By: Austin Carter, Resonate WSU Alumnus
I want to share with you three lies I've believed since graduating college. But first, some context. I currently own an insurance agency in the Greater Seattle area, I drive a 1998 Toyota 4Runner with 280,000 miles, and I’m a volunteer leader with Young Life. I’m continually learning who Jesus is and who He’s made us to be as a missionary in the marketplace.
Upon graduation from WSU in 2014, I immediately moved to Ellensburg, Washington to help start the first Resonate church outside of the Palouse. I discovered Resonate as a sophomore in college and started leading a village shortly after. I spent Christmas working with college students overseas, which is where I started to wrestle with whether I was called to make disciples via vocational ministry or in the workplace. I felt compelled to go with the plant team on staff and saw God do amazing things.
I’ve enjoyed business as long as I can remember. I used to sell painted pinecones as a kid, and I’d go door to door with a sponge and a bucket and offer $5 car washes. I thought I’d do that for the rest of my life. I was involved in a group project at WSU that required us to build a startup. Mobile Foam taught me a lot about business, working with others and starting something from nothing. My desire to create and help people through business grew a lot during those years, and it never went away.
While I greatly enjoyed pouring my life into church planting for those two years in Ellensburg, the Lord opened the doors to Seattle with an opportunity to acquire a business, and I did just that. Since being back in Seattle, I’ve learned a lot about who Jesus is, who he’s created me to be and what ministry outside of the college context looks like. Here are three lies that I’ve been tempted to believe since being back in Seattle.
Lie 1: My life isn’t pleasing to God
After being in full-time ministry for two years, it’s easy to tell yourself anything less than vocational ministry isn’t God’s plan. This is a fallacy among believers today. The Bible shows a picture of the church where we all have a role to play, instead of paying a few professional clergy to do the work for the rest of us. The world needs disciple-making doctors, accountants, and insurance agents.
God calls his people to a thousand different jobs and regardless of what we’re doing vocationally we’re expected to serve the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind regardless of where He’s placed us. Kevin DeYoung pleads with his readers in Just Do Something to “never think you are a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God if you aren’t in full-time ministry.” Whether you’re working at Amazon, Target or preaching from the pulpit, your life matters and God can do amazing things through you if you let him.
With all that being said, you still need to figure out where you can get involved in making disciples through the local church and what community you can serve with your time, talents and treasures. Don’t miss this.
Lie 2: My career will completely fulfill me
Many of us (myself included) have started looking for heaven on earth. We’ve set unrealistic expectation on finding perfect fulfillment in whatever we do vocationally. This mindset will only leave us unsatisfied and desiring something God never promised us in the first place.
You can point to so many people in the Bible who weren’t “thriving” by earthly standards, but they were faithful, and they made eternal kingdom impact through their faithfulness. I’ve learned that I don’t dream about insurance every night, but I’ve also learned that my job isn’t supposed to bring me total fulfillment. Only God can do that. He wants my heart, He wants my time, He wants my everything.
God has asked me to steward this company, my time, and my finances well to expand his kingdom. This the greatest purpose we can find no matter what we spend our days doing.
Lie 3: I deserve a break from ministry after I graduate
When I moved to Seattle, I told myself I needed a break from ministry. “I’ve poured out so much of my heart and I need to take some time off” is what I repeated over and over in my head. This too, is a complete lie which the enemy uses to keep us on the sidelines.
Find a church, get plugged in, start serving, find accountability and seek Godly counsel. You need to do this as soon as you move even if you don’t know a soul. In fact, have a plan in place before you move to assure you won’t be sitting on the sidelines. Ideally, you would move to a city on purpose with a community you already know and love and find a job there. We have seen many people put careers second to mission as they plant churches in new cities. But if, like me, you find yourself in a city with a new job but without community or a local body of believers you are already connected to, be relentless and press in.
Be consistent in seeking out a local body, ask good questions, do your research, and stick with a church before you completely give up on it. But please, don’t give yourself a break “from ministry” because quite frankly, the enemy knows how to take that break and make it longer than you’ll ever expect. This kind of “break” mentality shows that we have a consumer Christianity mindset, where we, as Josh Martin recently said, “do missional activities but don’t have a mission-saturated spirituality”. Christ saved us through missional mindset, and he saved us to have a missional spirituality. There is no separating the two.
Regardless of where you’re living, find a church that will disciple you and push you to make disciples. Find a church with leaders you can submit to, that cling to and preach the truth of the Bible, and a family on mission you can contribute to. If you don’t know of any, ask someone who might. If you don’t have anyone to ask, ask me and I’ll try my best to help point you in the right direction. I attend an amazing church in Kirkland, Washington where I serve and would love to have you join me.
Let’s go make His name great in every vocation and workplace.
I highly recommend Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something to anyone that is in between jobs or about to graduate.
For more steps on finding a church when you move, read this blog by Josh Martin here