About Tentmaking


Some thoughts on a Christian worker’s professional contribution in a cross-cultural context.


We express our faith in at least three ways:

1. Telling

Preaching, teaching, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and explaining what we believe to those who will listen.

2. Being

Living the kind of life that honours God in the expectation that people will be attracted to the Kingdom and want to find out more.

3. Doing

The things that we do, what that produces and how it helps express who (and Whose) we are.

Three Basic Ideas

1. The objective of AZTEM’s involvement is to encourage Christian workers to see their work (in a culture different from their own) as an opportunity for an expression of faith in Christ.

2. The work we do is important in itself in extending God’s Kingdom (eg. feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick). We need no other justification than that we do this in Christ’s name.

3. What is done and how well it is done is of itself a witness, quite apart from how “nice we are”. What we say can be drowned out by what we do.

This means:

1. AZTEM must take the professional aspect seriously and has to be careful as to which opportunities are accepted (eg. No professional gun runners). Your work must express your faith.

2. A tentmaker must have integrity as a worker. The job cannot merely be an excuse to get into the country to evangelise. The work done must be, and be seen to be, a real contribution to the host country.

3. We need to struggle with the issue of whether the work that is being done is helping the people or not. One way to find out is to ask them.

4. We must be aware of the tensions that will arise because of the difference between the job that could be done, what you would like to do, and what is likely to be achieved.

5. A tentmaker’s supporters must be aware of this tension and help him or her work through this.