Ecclesial Grievance #1: Employment Over Conviction

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : March 13, 2006

One of my ecclesial pet peeves is when someone compromises on their inner conviction about how they ought to do church or ought to be involved in a church so that they can get a job.  This happens with seminary students all the time…they have convictions about how to do church, and they have a conviction that they shouldn’t be the "go to" guy or gal in a church.  Yet, because they have bills, they get a job at a church that they don’t really respect and become a "go to" guy or gal in the church, even though they don’t believe in a clergy/laity distinction. 

I can sympathize with this peeve of mine–because I went through a season where I felt an inner-contradiction within my soul.  I made decisions for economic reasons that I shouldn’t have made.  However, my beef is with folks that know full well that they are contradicting their own convictions in the name of pragmatism.  I’ve even heard folks say things like: "Well, I feel like God is really telling me to do X, but I’ve got bills to pay so I’ll serve in ABC Church as an associate pastor for 4 years, even though I’ll be contributing to a system that I disagree with."

Come on folks.  Let’s have a bit more faith than this.  Let’s challenge one another, encourage one another, and empower one another to be faithful to what we know to be good.  Let us live according to the Kingdom of God even when–especially when–it challenges the pragmatic way of doing church.  And let us be willing to suffer for it. 

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4 Responses to “Ecclesial Grievance #1: Employment Over Conviction”

  1. JVD on March 14th, 2006 11:26 am

    Yes an interesting conundrum. I myself have done what you are speaking of, but probably did not know any better. At this point I will not do what you are talking about - and probably fall on the other side of the coin - too picky. That is another thing I have a pick with - at some point, just serve and get over yourself. JVD

  2. espiritu_paz on March 14th, 2006 5:05 pm

    Good Word!
    It’s the worst situation of bad situations when one has to choose between stealing bread and dying of hunger–in the spiritual sense.
    As brothers and sisters, it would be amazing if we could challenge and keep each other from being sold as a slave in the consumer market. The challenge would be to ourselves, “What price is to high to redeam a brother on the verge of selling himself?”

  3. Gregg on March 21st, 2006 7:58 am

    Hey, are you knocking American Baptist Churches (ABC) now? That was sneeeeeaky.

  4. Van S on March 21st, 2006 8:32 am

    You caught me Gregg! :0

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