Ministers in the Marketplace – Davina Crookall
Every single believer has a God-given calling to be a minister. The word ‘minister’ in the Greek simply means ‘servant’. We are all called to serve God and people in whatever sphere of life he has called, gifted and anointed us in, whether that be the church, the marketplace or at home raising children. As Christians, most of us will serve Jesus in our workplace. There are only a small percentage of believers in full-time church related ministry and even those currently in full-time ministry have at some point also served God in education, government, business, media, the arts, finance, entertainment, hospitality, building and many other fields.
When called to the apostleship of Jesus’ ministry, Simon (later Peter), Andrew, James and John were not sitting around waiting for God to tell them what to do next, but were working in a fishing business. The New Testament also mentions the businesses, trades and professions of many other followers of Jesus. Matthew was a taxation officer (tax collector), Luke was a physician and Lydia was a business person who dealt in fabrics dyed in purple.
‘Market place ministry’ in its simplest terms is about God expanding his kingdom throughout all facets of society as his people operate in their God given assignments. Being a market place minister is not about living pay check to pay check , surviving a job we do not really enjoy, going through the motions or waiting for ‘a better life’ when we get to heaven. Rather it is about harnessing and releasing our God given purpose to fulfil his kingdom purposes through our current vocation on the earth right now! It is about the realisation that our God given gifts, personality style, job and life purpose are all connected.
God has provided models and specific instructions regarding how we are to represent Christ and operate as effective ministers in our workplaces.
John 10:25 says ‘Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me”.’ Just as Jesus’ life bore witness to the truth, our works and lives should exemplify Christ like living. We gain opportunities to ‘preach’ the love and forgiveness of Christ and our personal testimony through a combination of genuine relationship with others and a life that clearly demonstrates Christ- like qualities. Such qualities include an excellent attitude, generosity and respect for authority.
Colossians 4:1 and Ephesians 6:5-9 exhorts employers and employees in regard to a number of simple practical applications relevant to our day to day approach to ‘Marketplace Ministry’.
Employers/bosses should treat their staff fairly, renumerate them appropriately for work done and remember that their master is the same as their employees’- God in heaven.
Employees should display respect and regard for authority. It is an attitude which displays the type of honour and fear we should demonstrate towards God. Not fear in the sense of a lack of confidence or cowering, but rather a reverential honouring and a respect of the position that person holds.
• Hard working
If we desire to experience success and God’s favour over our lives, we should work hard with a positive attitude regardless of whether we are being watched or not. We cannot expect God to bless laziness or a sloppy attitude. We should be loyal, profitable and hard working with a ‘can do’ approach. We should continually aim to improve ourselves, join relevant industry organisations, gain the necessary training and qualifications, continually re-skill and study and keep abreast of changes in technology and the world at large.
• Serving as though Jesus was your Employer
God is our rewarder and he will reward each one of us for the good we do, whatever position we hold, whether we are serving our employer or church leader. We should approach our work with excellence and with Christ in mind as we serve.
Finally, being a market place minister does not diminish a believer’s potential to have incredible influence, nor the responsibility to be a person of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. The bible is filled with exemplary men and women of God who were not called to be priests or prophets in the church setting, but God favoured with phenomenal influence at a national and international level. Joseph and Mordecai both became Prime ministers in their lifetime. Joseph saved the lives of many people living through a time of severe famine via his Prime Ministerial role, God used Mordecai to encourage Queen Esther to risk her life in order to prevent a genocide of the Jewish people (Genesis 41:41, Esther 10:3), and Daniel possessed an ‘Excellent Spirit’ (attitude) which caused him to be 10 times more capable than other administrators and princes and to be promoted above all others in the Empire (Daniel 6:3).
I believe God desires for his people to know and understand they are not ‘biding their time’ here on earth while waiting for eternity, but are destined for greatness and being part of fulfilling God’s broader Kingdom purposes on the earth.
When God’s people fully understand and begin to operate in this, we will see an explosion of creative, motivated believers, fuelled with passion to expand God’s kingdom purposes in every arena of life.