I’m one of those people who charge for my services of speaking, writing, and editing—even though I also consider this my ministry. Not everyone approves.
When I was working as an acquisitions editor at a major Christian publishing house, folks would ask me why a “Christian” company charges money for their books. (Yes, they usually used air quotes.) I see the same dynamic in the speaking industry: “We’ll cover your travel expenses, of course,” potential hosts tell me. “Do you need an honorarium, or do you speak for ministry?”
They see ministry and business as mutually exclusive, and I get where they’re coming from. Since I am a strong advocate of pregnancy care centers, shouldn’t I speak at their fundraising events for free? Since I believe in the power of devotionals, shouldn’t I write them without expecting anything in return? Since Christian books transform lives, shouldn’t publishing houses hand them out to anyone who is willing to read them? After all, Jesus didn’t charge for his ministry, so why should we?
It’s a good question. Why don’t I quit my day job, as Jesus did, and not worry about where I’ll lay down my head? Why do pastors get salaries; why do organizations providing food for starving children use donations to cover overhead costs; why do Christian musicians charge for their CDs? While we’re at it, let’s ask: Why don’t we all quit our day jobs, considering that each Christian is called to ministry?
I think we keep our jobs because we understand that we can be more effective in the world if we have resources to work with. Christian businesses strive to keep the integrity of their mission intact while still generating enough revenue to function long-term (and to pay employees fairly). Christian individuals generate income so they can use it responsibly and give generously.
Keeping our day jobs seems reasonable to me.
What do you think? How have you resolved this issue for yourself?Leave a Comment