Today, I’m here with my friend, Katie Crofford, and we are talking about something so important: how do we serve the Lord in our business, even if we’re not working in actual ministry?
Katie Crofford is one of my long-term friends. We first met in college at point Loma Nazarene university. We met actually in this small group in one of our classes and ever since then, we studied abroad in London together and have been friends ever since. Katie is such a great reflection of Jesus and she has such great wisdom to share all the time, and I always come to her for advice.
I also think she is a great person to ask this question of how do we serve the Lord with our business, even if we’re not working in actual ministry because Katie herself works in ministry right now and has a lot of wisdom for small business owners who maybe aren’t working in actual ministry.
I have been working in full-time ministry now for almost a year, which is kind of interesting because I’ve always been a part of ministry in some way, shape or form.
This is actually the first time where I’m being paid for it full time, and there are things that are a little bit different when you are working full time as a staff member.
After college, my journey to finding myself in full-time ministry has been just exactly what I said. It’s been a journey after college. I didn’t totally know what I wanted to do. I’ve always had a lot of different passions and interests, but I felt this call to just do something I wanted to give back. I wanted to serve God.
And so I ended up going on this program called the World Race, where you travel around to 11 different countries and you partner with different ministries in each of those organizations. And through that process, I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about God. I really kind of deconstructed a lot of the views I had about God, which is another story for another time. But I remember coming back from that trip and just people would ask me, Oh, are you going to go into missions? But I just felt this pull to the church.
And I remember just seeing different leaders and different people and countries all over the world and just watching how the Lord really raised up those people to lead the community that they were in. And I just felt like I had a call on my life to lead the communities that I was in back home.
And the funny thing was that when I came back, I actually found myself in a couple of different jobs before now working in full-time ministry.
But now I’m at a church and I am in a coordinator role. And so I coordinate our discipleship ministries and then all of our missions ministries, our local and our global community partners, different trips that we go on, all of those things.
And I actually find that a lot of my ministry kind of happens after hours are kind of in the underground.
You Don’t Need to be Working in the Church to be Glorifying God.
I think sometimes there can even be like a fear of what, what is God wanting me to do and trying to kind of figure that out and navigate it. And I think first, even as we’re talking about ministry and all these things, to look at the life of Jesus. He is always our standard in a lot of ways, Jesus did both.
So he worked in vocational ministry, but only the last three years of his life up until then he had been in carpentry. So he kind of had his own business. I mean, he was still the Son of God, which is like the biggest ministry title you could ever have, but he was doing just a different role.
Wherever you are, wherever you’re working, you can serve God.
Wherever you are, wherever you’re working, you can serve God, you can, you can be with people, you can serve people, you can love people. And I think the only difference, whether you’re being paid for it, whether you’re volunteering and a certain role with the church or with some kind of organization, or whether you’re just doing it wherever you are, really, I think it comes down to just the different people that you’re interacting with.
So my opportunities come because I make a lot of relationships with people where I work, but your relationships are whoever’s listening, whether it’s your clients, whether it’s people that are also trying to build businesses alongside you, your relationships and your opportunities are going to look different. But our goal is can still be the same.
So I think that kind of boils it down. Wherever you are, you can have influence and impact just depends.
Following Your Passion is Obedience to God.
I think it comes down to where God has placed you. And I think if you feel a pull, you feel a call to build your own business. That is something that you need to run towards and actually doing that is obedience.
And so we all find ourselves in different seasons. There have been seasons in my life where I have been so busy that I can barely catch my breath and I am just kind of hanging on by a thread. And then there’s seasons where I feel like I have a ton of space.
So I think it comes down to just having a relationship with God and saying, how do you want me to use my time right now? And that’s the best thing about God and having a relationship with him and Holy spirit is help.
He’ll tell you, he’ll help you navigate through those times. And I think building your business and doing things with a spirit of excellence is serving the Lord.
Whatever season you’re in, wherever you find yourself working at it, um, with all you have is, is obedience.
And the other thing is just kind of taking an account and being aware of where you are emotionally, where you are mentally when you’re putting in all this time in your business. So I would just make sure you’re in a healthy place, if you are putting in a ton of time and hours and work and creativity into your business. If you’re striving to do it with excellence, you want to just make it the best that it can be.
Balance is Important.
But I also think there’s a really thin line and becoming out of balance and holding that to a higher place, then not only your relationship with God, but I mean, everything, your relationship.
If you’re married with your husband or with your kids or with your family, there always has to be this sense of balance. And I think whenever that can become unbalanced, that’s where it’s unhealthy.
If you’re building your own business, you’re kind of building your own brand and building a platform around YOU. You’re trying to get clients and you’re doing all of these things, which is so great. But I think the thing to be careful about is if you are building your own brand and you’re having kind of the spotlight on you so much, if you don’t have a strong foundation or a strong confidence, or just it’s built on a secure place, it could crumble.
Make sure the light is on JESUS – not you.
One of my favorite quotes by Christine Caine, “If the light that is on you is greater than the light that is within you, the light that is on you will destroy you.”
And so if you are building this platform and you were putting yourself out there over and over and over again, and it’s not coming from a place of security of your relationship with God, there will be a time where it will be too much. I mean, the weight of it is just so heavy.
Keep that in balance of your relationship with God, and I believe that he’ll lead you in that.
Peace is always a great decider for big decisions.
I always say that peace is a great decider and so different things that I’ve had in my life.
I kind of mentioned this before, but I have so many things that I’m passionate about and interested in. And for a long time, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. And to be honest, I’m still figuring it out.
I know where I am right now is where I’m supposed to be in this time. And I’m so confident about that, but I have no idea when people ask me like my five-year plan. I’m like, Oh my gosh, when will I be at the age where people will stop asking me?
I kind of take a look and kind of an audit of all my passions, all my interests, and I say, what, what fits right now in this time?
I think there’s a peace that comes when you’re living in step with God.
With our generation specifically, there’s so many opportunities to build your own business to be entrepreneurial. And so I felt the stress of that. Like, Oh, I should be doing something. And I was so concerned that I was going to do the wrong thing that I became paralyzed. But I’ve seen God meet me in such a beautiful way. And that’s his grace. And I think he moves with movement. I think he moves with our movement and it involves taking risks.
There’s this analogy: it’s kind of like one of those cliche statements, but if you’re a sailboat, you just kind of have to keep going and God will use the wind to direct your sales.
And what I found was I was so scared that I was going to be living plan B for my life, that I was still tied to the dock. And so the wind was blowing and God was starting to move, but I was not going to leave the dock. And someone said to me once, and this was so profound, they just stared at me straight in the face and was like, Katie, you are giving yourself way too much power to think that you could control God’s will for your life.
If we believe that God is actually good, as he says he is – and as we say, he is – we have to believe he’s going to meet us there.
So if you think that there is any passion, any interest, any like inkling or seed that is growing, just try it. Take the risk and just do it and trust that God is going to meet you in that place.
The fear of failure will hold you back from God’s promises for you.
The tether that was tying my boat to the dock was fear of failure. And I’ve learned throughout the years, that failure is not only part of success – I actually think it’s a prerequisite to success truth.
If you’re not failing, I don’t think that you’re actually going to reach the level of success that you could reach if you’re taking more risks than you’re failing harder. When you’re taking risks, you’re showing up with all that you have. And even if you’re failing, you’re going to come out with a greater level of success. And the coolest part is that we get to invite God into that, into that story, into that place and just watch what he does with it.
Sharing God’s truth doesn’t have to be in Ministry – it can happen at anytime.
My ministry happens kind of after hours, or I say the underground because I am in a role that is more coordination. It’s more planning, it’s more strategy. I’m not preaching on Sunday. I’m not leading like programs with people during the week.
Every time you get into a job or start a new business, you kind of have this idea of how it’s going to go. And then you’re met with the reality of what it is. And my whole job has kind of been okay, how do I take what I’m doing in my job? What I’m being paid for? How can I serve my team? Well, how can I come together? Bring my creativity, bring my strategy, bring my guests to the table and serve them well, but also still step out in the gifts that I believe that I have.
A lot of the gifts that I have are more relational are more pastoral. That’s what I’m so passionate about. And so it’s kind of this tension, okay, this is what I need to do to make this work well. But this is who I think I’m called to be. And I think that actually can translate so beautifully into all areas of life.
So with your job, with your clients, how do you show up and do the things that you need to do to be successful, to do the things that you need to do to serve your clients? Whatever business you’re in, live out who you are and who you believe God has created you to be what gifts you have.
Live out who you are and who God has created you to be.
I think that’s actually a huge part of knowing who we are and knowing our identity, and just really maturity of how to hold both with grace and still continue to grow in both. There’s a time to act out in one and to act out at another, you don’t always have to be operating in just the day-to-day things that need to be get done. But you don’t also always have to be operating in just the things that you want to do. There is kind of this, this marriage of the two that go together.
Whatever your occupation is in your identity, but it’s not your TOTAL identity. So what you do and your occupation is not who you are. That’s just what you’re put on earth to do work on. Your calling and your gifts are a part of that identity as well.
Your occupation is different than your calling.
I think the identity piece is huge. I think it’s not until we know who we are and we’re confident in who we are, that we can really begin to step out and do these things to take risks and grow in our gifts.
I would encourage you wherever you are, to just spend that time getting your identity straight, especially with what we’re talking about with building your brand, building, your platform, all of those things.
There comes with that just a certain level of putting yourself out there and being competent and hustling and doing all of these things that are so good. But at the same time, if it’s coming from a place of striving or working and it’s not coming from a place of true identity, you’re just gonna get burnout.
I’ve been there and I’ve been in a place of burnout. Many times I’m actually prone to it because I’m a doer. I love to do things and create things and make things. And I always have ideas in my head, but I’m prone to burnout because I will take on so much. And when I’m not operating in the place of who I am, and I’m just operating on my own strength, at one point in time, it will burn out.
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