The Myth of the Professional Christian

by Chris Rousell

“I’m a professional atheist” was the introduction the speaker at the Humanist Students’ Society event gave last week. Post-event, I followed Alan and a group of students to the pub for a more informal chat. On introducing myself to Alan, I couldn’t help but quip “My name is Chris, and I’m a professional Christian.”

It was a throwaway remark that I didn’t mean with any sincerity. But when an old friend asked me this week “So what is it you actually do?” I happily reeled off all the various activities and ministries I’m involved in within KCD and the wider community and, strangely enough, it got me thinking about my little quip.

I lead a set-up team (so do others). I work for a charity in Gateshead (so do others). I help out with some of the youth and kids ministries (so do others). I’m also involved in… (You get the point). The more I sit and think about what I do as a “professional” Christian, the more I realise I am anything but.

Not because I’m bad at the things I do, nor because I don’t get paid. But because there are so very few things I do on the Internship that members of the church aren’t already doing in some capacity. We are, as the apostle Peter puts it, ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation’- no longer is the work of priests for a specific set of people, but for all of us.

I am not a “professional” Christian; I am a Christian who has a lot of time dedicated to the service of the Church. I read the story of the Widow’s Offering (Mark 12:41-44) and identify 100% with the rich people throwing in large amounts – I have a lot of time to give because, by virtue of being an Intern, I have a lot of time to do so.

I am the rich people. But every set-up team, welcome team, refreshments team, prayer ministry team, kids team, worship band, Sunday supper rota, everything our church does, is made up of royal priests giving away their final two coins*. You may feel like you’re offering little; I can assure you Jesus feels differently.

*pardon the mixing of metaphors