The thread I essentially highjacked on Simone’s blog has come to a gripping conclusion – of sorts. I think we’ve agreed to disagree – Simone may still disagree but we’ll see.
But it was a worthy exercise.
It raised, for me, a question about how Christians should use their gifts. And how we should balance use of gifts in a part time capacity verses using them in a full time capacity in vocational ministry.
My thinking is that particular gifts lend themselves to “vocational” use at different times. In the past paid organists were as much a part of church furniture as the organ. They were also essentially resident composers.
Now – web masters and graphic designers are playing an increasingly important role in the spread of the Gospel.
My gut feeling is that the Biblical principle of a worker deserving their keep holds for all excercise. If a job needs doing – and there’s nobody to do it – then pay for it.
The worker then has a decision to make – like Paul did – as to whether to accept this payment (he chose to work instead).
I also think there comes a time where a worker playing an essential role should be paid full time in order to free them from that work for the cause of the Gospel.
So the responsibility of the church is to pay – while the worker should consider their gifting as God’s providence and receive the payment (or not) accordingly.
There are different ways that this can work – an article I read about Mars Hill suggested that graphic designers who attend that church “tithe” their time and talents. There’s also an interesting discussion happening at “Communicate Jesus” about how the church should approach the issue. And another discussion in a similar vein at Sydney Anglicans.
The Communicate Jesus article features a quote from the Mars Hill creative director which would seem to indicate some sort of contradiction with the other post –
“I once had a chat with AJ Hamilton who runs all the media stuff for Mars Hill Seattle. I asked him about how he managed to achieve the quality of design across so much of their output – the online work for Death By Love being a prime example. He said they make a habit of recruiting the best designers. Okay I said, but how do you keep them? Answer: they’re the best paid staff in Mars Hill.”
It’s interesting that this is all coming up at around the same time – it creates an opportunity for some synchronous thinking.