How to View Our Whole Lives As Christian Ministry
Kristen Maggitti believes ministry isn’t limited to formal roles within the Church or a Christian nonprofit. She sees our whole lives as ministry. As a writer, professional, and 2021 Jessup alum who earned her B. A. in Leadership with an emphasis in Christian Ministry, Kristen has worked in a formal ministry setting for over six years, has written and led spiritual engagement courses, and is in seminary studying Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction. All of these milestones were formative and obvious steps on the yellow brick road to—real estate?
The short answer is yes.
“I remember being in a class during my undergrad program at Jessup and sharing with my professor that a piece I had written got a lot of traction,” said Kristen. “I expressed my enthusiasm over what could have been the start of something really exciting—like maybe I’d become a famous faith writer or something. He smiled and said, ‘Don’t forget us small people.’ I remember being moved by his comment. How could I ever forget him or anyone who contributed so much to my education and spiritual formation? He and others like him weren’t small people. They were huge to me. What I realized later is that he modeled a life of obscurity and passion in the work he did every day, and it deeply shaped my life.”
This moment sent Kristen down a path of contemplating the value that people, specifically Jesus followers, bring to the world of work. She began writing about the value of Christian presence in the workplace and how our ordinary (or extraordinary!) nine-to-five day jobs are just as sacred and important as formal church ministry.
“We take the kingdom of God with us wherever we go,” said Kristen. “We are little churches on legs, and we’re going into our offices, schools, communities, and grocery stores. I think churches often carry the burden of winning people over to Christ, and that’s not their burden to bear. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are tasked with loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Our neighbors are the people in our path.”
Ultimately, Kristen believes our lives are our ministry. Whether we’re students or professors, baristas or senior pastors, we are salt and light. When disciples of Jesus go about their lives with intention, knowing they bring the kingdom of God with them wherever they go, they possess the framework to reorient the way they think about ministry. “In order to help people expand their vision, the leadership of any church or para-church organization must first believe that the work done outside the Church holds the same inherent value as the work inside the Church,” said Kristen.
During Kristen’s time in Jessup’s School of Theology and Leadership, there were several professors who positively impacted her life and faith. Dr. Brad Swope was a favorite.
“I sat in his Life and Teachings of Jesus class as a student, then worked alongside him as a T.A.,” said Kristen. “Later, he served as my spiritual/educational mentor, and now—now, I think we’re friends. To date, he’s the only professor to give me a D on a paper (I’m still annoyed about it). But since that paper, my writing is stronger and more clear. My time under his guidance made me a better listener, more compassionate, and more confident. Dr. Swope is clearly a teacher, but he is also a pastor. I witnessed him exercise truth and kindness in the classroom, in private conversations, and in professional settings with grace and humility. His desire was always to bring people onto the path of human flourishing offered by Jesus.”
This year, while continuing seminary, Kristen is excited to complete her real estate license. She’s also finishing up a book proposal and plans to start pitching it to a short list of literary agents. When she isn’t working, reading, and paper-writing, the Santa Barbara local loves spending time at the beach and basking in the beauty of nature.