those we encourage to consider being “missionaries” in our educational system. I use the word deliberately because I think this kind of thinking must be accompanied by a gospel intentionality. Any push for educators must be accompanied by an envisioning that these men and women would not simply see themselves as teachers or doing a good thing, but that they are on a gospel mission to shape and serve the city with and through and because of the gospel.
4. A further realisation might also be that this would require a reduction in time that they could give to “church ministry”. This must not be frowned upon but we ought to release and commission them for an unconventional ministry outside of the usual structures.
Now that I think about it what about government and health care…