Early Christians made the marketplace the focal point of their ministry because their occupations regularly took them there. As they conducted business, it was natural for them to present the Gospel to the people they encountered. Marketplace people played a vital role in the emergence, establishment, and expansion of the early church—in fact, most of the followers of Jesus Christ remained in full-time business while simultaneously conducting full-time ministry. This was possible because they saw the marketplace as their parish and their business as a pulpit, to them witnessing was not an occasional activity but a lifestyle.

Generals, Not Privates

Today, millions of men and women are similarly called to full-time ministry in business, education, and government—the marketplace. These men and women work as stockbrokers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, farmers, chief operating officers, news reporters, teachers, police officers, plumbers, factory foremen, receptionists, cooks, and much more. Some of them have great influence on mainstream society, others are unsung heroes with low profiles, but each of them has been divinely called to bring the kingdom of God to the heart of the city.

Unfortunately, many of these marketplace Christians feel like second-class citizens when compared to people who serve full-time in a church. This should not be the case. No matter the occupation, Christians who work at secular jobs need to know that they are not perpetual privates in God’s army just because they have not gone to seminary. They have the potential to become full-fledged generals whose ministry is in the heart of the city, instead of inside a religious building.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

I am absolutely convinced that as clergy in the UMC, we must reclaim the foundations of our Wesleyan  heritage. Our practices of ministry must include marketplace ministry. Our ordination to Word, Sacrament , Order and Service implicitly includes witness.  Clergy must model living our witness in the marketplace intentionally and consistently.  I will be looking for models of marketplace ministry and sharing over the next few days.

Advertisements