During the summer of 2001, I received an offer for the job I had always wanted: a Starbucks barista. College-bound, needing flexibility, and already a regular consumer, the fit was a good one. I learned much over the four years, was influenced by some good people, and made some great friends out of my time there. While far from a perfect employee, especially before I became a Christian which occurred during this tenure, I gave much during my time there as an employee. There is a reason I gave so much: At that time I had a high regard for the company, I had a high regard for the product, and I had a high regard for their philosophy of business. Such conviction is not only a defining feature in the realm of business but in ministry also.
To the secular (business) world, this premise has garnered much respect. However, it is not a unique principal, but we also find Scriptural support for such an ideology when it comes to theology and doctrine. Consider the following verses:
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
- Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?”
- Ephesians 5:6-8: “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.”
- 1 John 3:6: “Everyone who remains in him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen him or known him.”
We could outline a number of similar passages but the point is simply to show that there exist differences between the Christian world and the secular world. Constantly believers are told not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, whether it be in marriage or in ministry.
This is an incredibly important point, because like those trying to sell a product that they don’t believe in, how can one who is an unbeliever proclaim a gospel that he or she does not believe in? The Lord has issued a call to the life of a believer, and that is a command to share the gospel. Yet an unconverted person has been blinded and the gospel appears foolishness to them (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Therefore, we can conclude they are ill-equipped to proclaim.
This conclusion is not an illogical one but is quite reasonable. While generally I would argue against the idea of inputting secular business principles into practice in the church, this particular principle finds support in biblical principles. So why is it that the unbelieving world recognizes the significance of this concept in the secular world, yet the professing church cannot see to its importance within the ministry?
Several months ago I wrote about a church in Canada whose pastor does not actually believe in Christ (you can read that article by clicking here). This week the Diocese of Truro in England issued a job advertisement for a missions leader. Reading the job description, readers will be confronted with this phrase: “You do not need to be a practising Christian.” Let the absurdity of that sink in for a moment. A person, responsible for God’s mission to spread God’s love in order to see people transformed through salvation needs not be saved himself or herself.
This is not a call out to some sort of dangerous trend taking place, because after all, we’re talking about two examples from two churches in two countries. Certainly, there are more and these are just the ones making headlines. Furthermore, based on these examples, a case can probably be made to indicate that the majority of people in these two different areas are probably largely unconverted, despite calling themselves Christians. However, I do want to raise this concern: we must be incredibly concerned about the people leading our churches and our people.
The Lord has been very specific about the qualifications for leadership and teaching (just read 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and James as examples). This is a very serious aspect of Christian ministry. John wrote an entire epistle warning against false teachers and teaching. It is of great importance because the ability to lead others astray is uncomplicated and frequent. Therefore, protectional barriers are important for the sake of guarding the sheep against the wolves.
When we read stories such as these, our ears should be primed to respond with great concern. Instead of indifference, it should pique our desires to see God’s truth prevail so that false teachings such as these may wane. Therefore, I would urge vigilance of the Word and vigilance against the world for the sake of one’s soul.
Unfortunately, in between the time of writing this article and the time of the job posting, I have been unable to link back to it. However, attached is an article that you can read that further describes what I do here and has screenshots to indicate the truth of job description. You can read that by clicking here.
Photo “White Wolves” courtesy of user RichardBH and Flickr.