DEAR SALARIED PREACHER – YOU’RE NOT A TENT MAKER

Dear Salaried Preacher,

Please stop using the motto “tent making” for when you have to go outside of your ministry to make money. You are not tent making, unless of course, you are actually making tents.

Yes, I understand exactly why you say such things, but the difference between you and the apostle Paul is that Paul was a tent maker by trade and he supported his ministry by working at his craft.

You one the other hand are a salaried minister and when your job isn’t meeting your needs, you sometimes have to get another gig somewhere to pay your bills, and that’s OK, but don’t call it  “tent making.”

I have no problem with any Pastor or minister being supported by their church. That is between them and the congregation. It is a good thing for Pastors and ministers to be monetarily supported, and when a Pastor or minister is willing to take an outside job to support his family because church support isn’t sufficient, he should be commended.

However, referring to Paul’s tent making in a symbolic manner for salaried ministers is an improper use of scripture.

If you are going to use Paul’s tent making symbolically, apply it to those who aren’t salaried, but who work for a living at their craft and still minister the gospel – that’s who it would rightfully apply to.

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: FOR BY THEIR OCCUPATION they were tent makers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. (Acts 18:1-4).

In case you aren’t aware, the apostle Paul wasn’t a salaried minister who occasionally made tents when the offerings were down. Paul was a tent maker by trade as were Aquila and Priscilla. Paul worked at his craft to support himself and others in the ministry.

I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that THESE HANDS have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so LABORING ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:33-35).

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-10)

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