“I grew up in the church and attended public schools for most of my life, so I have a lot of non-Adventist friends. I don’t work for the church, but have volunteered a lot of my time with Pathfinders, Young Adult Ministry, church treasury, that kind of thing. I’m the VP of Finance for my company and have traveled a lot for work. I definitely get questions about why I’m vegetarian, why I don’t get drunk to have fun, and I try to give honest answers without being too preachy.
In 2005 I spent a year as a Student Missionary in El Salvador and a friend I made there wanted to become a medical missionary. I was helping her research Adventist Frontier Missions and I saw they had a missionary option called ‘Tentmaker.’ It said, ‘A Tentmaker can be employed within a company, teach in an educational institution, work in government, or own or run a business.’ I was blown away when I saw that because it feels so relevant to today’s culture. I wasn’t expecting any Adventist organization to embrace that philosophy. Having a vocation can provide a conversation starter and allow you to connect with people in a way that ‘being a missionary’ seems to preclude.
It feels sometimes like people who don’t work for the church are viewed as less than those who do, but I think there is room for both and that God can use anyone who is willing to witness to others. I feel that many Adventists today are too isolated and only interact with other Adventists–they go to Adventist schools, work for Adventist institutions, and live in Adventist communities. They have no relationships with people outside our denomination. This bothers me because I feel our denomination is becoming out of touch with society and it weakens our ability to share our faith with others. God gives each of us our own unique ways to witness, whether it’s through work or at the gym or on an airplane on the way to another city. Whether you work for the church or not, you should use your passion to connect with others and form relationships, being a Tentmaker wherever you are!”