Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

I Am Now A Pastor/Barista, And Loving It!

The following is a guest post by Joshua Kelley, lead pastor of The Gathering, in Mount Vernon, WA, and barista at Starbucks. More information about Joshua and his book can be found at www.radicallynormal.com. Contact josh@tgcconline.com.

What does a full-time pastor of 14 years do when he realizes his church is running out of money and has to cut his salary in half?

This pastor (me) got a job at my home-away-from-home: Starbucks. I am now a pastor/barista, and loving it! The job is fun, I get to work with some great people, I like (most of) the customers, and I get to drink a lot of good coffee. After all those years of ministry, preceded by four years of college, it is good to be back in the “real world.”

But every now and again (especially at first), I doubt myself. How spiritual is making $4 lattes? What is the eternal value of blending up an extra-caramel Caramel Frappuccino? As a pastor, I have frequently taught that all work can be ministry and all Christians should be ministers wherever they are, but it’s different now that I am the one with the “regular” job! 

I distinctly remember one of these waves of doubt. I was busy mopping the lobby but mentally working on a book I’ve been writing called The Radically Normal Christian. In my book I’m attempting to correct the Christian tendency to undervalue the things of this life that God wants us to enjoy. Suddenly, I realized this applies directly to my work at Starbucks.

I was undervaluing God’s First Commission, which wasn’t “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18-20), but to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:26-30). In others words, God commissioned you to go and live life, to make your mark, and to fulfill your calling as someone made in his image.

By the very act of working hard to accomplish something, I am fulfilling my calling as a child of God. Now add to that all the opportunities I have to be a light here. The Holy Spirit has initiated and directed conversations with my co-workers. I am learning about the daily struggle of the real world. I am able to bestow dignity and God's love on every person who walks in, from the panhandler, to the gay couple, the businesswoman, and the retiree.  

Perhaps you are struggling with the spiritual value of your "regular" job. Be encouraged! You are serving God and bringing him glory in the manner that he has called the majority of his children to.

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