Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tax Season and Theology in Life

In just twenty-seven days, Tax Season 2007 will be over!

What is tax season? And what does it have to do with theology? Well, at our house, it has a lot to do with it. My husband is one of three elders in our local church…and he is also a Certified Public Accountant with both corporate and individual accounting clients. At our house, January 1 marks the first day of tax season, and that means work weeks of up to 90 hours until April 15.

For people in bi-vocational ministries, as we are, there are stresses and time crunches that threaten to erode both personal time with the Lord and planned times for study and ministry. And, when Sunday is one of the focal points of public ministry, it can be more draining than refreshing.

That’s when plurality of leadership within the church is such a blessing.

Although my husband has been responsible for most of the Sunday morning preaching, one of the other elders will taking over that ministry. The third elder has been teaching the adult class, as well as planning fellowship activities. He also meets with some of our men for a weekly Bible study, and my husband teaches a mid-week study at our home.

Bi-vocational ministry—working in the secular world (as our elders do)—and also ministering to a body of believers is far from the norm in our area. As churches grow, they are hiring more and more staff people to take the burden of leadership off the pastor. And that’s okay, but it does tend to build a protective barrier between the “clergy” and the “laity”, a bit like the barrier the secretary provides between the CPA and his demanding clients.

When the members of the body know that their leaders are facing the same kind of pressures on the job that they are, when they can sit down with them in their homes, when they see them cleaning the floors and changing light bulbs in the place where they meet…Then they are seeing their theology in action. They can see how Christ meets the leader’s needs when he faces tough situations or uses opportunities to share God’s grace in the secular world. They can experience hospitality and real servanthood.

There are twenty-seven more days til the end of Tax Season. Twenty-seven more opportunities to show people how to experience God’s grace through the high-pressure days of life. Twenty-seven more opportunities for God to show us how to live so that others can see Christ in us.

I wonder if twenty-seven days will be enough time for the lessons to be learned?

What are your thoughts on bi-vocational ministry? I’d love to hear from you.

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