Christianity Doesn’t Go “Pro” - by Kylah Lohnes
There are some things that we need specialists for. I’m glad that there are experts in mechanical engineering so that I don’t have to figure out how to build an airplane or piece together my car. I’m very glad that there are well-trained doctors who can diagnose rare diseases and offer life-saving treatments. Education, specialization, and expertise are good. But sometimes I think these things get in the way of involving the ordinary people in important conversations. While it’s good to have experts in community development and ministry, education and formal training are not required to love our neighbour, even our neighbours in complicated, messy situations. While I appreciate a well organized, theologically-sound sermon, you don’t need a degree to host a Bible study.
Don’t misunderstand me, I think that there is an important role for formal education and I think those with less experience and knowledge in an area should defer to those with more experience and knowledge at times. However, lack of education and experience does not disqualify you from engaging in the work of the church.
The work of loving our neighbour, sharing the gospel, discussing the Bible, and caring for those in need is the work of all who desire to follow Christ. In Scripture it’s the work of fishermen, tax collectors, mothers and tent makers. Christ calls the uneducated, the working class, and the businessmen to love, serve and teach regardless of their class or professional standing. Christ calls us to love our neighbours, share the gospel, seek shalom in our communities and talk about God’s work in the world regardless of what other personal or professional titles we hold. Christianity isn’t a profession, it’s a calling that impacts every profession and relationship. And if Christians don’t go “pro”, then that means the work of Christianity is done by everyday people loving and serving others using the time and talents they already possess.
What does that look like? How do we embrace Christ’s calling in the midst of our other responsibilities and roles? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
1) Immerse yourself in Scripture. Although it’s not necessary to have a degree in order to share the gospel (in word and deed), it is important to have an understanding of what’s in the Bible. So read it, read the gospels especially and see what Jesus tells his followers to do. Then do it.
2) Meet the needs you see. Whether it’s a small act of generosity for one person in need, or an area that you think your church should start working in, just start doing it. You can ask your pastor or deacons or friends for support, but don’t expect them to do the work for you. You can start a small group or an outreach program even if you’re not a pastor.
3) Consider how your skills and expertise can support others. You have valuable knowledge and skills in some area whether it’s related to your profession, a hobby, experience managing a household, ability to speak another language or a topic you’ve invested time into learning about. Consider how you can impart that knowledge to others or use those skills to bless your community. Maybe you can provide advice or services to neighbours or church members.
The work of the church is not the work of an exclusive class of “professional Christians” or pastors or leaders. You don’t need to be a specialist to love and serve as Christ does, you just need the courage to step out and start acting.