A Career and A Ministry – Not a Mutually Exclusive Dichotomy

Jan 22, 2024 | Blog

I’ve known many people that feverishly pursued a successful and financially rewarding career with all the bells and whistles and lifestyles it offers and others who eschewed traditional careers to get into ministry, knowing that it will be morally and spiritually fulfilling, but “probably” less financially rewarding.  Is it possible to combine them both, enjoying true self-actualization, and do it successfully? I say absolutely YES!

The difference between a career and ministry is that a career is a job that you choose, while ministry is a calling from God. In a career, you expect to receive something in return for your work, while in ministry, you expect to give something back to the community.  A career is about advancing yourself, while ministry is about advancing Gods word.

You may even think that your current or prior career has little to do with ministry or your next job within ministry has little to do with a career, but think again.

Let’s face it, you might have in a career in something that has zero to do with traditional ministry, with many people that do not have a faith in Christ, but that means you are often faiths representation to them.  By your ethical actions at work, your respectful, even if at times firm interactions, and your unabashed subtle Christian dedication, you are often spreading the ministry by means of osmosis.  So, your secular career can be stoking the embers of ministry. As an example, I put up a small cross at my desk at work.  I put a very small wisp of palm on my cubicle and have a Christian calendar hanging on my wall. I also take off every Good Friday and always tell others why I take the day. By my actions, as under the radar as they appear, I have generated many questions on faith, church and holidays.  I am ministering without even trying.  So “secular” careers and ministry can work symbiotically — naturally.

Building upon that, combining a career within ministry can be a bit intricate, but it is entirely possible and even financially rewarding.  One way to do this is to find a job/career that aligns with your ministry goals.  For example, if you are passionate about helping people, you could consider a rewarding career in social work or counseling.  And goodness knows, that in historically stressful times, its needed now more than ever.

As a Christian counselor you have the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life who are facing a variety of challenges in their lives.  You can help people find hope and healing through the belief in God.  You can challenge others and hold them accountable, but also cheer them on and make them the best they can be under Christ.  Its science meeting faith with a partnership on achieving results.  Ministry is building a career while the career is building a ministry.  You have the hybrid. Does it get any better?

Being a Christian counselor, in its basics, is not significantly different than being a successful secular counselor.  You need to be open to listening without immediate judgement, have a strong and sincere empathy for their concerns or afflictions, build trust and be ethical in all your transactions, and be patient with the organic level of growth and success. This career path marries the intense desire to follow a spiritual path and desire to help individuals, and build an ethical business.  But unlike secular counseling it’s led by God word and followed for Gods glory.  Sounds like a solid career ministry foundation to me!

A Career and A Ministry—Not a Mutually Exclusive Dichotomy.

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