We know our neighbours. We intentionally try to be a part of our community (even in simple ways such as buying our milk from the same corner store). We ask ourselves how our faith values are embodied in our everyday lives. We speak honestly about why we live the life we do. Of course we assume you do all of these things too. The difference is, it’s part of our job description.
As Global Workers there is a muddling between doing what we do because of our work contract and because of what we believe. As Christians we believe we’re meant to live a certain way. Regardless of where we are in the world, there are things we’ll do as a natural extension of who we are. Is it odd that we get paid to do what we all should be doing? Amongst Global Workers we’ve found a range of opinions over what counts as billable hours and what is just part of our lifestyle. There is a missional component to all of our lives so determining what is part of our 40 hours / week can feel fluid at times.
There are cultural contexts around the world where just living amongst and hanging out with people is the only avenue for demonstrating faith. Living differently speaks volumes, especially in the absence of the more common models based on churches. Poland, however, is not one of those restrictive contexts. With so much of our time tied up in teaching English, we find ourselves wrestling with this. Teaching has opened up relational doors with people we would have otherwise never met; yet, the amount of time we spend teaching limits our availability to be a part of the pilot project we initially came here for. Does that make it less missional? Should we be clocking 70 hours a week at the language school and another 40 for our so called “vocational ministry”? Of course there is overlap, but how much is what we need to determine.
Underlying all of this is the reality that we all have a personal ministry – a way in which we serve others based on our faith. It doesn’t matter if you are a copy editor, realtor or anesthetist – your faith is infused into each part of your life and no one pays you extra for that. Despite what it sounds like, we’re not trying to get ourselves bumped to volunteer salaries, but rather come to a fuller understanding of how our professional, personal and faith lives overlap. Each season of life will bring different mixes, but right now our challenge is feeling like our fundraising is justified. There is an accountability and a trust that we work hard to maintain and examining this balance is a part of this accountability process. We don’t know how to sum this up neatly, but we welcome your thoughts – no really, what do you think counts as billable hours?