• First, shouldn't pastors and church leaders view all of their congregants equally in terms of their career responsibilities?  All workers owe their employer honest labor, regardless of marital status.  Should ministry leaders assume singles have any less duty to their bosses just because they're not providing for a spouse and/or family?

  • Second, people going into jobs requiring significant career devotion, such as corporate management programs and law enforcement, should prayerfully evaluate ways to balance those demands with whatever other ministry obligations may arise.  A lot of employers talk about life/work balance, but don't wait for them to do it for you.  If you find yourself having to fight for PTO or just to leave the office at a reasonable hour, maybe your employer wants more from you than is fair.

  • Third, the Bible never gives a percentage breakdown for how much time God expects us to serve in ministry, does it?  That's probably because he expects us to be in ministry all the time, not just when we clock-in at church.  How many opportunities might you find during the workweek to model the Gospel, take a frustrated co-worker out for coffee, or chat with an elderly parishioner by phone from your hotel room?

  • And fourth, don't marginalize people just because of how they earn a living.  If you're zooming up the corporate ladder, is volunteering in the nursery beneath you?  Or if you're a diesel mechanic, does facilitating a Bible study seem too intimidating?  Assuming that one's career encapsulates their identity and embodies their potential is an easy fallacy to adopt, but can often deprive people with broad skill sets of their purpose within the body of believers.

If there's one thing to learn from the surprises of today's economy, it's that we can't derive our identity from our job.  Our identity rests in Christ alone, and he provides us the resources we need to work for him first.  Your singlehood may even be a tool God can use to make your job its own ministry.

Your faith.  At work.

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From his smorgasboard of church experience, ranging from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the Presbyterian Church in America, Tim Laitinen brings a range of observations to his perspective on how we Americans worship, fellowship, and minister among our communities of faith.  As a one-time employee of a Bible church in suburban Fort Worth, Texas and a former volunteer director of the contemporary Christian music ministry at New York City's legendary Calvary Baptist, he's seen our church culture from the inside out.  You can read about his unique viewpoints at o-l-i.blogspot.com.

**This article first published on June 3, 2010.