My 4-year-old daughter learned the word “passion” the other day. Now she has a habit of telling my wife and I what everyone’s passion is.
“Mommy’s passion is taking care of the kids and doing projects.”
“Benji’s passion is being silly. Lily’s passion is snuggling.”
My wife then asked her what my passion is.
“Daddy’s passion is work and working out.”
We both laughed. But she was partly right.
I honestly can’t say I’m “passionate” about working out (I’d be pretty ripped if I was!). But I won’t deny that work/business is a passion of mine.
If you were to look at my bookshelf you’d notice about 50% of them are about business, marketing and money. The other 50% are about theology, spirituality and ministry.
So to make a minor edit to my daughter’s statement: my passions are ministry and business.
In fact, back in my early 20s I seriously considered going to Bible college and becoming a pastor.
I even sat in on a whole day of classes at Portland Bible College and completed a training at my church called, “Pastors in Progress.”
At one point my pastor at the time, Paul Mackie, talked to me about planting my own church with the Foursquare Church. I remember going to this really nice “church planting dinner” in Portland that I thought was interesting.
Long story short: I decided to go into business vs “full-time ministry.”
But that desire to be part of what God’s doing in the earth has never left me. I think a lot about church, ministry, revival and the kingdom.
At the same time I love what I do in the business world.
And I used to think that you had to choose one or the other. Ministry or business.
Are you going to focus on making money or making disciples? I would think.
But over the years my views have evolved. I no longer think the two areas of life are incompatible. And I’m exploring new ideas about how to integrate them.
So when I read stories about people like Rabbi Lapin who has had success in both business and ministry, it inspires me. Here’s what Rabbi Lapin says in his book Thou Shall Prosper:
“Hoping to emulate the patterns from ancient Jewish tradition, in which the community’s leaders and teachers were themselves also engaged in earning their own livings, I too declined to accept a salary from the congregation. I decided that instead of being a paid rabbi, I would earn my living in business.”
Rabbi Lapin devoted himself to two simultaneous careers, congregational rabbi and L.A. business professional.
I love his story and think about it often, probably because it’s what I want to do too. I would love to be free to “do ministry” without having to ask other people for their money.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem with tithes and offering that churches collect. I believe it’s biblical. I just want to be free financially to pursue the dreams, ministries and projects God puts on my heart without having to fundraise!
And because the topic of money is something I would like to teach and preach on I wouldn’t want to “taint” the message by collecting an offering after teaching on money. I want to be free to preach boldly about it without taking an offering at the end, simply to avoid any perceived bias people may have.
So yes, my two passions are ministry and business. And I’ll continue to pursue success in business so that I can be free to do more ministry. It’s not one or the other. And I thank God that I’m no longer trapped by that dualistic way of thinking!