The author, Professional Writing major Violet Hammack, is the 3rd place winner and recipient of a $50 cash prize in the Lorene Blanchard Essay Contest held at Taylor University in spring semester 2022. The Pulliam Journalism Center essay contest was sponsored by Associate Professor of Journalism Alan Blanchard & Helen Blanchard. Entries were judged by professional journalists – Editor.
Christians should be fully present in all aspects of life. They are not meant to live in a secluded bubble. Part of Christ’s final exhortation to his followers was for them to “[g]o . . . and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19 ESV).
How would they make disciples if they did not then go out into the nations?
Paul is a great example of this calling. He went into the nations and preached to them about Christ, but he did not simply preach at them. He studied their theologies, read their poets (Acts 17:22, 28), knew their cultures well and reasoned with them by building connections to their own beliefs and the people they held in high regard.
As he ministered to the Greeks, Paul worked (Acts 18:3). He was a tentmaker by trade, not just a missionary or a pastor. He participated in work that was not necessarily “Christian work.”
Dr. Erik Hayes, professor of kinesiology at Taylor University, argues that there is no such thing as inherently Christian or inherently secular work. “To say there are secular job opportunities is to create the false dichotomy . . . of dualism where you have a body and a soul and somehow they’re separate.”
Tish Harrison Warren holds this idea in her book, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, where she talks about how the ordinary activities that Christians do, such as brushing their teeth, are ways to honor God by fostering creation as an act of obedience.
With these in mind, it is not unreasonable to assume that in pursuing a calling that is not toward ministry, there are equal opportunities for glorifying God and arriving in heaven to the phrase, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21 ESV).
Christians should pursue careers. Christians should be authors, mechanics, cooks and teachers. They should recognize their passions and talents and should work to use those throughout their lives. God, through Paul, calls his people to do whatever they do with their full heart, working for God and not men (Colossians 3:23).
Christians are called to be hard workers. Paul acknowledges the different gifts and talents that Christians have and urges them to not lord their gifts over others, but to use them in service to one another and in humility (Rom. 12). Christians need to follow their calling and work to the best of their abilities in the fields to which God calls them.
But why should Christians be journalists? Well, without Christians in journalism, the gospels might not exist.
A bold statement? Perhaps.
The Bible is a large collection of books that covers a variety of formats including letters, poems and proverbs. Some stories we’re written in narrative form and some describe genealogies dating back thousands of years.
Four of these books outline the lineage, birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These books arguably create the foundation of the entire Christian faith. They are works of journalism.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are collections of news stories describing Jesus’ time on earth. As the Bible has been translated, translators have added captions. Many of these are reminiscent of article titles.
Journalists collect information for the sake of compiling them into news stories. Without writers who would have been willing to write about the news of Jesus’ coming, it likely would not have spread as quickly or accurately into the far reaches of the world.
Journalism, whether recognized or not, is an art form that Christians read nearly every time they open their Bibles. It is how they know what happened, how it happened, where it happened, who it involved, when it occurred and why it was done. It helps them gather information and use it to inform their decisions.
It is unlikely that modern Christian journalists will find themselves writing about the coming Messiah. But they should be journalists because they cannot live in an isolated bubble. There must be an integration of faith and work, regardless of what the work is.
Professor Linda Taylor at Taylor University says, “faith plays very heavily into . . . writing, as it naturally will if you’re a believer.” When Christians work hard in their vocations, whatever they are, they are steps closer to living out the call to work for God and not for men.
Violet Hammack is a Professional Writing major at Taylor University – firstname.lastname@example.org