Published: 10 years ago

Professional Christians

Audience Participation Week rolls on. Today’s submissions came from First Impressions wonder-girl Kiani Arkus. You can see her three words as well as a primer on A.P.W. here.


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To the good people at Discovery Channel: if you ever need a host for a documentary on Professional Christians, I’d humbly ask that you consider me. I’ve had quite a bit of experience with them, and I think that I could accurately describe the habitat, habits, and natural predators of the P.C. Besides, I would get a real kick out of making fun of ‘em.

The Professional Christian is a species of church-goer that can be found in just about every house of worship in the United States. Typically, these are people who have just landed from another church, and they immediately begin the process of telling you why you need them, why you can’t live without them, and how the Holy Spirit was simply known as “Spirit” before they got involved. In other words, they’re pretty much awesome.

I’ve encountered roughly 6,412 Professional Christians in my career, not that I’m keeping count. Early on, I was quick to jump on the PC bandwagon:

“Well, Billy Joe Bob said that he single-handedly led Billy Graham to Christ and went on to ghostwrite all of his sermons and Cliff Barrows lip-synced to his actual voice while he secretly performed backstage, all while translating the New International Version of the Bible, so maybe we should put that guy in charge of something around here.”

“Have you met LuLu? She used to direct the WMU in four states all at once while also crocheting diaper cozies for every missionary kid in the world. She beat Beth Moore in the annual Women in Ministry Arm Wrestling Extravaganza, so obviously we should let her head up any estrogen-related ministry in our church.”

Editor’s note: You are sooooo fired for that remark.

The Professional Christian will usually roll up in the church parking lot and strip off all of our I [Heart] Durham bumper magnets, deftly replacing them with I [Heart] My Professional Christian [Ampersand] His Phat Ministry Skillz.

As I’ve gotten to know each and every 6,412 P.C., I’ve learned that each encounter is cause for me to reach for my sphygmomanometer, because my blood pressure is going to rocket. Or rock it, depending on your need for fun vocabulary today.

Here’s my issue with P.C.s: typically their mouths write checks their bodies can’t cash. They demand recognition while failing to seek humility. They insist on authority without first earning trust. They promote their agenda without thinking to align with God’s agenda. And in the end, I’ve met very, very few P.C.s who actually deliver on their grand promises. Usually they flame out, fizzle out, or just slip out while no one is looking. It’s akin to ecclesiastical apoptosis, where they huff and they puff and then…they’re just gone. Gone to the next church, the next big thing, the next opportunity to shine.

Please understand, I’m grateful for every person who steps up to serve. And I also realize that there are some people whom God has uniquely gifted to serve big from the beginning. However, it’s the attitude and the posture of the P.C. that gives me pause. Any time we assume that we are God’s gift to the church, we put ourselves in a very tenuous, tumultuous position.

The best antidote for a P.C. is this: seek to serve in humility, and let your leadership recognize your gifts and calling. Talk to a ministry leader about your passion and experience, and let them help you build a framework for how your passion lines up with the church’s vision.

Hey Discovery Channel peeps: on second thought, don’t call me, because now I feel pretty bad about promoting my phat hosting skillz.



  1. I thought you had to use ampersand as a noun?

  2. Aaron Tant says:

    I’ve got to say, I find myself struggling at points not to be a P.C. on a regular basis. I appreciate the humor mixed with the truth. Thank you for your bright revelation!

  3. B the Builder says:

    Too many big words! That’s what happens when you get word suggestions from upper lever Duke students.

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