Featured Separation between church and career.

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Jonathan95, Jan 16, 2020 at 6:16 AM.

  1. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I work in one of the church's coffee shops and it's been cool. Helps pay the bills and allows me to get to know people and share the Gospel.

    I am currently seeking a way to raise more money and I have an opportunity to go for a job that is willing to pay a salary range of $45k-$50k a year. If I get the job it'll be the most I've ever made. And I brought this up to my pastor who told me that he hopes that I do not get the job because it'll leave the coffee shop short staffed and it's been nice having me around.

    He also mentioned how he and the rest of the elders and even other managers of the shops have completed higher education and have degrees. But they are making enough to get by. And they get to be a part of the missionary work of the church. Which makes the lower pay worth it. If they wanted, they could all get better jobs to bring more money in. But they believe in the mission of the shops they have.

    So he ended by saying that he hopes I don't get the job. But he isn't going to pray against me.

    And I thought to myself.. huh. Wonder if this is the same advice I'd get from a pastor who wasn't so personally invested in my career decisions...
  2. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

  3. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I hope you get the job.
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  4. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you brother. Same here.
  5. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    You know, a little distance between your church and your career might be a good thing.

    Also... how did you know I was looking for a new job...?
  6. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    Indeed, wow.

    Take the job if it turns out to be suitable, and give a share of your increase to church and missions. That'll do more than the coffee shop. Christ has managed the church and missions without coffee shops for 2,000 years.
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  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    "I hope you don't get a better paying job. even if we keep you poor, we do like you around." Yikes. That is essentially what your pastor is saying. It sounds like he doesn't want YOUR best interest, but wants to use you for his own best interest.

    Also, is it really "missionary work" working at a US coffee shop? I don't like folks blabbering at me with my coffee, I just want my coffee and to be left alone. I am guessing 90% of people are like that. They don't want to talk religion with a stranger over a latte.

    Is the name of the Christian coffee shop, "He brews" or "Sacred Grounds?" Or maybe:
    • Jehovah Java.
    • The Cup that Overfloweth.
    • Holy Grounds.
    • Bean Redeemed.
    • Pressed but not Crushed.
    Sorry. I don't mean to tease (okay, I do)...but the whole Christian Coffee Shop "ministry" thing has been overdone.

    You wrote: "And they get to be a part of the missionary work of the church. Which makes the lower pay worth it." That really sounds like they are guilting you into accepting inadequate pay. I've seen many independent baptist churches paying their staff horribly. I went to a Indy Fundy Bible college for a year and in the middle of winter they refused to turn on the heat due to budget restrictions and low pay (the thermostat read 50 degrees and we all had to wear our coats, and the one female brought a blanket to class).

    Being religious shouldn't lead us to mistreat folks and then give them a guilt trip when they want to seek out a better opportunity.

    At least I am glad that the pastor is kind enough not to pray against your better employment. Again....wow. My advice is to get away from this knucklehead.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 8:03 AM
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  8. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Is he willing to drop his salary (and adjust downward for the tax benefits) to what the coffee shop employees make?

    There will be plusses and minuses to moving out of the nest, but the bottom line is that you'll probably have more long term opportunities to impact people in the new job.
  9. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Not to be impolite, but it is none of your pastor's business if you wish to change career.
  10. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am surprised that your pastor would say he hopes you do not get the job. I can't think of any biblical warrant for you not to take the job unless its something that can cause you to sin.

    Listening to your pastor make comments about high education and ministry resonates with me slightly, but I think he is assuming that because he made the switch everybody should.

    I work in what I would call a good job and make a decent living for my family. However, I find myself feeling torn between my Church life and work life. The majority of the week I am at work trying to make our software as valuable as possible. This activity takes me away from studying my bible, outreach in my neighborhood and fellowshipping with my church family. My job also pulls me away from home traveling all around the United States. Its been challenging for me to understand how I should be viewing this activity from a biblical standpoint. Should I quit and go into full time ministry or should I stay and continue to outreach with my coworkers. My prayers and personal reflection is leading me to the latter. However, it sounds like your Pastor/Elder had this dilemma and they chose the former.

    My point of saying this is if you work in a secular job just be mindful that God placed you there to be a light, and you should be intentional with reaching out to those walking in darkness. You might not feel like you are making much progress but God is the one who is in control. The job might pay well but you should view this as both a way to make money and a way to spread the gospel. Your work life and your church life do not need to be seperate.
  11. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Please, it's written all over your face. Or.. you know, your little icon there.
  12. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand what you are saying. Let us both seek to do whatever we find would glorify God the most, walking in all wisdom and according to biblical precepts.
  13. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hmm, our church doesn't have any coffee shops, but we do have both regular and decaf after the service. Unfortunately, that is only a volunteer position at this time.

    I think you should endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as your own.
  14. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    A coffee shop, even a church coffee shop, is not a missionary work. So there goes that argument!
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  15. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

  16. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior


    I want to enter cautiously because I don't want to undermine the leadership of your church.

    However, as others have said, there are obvious conflicts of interest that play into your pastor's advice.

    But I think there is another problem at the root. Many believe that it is the church's job as an organization to evangelize. This is not completely untrue, but primarily it is the church's job as members to evangelize. Evangelism will not necessarily take place in a "church coffee shop" any more than in another work place. One might be more conducive in its policies, etc., but that doesn't necessarily mean it is superior. I think that sometimes churches as organizations try to "manage" evangelism from the top down rather than training members so that evangelism is a function of the entire membership body.

    My hope is that you get a job that pays well and that you are able to be a faithful witness both in word and tongue in whatever place that is.
  17. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree. This is why I am not at all convinced that I am abandoning the mission. I believe the thought that the elders of the church are trying to get across is that, by me leaving, they will take a big hit and be severely undermanned.

    Currently at my store we have 4 people full time. 2 are going back to school next week and now I have stated that I might be leaving in order to secure this new job and the accompanying pay raise.

    I guess that is the question they might be wondering in their hearts. Why would I leave them to struggle solely to be making more money. From a certain perspective it might seem as if I am choosing money over mission, and more particularly, choosing money over my church's calling.

    The reason why I am not really convinced that I am doing something wrong is because I acknowledge that, whether I stay or go, evangelism is going to happen on my part. And if all of our coffee shops around the city were to shut down, this does not hinder what God is doing at all.

    The thing is, all of the elders came to Boston from California 7 years ago with the sole intent of starting coffee shops and holding service right there. And so for them having uprooted their lives for this purpose, when someone comes along and doesn't treat it with the kind of seriousness that they do, it might come off as undermining what they seek to do in the city for the glory of God.

    This is my perspective of the matter.
  18. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Brother: I hope that you do in fact get the new job. Blessings!
  19. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you!!
  20. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry, when I made my comment, I did not realize you might not be on the same page on that point. See Tim's post for some elaboration.

    Basically, a missionary work is a work that fulfills the Great Commission. The Great Commission requires the evangelizing and instructing of all nations to obey all things Christ has commanded. This evangelizing and instructing is done by sending apostles and evangelists and pastors (though only pastors remain with us as an office today) to preach the Gospel and to instruct in the Scriptures. This preaching results in conversion and instruction of people who are gathered into a body that will one day form a fully functioning church, as church officers are eventually ordained in the congregatoin. THIS is a missionary work: a church in infant form; an organization ordained by Christ that allows pastors to convert and instruct sinners to obey all Christ has commanded. Christ has given no promise of blessing attached to any other means of evangelizing and instructing than this means of preaching the Word and establishing churches.

    A coffee shop is just a coffee shop. It can provide opportunities for speaking good things for Christ or providing Christian literature. It can provide an opportunity for a Christian business to bring glory to God in serving others by means of providing an enjoyable (to most; I dislike coffee haha!) beverage and/or other products and space to sit down and talk with friends or meet new people....as well as witnessing to an unbelieving world as to the difference Christ can make in a business owner's life or in running a business. However, a coffee shop is not a church and therefore not part of the mission Christ has given the church for evangelizing and instructing. It is therefore not a missionary work.

    I hope that helps explain my original comment!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 12:13 PM
  21. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    We also have tea and hot chocolate if you're so inclined!

    Haha, yes this helps, thank you!

    One further note. Every summer we partner with other churches from across the country and we will get people who come to volunteer at our locations and help share the gospel with unbelievers. All of these people believe themselves to be missionaries. Where do you think the confusion lies?
  22. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Where in Boston is your coffee shop. My wife and I are meeting family in Scituate, MA around the 4th of July. Maybe we can swing by for some coffee or tea. FYI, I love coffee and drink it all the time.
  23. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Right outside the old state house. Where the Boston massacre took place. Name is THE WELL COFFEE HOUSE. We'd love to have you!
  24. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not going to hope that you get the job. I do not know if it is the right job for you or not. I will hope and pray that you will flourish wherever our Lord places you.

    I am troubled by your pastor's advice. It would have been better for him to say that he was conflicted, and that they hated to lose you.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 5:56 PM
  25. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    You wrote:

    "The thing is, all of the elders came to Boston from California 7 years ago with the sole intent of starting coffee shops and holding service right there. And so for them having uprooted their lives for this purpose, when someone comes along and doesn't treat it with the kind of seriousness that they do, it might come off as undermining what they seek to do in the city for the glory of God."

    That is a problem right there. What has our models of church-planting become!?!
  26. RJ Spencer

    RJ Spencer Puritan Board Freshman

    I would kill (not literally) for a job in the ministry that didn't require higher education and was enough to pay the bills.
  27. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    Exactly why I am grateful to be where I am. Regardless of how this job opportunity turns out.
  28. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know this is going to get personal, but are you single, married, children, mortgage, rent....vehicle...

    Here in New Brunswick, there are no coffee shops that pay enough to support 2 of the above without a spouse. I also only know of 1 woman that has served coffee for over 20 yrs in the same coffee shop (Tim Horton's), and I doubt she's making more than $16 per hour...

    Most people work in a coffee shop while they are studying for more stable/long term careers, or till they encounter the right opportunity for advancement in jobs/careers.

    While I don't know the whole story, your pastor and his coffee shop staff/managers are welcome to do what they please and stay working in the shops. If that's their mission statement and goal, great. That doesn't mean it's yours.

    I know at my church (more and more difficult to go as I'm seeing the pastor is not really the one in charge), just because the church has a certain vision and goal, it doesn't mean it's mine.
  29. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand. Yeah it's just me and I live with my mother. But I pay 500 in rent and I'm making $17 an hour. And I have no expectations of getting married or anything like that.

    I was excited for the opportunity to make more because I would be able to move out on my own quicker. But even now I don't know what the Lord would have me do.
  30. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Haha! I do love hot chocolate!

    It is difficult to say where the confusion lies exactly. When I was in SBC circles, the problem tended to be that they thought the Great Commission was given to everyone: everyone is to be an evangelist, just as much as a pastor. This thought was never carried through consistently: only pastors preached or baptized, etc. But the "mission" of the Great Commission to evangelize as a special calling of God was thought to be given to all believers. Everyone becomes a minister; a pastor becomes just a special kind of minister who is a bit more educated and has leadership gifts. A person's secular vocation becomes just a means to the end of evangelism because evangelism is the prime calling on a person's life.

    In reality, the Great Commission is given to the Church: more specifically, in our time, pastors. Laymen have no special calling of God to evangelize, neither is it their prime vocation to evangelize, but they do have an ordinary duty that arises from love to fellow men and zeal for Christ to speak well of and for Christ. They are not official ambassadors of the kingdom, but as citizens that are fond of the kingdom and its king, they will make some use of their time (as God gives it) to try and persuade others to come and join them, instead of perishing.
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