Understanding Acts | Tent Making | Acts 18.1-4 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Mar 6, 2023

“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” Acts 18.1-4

Paul’s first profession was not a Pharisee or a preacher. He was a tent maker. Maker of tents. Not small pop-ups but large and elaborate dwelling places probably for businesses and individuals to live. It was a skill, not unlike carpentry, requiring a lot of physical labor. This was Paul’s mean to supporting himself until churches began to offer and send support for his labor in the Gospel of Christ.

Although Paul was a tent maker, each Sabbath he “reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” He’s what we might call bi-vocational. A minister who labored in the workplace among non believers. Offering his skill and building friendships with other tent makers, like Aquila and Priscilla, who were Jews who had been ordered to leave Rome. From Athens to Corinth, Paul was making his way throughout the Roman Empire along the Mediterranean preaching the Gospel.

Paul’s primary gifting was preaching and teaching but God was providing for his needs in the most simple of ways through his life-long profession. He was making himself available to the Lord through tent making. Today we have a whole ministry category for these Christians who consider themselves “tent makers.” They may not be building actually tents but use a secondary vocation to support their gospel calling.

My wife Lane, though a dentist, is a “tent maker.” She uses her professional degree and skill to help provide for several ministries. She also uses her dental office as a means to encourage, to pray for, and to support patients and staff. Lane is also my biggest supporter in my ministry within the Methodist-Wesleyan denomination. Her ability to support me both through prayer and finances has allowed me to start and keep growing Revive, Movement Ministries and Truett’s Wesley House of Studies.

Perhaps the Lord is not calling you to full-time vocational ministry but maybe to be a “tent-maker.” To proclaim the gospel while working in another area of expertise. To use your gifting to support the cause of Christ in the secular world of business and trade.

Wherever the Lord has you, whatever he has blessed you with, use it all for the glory of God. Use your gifts and skills to reach people where you are so that the world might know freedom and find faith in Christ our Lord.

“O Lord God, I give you thanks for loving me. Thank you for the ability for people like Lane to be tent-makers for the kingdom. For Paul the Apostle and others who use their skills to grow the Gospel. Come now, Lord God, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Allow me to be your hands and feet, trusting you to lead in every step of the way. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen