Has God wired you for the Marketplace or the Ministry? The answer is yes, on both counts. Consider Jesus’ prayer,
“I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:15-18 AMP)
The Marketplace is THE Ministry
Robert Fraser published a book in 2004 called Marketplace Christianity. He writes, “Only about three percent of Christians are called to vocational ministry, yet the current church teachings have not helped the other 97 develop for what they do.” I was on staff of a large church when I first read this statement and it startled within me a brand new awareness. As a church leader I was now challenged to turn my attentions from the 3% called to vocational ministry and to give closer attention to the hundreds of ministers filling our seats every Sunday morning. They were the ones who had the advantage of a greater Christian impact, not those of us who worked in the church offices.
My staff position included the development and management of a team ministry culture in our church. Any church minister will tell you one of their greatest struggles is getting their people to volunteer in the church. In a church you work primarily with people who have been born-again and are no longer slaves to sin or their former selves. As I have been preparing for these upcoming meetings with the Renaissance staff I’ve been pondering a couple of questions: one, will a former slave answer to pleas that guilt and shame and resemble the voices of a task master or a losing team? My other question is; if 97% of the church is called to minister in the marketplace will they be less likely to invest their limited time in activities that center around people who are already saved?
In that staff position I had a great personal conviction that we were not to use the people to get the work of the church done. We were, however, to use the work of the church to get the people done. I knew that I knew, volunteer ministry was more about individuals identifying with and encountering their Creator than it was to staff church events. With this new awareness it became more important to me to equip the 97% with eyes to see they were the ones who are called to THE Ministry of all ministries. When people replied to church opportunities with, “I don’t feel called.” I would take that challenge and use this God-Given Gifts course to help them identify where they did feel it. They needed to know how they were uniquely wired to bring ministry to the marketplace and how using the work of the church could help them perfect that.
The Three Percent
My daughter recently returned from a trip to L.A. She had an opportunity to tour the Dream Center where thousands of homeless, addicted, and abused people are rescued and given every advantage to turn their lives around. This is clearly a winning team. How do I know? There is a 2-year waiting list for groups to volunteer. Hello? I mean what compels strangers to sacrifice the time and expense to travel to L.A. and volunteer for this ministry? Can it be that the Spirit of God calls 97% of the church to serve their gifts to the world? How else will the world come to know their precious value to Jesus except that those He calls holy bend themselves down and serve the world through their gifts.
Renaissance is a small group of creative people who are building a church community in the downtown area of Decatur, IL. This group represents about 3% of the church community they serve. This Wired series of blogs is initially for them. Studying the God-Given Gifts will be a valuable resource to for them. This staff will be able to help the community they serve to identify the image of God they already carry into the marketplace. This staff will also be able to help them identify the power of God they can carry into the world.
As the Renaissance staff is equipped with this knowledge they will be increasing the excellence of their volunteer culture. They will not be desperate for help. They will not be setting people up for burnout. They will be strategic to fit people rather than desperate to fill ministries. They are blessed to have a pastor who loves Christ’s Bride and loves to show her off. He refuses the pressure to be an omni-competent pastor. He has been through this course before. It has given him the eyes to see the wiring in others. It has given him the confidence to pull the gifted to the front so that the world can see where Christ lives. He lives in His people. His people live in the world and work in the marketplace just like they do, just like Jesus did.
We begin tonight and I think I will make some Salted Brownies to munch on. Chocolate is good for the gifted soul, right? Next blog will be an intro to the three biblical gift categories and we’ll breakout an emphasis on the Romans 12 gift list. Nothing in depth, another challenge for my gift, but just a lil sumptn sumptn to inspire your hearts:-)