TENTMAKING - A definition for Seventh-day Adventists
Why are SDA Tentmakers Needed?
The mission challenge is too large to be fulfilled by church employees—lay members are needed who will work in parallel with the organized church’s mission program
An increasing number of countries are hostile to the presence of overt Christian missionaries. However, many of these countries welcome skilled professionals to work within their borders.
Tentmaking leverages the financial resources of private and public sector employers worldwide to support SDA tentmakers in cross-cultural ministry.
Cities are burgeoning, which demands a growing Adventist presence. These metropolises are where economies are expanding, a skilled labor force is needed, mobility opens people to change, and increasing cross-cultural interaction takes place.
Into the Marketplace
For centuries, Christians have promoted the model of the 12 disciples who gave up their professions to follow Jesus in active ministry. Many enter Christian ministry today with the expectation that they are to abandon their trade to better focus on ministry. One’s trade is often perceived to be a hindrance to the Gospel, not a facilitator. However, the Apostle Paul viewed his trade as an opportunity that enabled him to preach the Gospel in unreached cities free of any financial dependence on any supporting church or administrative structures. Furthermore, Paul’s trade as a tentmaker took him into the ancient marketplace – which was where not only goods and services were bought and sold, but where new ideas were shared, evaluated, and disseminated. Like the Apostle Paul, modern-day tentmakers use their professional skills to find employment in the modern marketplace, where once again the Everlasting Gospel can be shared and disseminated.
What Relationship Do Tentmakers have with the Organized Church?
SDA tentmakers cooperate wherever possible with the visible leadership of the SDA Church for prayerful counsel, mutual encouragement and personal equipping. In relation to the organized church organization, Tentmakers are:
What is an SDA Tentmaker?
A tentmaker is a born-again SDA disciple of Jesus Christ who:
Jesus' counsel to modern SDA Tentmakers
In Acts 18.9-10, Jesus appeared to the Apostle Paul and gave him a three-fold command (v. 9), followed by a three-fold promise (v. 10), commands and promises that are relevant for all SDA tentmaking missionaries today:
1) Command 1 - “Do not be afraid.” During persecution, Jesus commands His tentmakers, “Do not be afraid.”
2) Command 2 - “Go on speaking.” Tentmakers must not stop sharing the Gospel whether in public or in private.
3) Command 3 - “Do not be silent.” Tentmakers must not let discouragement silence their faithful witness.
4) Promise 1 - “I am with you.” As tentmakers engage in ministry, Jesus will constantly be with them.
5) Promise 2 - “No one will…harm you.” God will protect His tentmakers despite local community hostility.
6) Promise 3 - “I have many” people here. God has many honest seekers for truth wherever tentmakers are serving.