Ask Fred > Career/Work > How would you help me decide between staying in business or going into full time Christian service?

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Dear Fred

How would you help me decide between staying in business or going into full time Christian service?

Fred's Response

You asked when a person should consider leaving business and going into full-time Christian ministry. Be very careful about the call and take time to examine that this call is truly from God and not just an escape route from business difficulties. In my experience I have found two types of businessmen who go into ministry: those who are running from and those who are running to. There are those who businesses are failing; they are not making the money they want to sustain their chosen lifestyle and satisfy their ego demands. An example is a man who came to me to talk about "going into ministry." When I asked him what kind he didn't have the foggiest idea and really knew nothing about vocational Christian work at all. I asked, "How's your business?" "TERRIBLE!" was his immediate response. I don't believe that the Lord populates a ministry with business failures. I suggested that he broaden his product line, get away from seasonal business and then see if he still had the call. He did ----- and he didn't! However, there are people whose gifts are well-fitted for vocational ministry. And there are people whose lives have come to a natural point for a shift. A good friend who was a successful executive realized as he turned 55 that his energy was being devoted to an overseas ministry, so with his family's blessing he shifted his entire focus. In this category are some men and women who chose business to avoid being in ministry ---- rather like Jonah. But God has a hook in them and they eventually see that their unique design is better suited for "full-time Christian service" as we used to say in the Southern Baptist church. Your question brings up one of my pet peeves: the separation of secular and sacred. Who says that full-time ministry can't be carried on in the business community? Isn't doing your work as unto the Lord ministry? Isn't sharing your faith from a business platform ministry? I have trouble with professionals who foster the separation to stay a step above the laymen. On the other hand, we laymen have been guilty of "hiring" our ministry done and then expecting a level of performance and perfection from our pastors that is unrealistic. Sadly, many businessmen want to hire these ministers at a pay scale that we wouldn't think of paying in business. To come back to your original question: think through your circumstances and what is driving your "calling." If God wants you to leave your business and follow a specific ministry fulltime be ready and eager to go, but be just as ready and eager to follow him right there where you are.