Posts Tagged 'Marketplace Ministry'

Transform your work life to be published in the USA!

It is with great excitement that we can tell you that ‘Transform your work life‘ will be released in the United States of America in June 2011!

We could not have asked for a better partner than Rusell Media!

Russel Media has a broad reach in the United States with a great emphasis on innovative marketing and communication mechanisms.

Moreover, Mark Russell, the founder of Russell Media, is himself a marketplace minister and theologian. Mark has a PhD from Asbury Seminary, having done his research on business as mission. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, ‘Our Souls at Work‘, and ‘The Missional Entrepeneur‘.

Transform your work life‘ will go through a slight redesign and update to make it suitable for the American market.

Our intention is to launch the book during the Global Day of Prayer conference in Jacksonville between the 9-11th of June 2011.  Graham Power and I will be in the USA in 2 weeks time to visit some ministry partners and speak at various events in Jacksonville, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Then we’ll be back in the USA in June for the Global Day of Prayer conference and the Global Day of Prayer itself.

So, please keep an eye on this site for more details as they unfold. Please also keep Mark and his team in your prayers as they prepare the book for its American release.

Business as Mission

It is always humbling to have an article published! I am particularly grateful that my article on Business as Mission was published in the September Lausanne World Pulse!

It deals with a subject that I am passionate about!

I’d be grateful if you’d read it here and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks!

Dion

Making the moments count.

Over the years Graham and I have spoken to many deeply-committed Christians who have never considered that God may actually have some- thing for them to achieve between Monday and Friday. We tend to place our lives into two boxes, a sacred box (everything we do for God), and a secular box (everything else we do). Very often business people think of their ‘God stuff ’ as worship – and worship only happens in certain places (like church buildings) at certain times (like on a Sunday, or on Christmas and Easter). Everything else is simply ‘my stuff ’ and it has very little to do with my worship. So, my work, my friendships, my community relation- ships, my sport – all of these ‘other things’ are outside of the sacred. The reality is that everything that we have, all that we are, and all that we do should be done for God.

From God’s perspective there is no separation between work and worship. I once heard someone explain it in this way – imagine that you have a ‘big worship switch’ on your back. Each time that you enter into worship the switch is flicked on. Do think that God is honoured when your ‘worship switch’ is flicked off? Surely we should never stop worshipping God – even at work.

God has a perfect will for every person, for every situation and every place. When you begin to look at your workplace and the people that you work with from God’s perspective you can see that He may just have an incredible mission for you to perform right where you are from Monday to Friday.

A few points to think about

Please read Colossians 3:23–24.

What is God’s attitude to work and labour?

If Jesus had your job, working among the people you work with, doing
the things you do during your workday, what do you think He would
want to achieve? How different is that from what you are striving for?

Who do you work for?

Who do you work for?

This may sound like a strange question from someone that you don’t know, but your answer is important!

Paul encourages the Colossians saying ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward’ (Col 3:23-24).

Who we work for not only determines what we do, it also how we do it.

In the Construction company where Graham Power and I work, the Power Group of Companies we have the wonderful blessing of knowing that our purpose as a group is to ‘improve the lives of people in Africa through infrastructure development’. This means that because we know who we work for our work can be ministry! Building roads, building homes… All of these things can be used by God to bless others and achieve God’s will in the world.

That is ministry, and each one of us plays an important role in that task!

When you arrive at work you are a partner in God’s mission for your company – whether you work in an office, or on a site, God can use your job to make people’s lives better.

Jesus commanded Christians to ‘Go into all the world…’ to share the Good News (Matt 28:18-20). The ‘world of work’ is very important in that instruction from the Lord.

In ‘Transform your work life’ Graham and I wrote the following: Each day when you go to work you have an opportunity to ‘go into all the world’ without having to go across the world.

So, let me ask you, what can you do to share God’s blessing among the people you work with? How can you work for Jesus at work by doing your work for His purposes and in order to honour Him? Remember that the rewards will not only bring blessing to you, but they will help to transform the lives of others!

Please can I encourage you to pray for each of the people that you work with on a daily basis?

Remember, work can be worship!

Dion

Jesus – monk or manager? The answer could change your life!

When you think about Jesus, what kind of minister do you think he was?  This may sound like a strange question, but it is important to answer it honestly!  I have come to see that most Christians tend to think of Jesus more as ‘monk’ than as a ‘manager’!

Some of the people that I spoke to thought that Jesus did similar things during his ministry to what their pastor does today (he preached, he cared for the sick, he nurtured people, he built a community).  Now of course that is partially true – a great deal of what pastors do in their congregations today is modelled on the ministry of Jesus.  However, it is a mistake to limit your understanding of Jesus’ ministry to such a narrow understanding.  The problem with seeing Jesus in this way is that it becomes difficult to imagine that Jesus did the kinds of ‘ordinary’ things that you and I have to do each day!  Somehow this ‘religious’ view of Jesus and his ministry creates a measure of separation between our everyday lives, and particularly our everyday work lives, and the life and work of Jesus.

In fact, I’m sure that like me you may have heard some sermons preached in which the impression is created that Jesus is antagonistic towards the marketplace!

Our picture of Jesus and his ministry is shaped by years of reading, learning, and thinking about the saviour.  I have found that sometimes I need to see things from a slightly different perspective in order to discover new opportunities and possibilities for my faith life.

Let me illustrate it to you in this way.  Recently a friend attended a course on ‘listening’ for a counselling program he is running.  The facilitator placed a serial box in the middle of the table around which the participants were sitting.  He asked each of them to tell the others what they saw.  Naturally there were various descriptions of the box depending on where the participants were sitting.  Some saw the front of the box, while others saw the back.  Some could see part of the front and one side, while others could see part of the back and the other side.

What you will read next is simply an attempt to look at Jesus’ life from a different angle, an angle that might help you to feel closer to him in your everyday worklife.

Biblical scholars tell us that Jesus lived for about 33 years (from his birth to his death on the cross).  During those 33 years the synoptic Gospels record that Jesus only spent 3 years of his life, from age 30-33, doing the kind of ministry that makes most people view him as a wondering monk, or Rabbi (Hebrew teacher or priest).  Have you ever thought about what Jesus did with the rest of his life?  Did Jesus only start loving people, praying for them, caring for their needs, telling them about God when he turned 30?  Of course not!  While Jesus may only have started his public ‘teaching’ ministry at around 30 years of age (Lk 4:14-15), we know that he was already displaying the evidence of his special nature and calling as a young boy.  Luke says ‘And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.’ (Lk 2:40).  How would others have known of his wisdom unless he was saying and doing wise things?  How would they have known that God’s grace was upon him unless he was already displaying God’s grace in his words and actions?  In fact the clearest evidence that Jesus was already engaging in ministry as a boy is to be found Luke 2:41-52, the account of Jesus engaging the priests in conversation in the temple.  Once again this passage ends with Luke noting, ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.’ (Lk 2:52 NIV).

So, we can be sure that Jesus was a minister, even as a young child – (Lk 4:49) Jesus notes that he is about his Father’s business.  As we discussed in chapter 4, to be a minister means to ‘act under God’s authority’.  It is assumed that Jesus would have been about 12 years of age when this incident in the temple took place, and as Luke points out he continued to grow in stature, getting recognition from others, and found great favour with God and other people.

This simply means that Jesus was in a different form of ministry from at least age 12-30, than the kind of ministry he did from age 30-33.  What kind of ministry was Jesus engaged in for those 18 years?  Mark’s Gospel gives us an insight into the primary way in which Jesus’ community viewed him during that period, ‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ (Mk 6:3 NIV).

Jesus’ contemporaries recognised him first as a businessman – a carpenter – and then only later as their teacher and saviour.

It is important to note that Jesus didn’t do carpentry as a hobby.  In the ancient near east a boy would take up his trade as a teenager, normally learning the skills and techniques that he would use to support his family in years to come.  Since Joseph was a carpenter, Jesus followed the same trade.  So by the time of Jesus begins his public ministry (Lk 4:15) he had spent almost 20 years applying his trade.  Of course it is not surprising that his contemporaries found it difficult to relate to him as their saviour, since some of them would have bought Jesus’ products!  Perhaps they had a table, or a door, or some farm implement, that Jesus had crafted for them in their house.  Furthermore, Jesus clearly knew his trade well, since we can see that he uses the metaphor of a wooden yoke, something that a skilled carpenter would have made many times, to illustrate the blessing of living a life under submission to God (see Matt 11:29-30).  As Ed Silvoso rightly points out in Anointed for business, Jesus parables are full of examples that show his understanding of business and the marketplace:  construction (Matt 7:24-27), wine making (Lk 5:37-38), farming (Mk 4:2-20), tending animals (Mt 18:13-44), management and labour (Matt 20:1-16), return on investments (Matt 25:14-30), crop yield (Mk 13:27-32), and management criteria (Lk 12:35-48).

Just as Jesus encountered people with the knowledge of business then, he wishes to encounter you with the knowledge of your daily work today!  Jesus understands the pressures of working with people, the challenge of creating something that one can market and sell in order to earn a livelihood.  Jesus knows how to deal with customers and suppliers, how to manage a workflow and juggle priorities in order to remain in business – he did it for 20 years of his life.  And, the remarkable thing about it is that we’re told that while he did this he continued to grow in wisdom and favour with both God and people!  Jesus understands what it means to be a minister in the marketplace.

Central to Jesus ministry in the marketplace was the understanding that he needed to obey God’s will in order to effectively establish God’s Kingdom on earth.  Notice that Jesus mission statement is very practical, it deals with poverty, health care, criminal reform, debt, justice and God’s loving favour (Lk 4:18-19).

You can read more about Jesus and the workplace in ‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling” you can download the first few chapters here, or purchase a copy of the book at Christian Republic or at Wordsworth and Exclusive books.

Christian republic has a special running – you can get the book for just R88.00 and that includes a free leather type journal.

An overview of ministry in the marketplace

A full video interview about ‘Transform your work life’.

What is God’s purpose for work?
How can you find blessing during your worklife?
How can you transform your workplace without alienating your co-workers and clients?
Does God automatically bless Christians?
Should Christians only work for Christian companies?

These questions, and many more, are discussed. You’ll also get some insights into ministry in the marketplace and being a marketplace minister.

I’d love to hear your perspectives, insights, and ideas on serving Jesus in the ‘9-5 window’! Drop me a, or post a comment below.

Finding joy and blessing at work!

I’m sure that you may have heard about the ‘least reached’ portion of the world called the 10/40 window?  This is a geographical region where there are no Christians, or very few Christians.  For many years churches and Christian ministries have focussed their energy and attention on getting missionaries into those areas to spread the Gospel of Christ.’m sure that you may have heard about the ‘least reached’ portion of the world called the 10/40 window?  This is a geographical region where there are no Christians, or very few Christians.  For many years churches and Christian ministries have focussed their energy and attention on getting missionaries into those areas to spread the Gospel of Christ.

You may be surprised to discover that there is a region much closer to where you are every day that is also classified as an ‘unreached’ group for the Gospel!  I call it the 9 to 5 window!  Of course I am referring to the place where you work each day – the reality is that the work place is one of the least reached and transformed regions of the world. Of course there are many reasons for this.  Some people have come to believe that Christianity is something that belongs to a particular building (your church) or a particular time (Sunday morning).  However, what do you think Jesus meant when he prayed ‘…let your Kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10)?  Of course Jesus wasn’t just praying that God’s Kingdom would be established in a particular place, or at particular times!  Jesus longs to be Lord of both the Church and the Marketplace! So, the question is, who takes responsibility for the establishment of God’s Kingdom where you spend most of your day?  Who is God calling to transform your work place to reflect the values of His Kingdom? Part of the answer can be found in the following verse: ‘go and make disciples of all nations…’ (Matthew 28:20).

Being a disciple of Jesus means that one is disciplined in the ways of Jesus.  Believing in Jesus as saviour is only the beginning (sure it is the most important start that any person could ever make, however it is just the beginning of what God longs for!)  You know I read this verse for many years and never realised that Jesus commands his disciples, and also commands you and me, to go and make disciples of all nations.

I was a Pastor of various Churches for almost 17 years.  As I think back on the teaching, preaching, and courses that I ran in those churches I came to realise that we spent quite a lot of time trying to help people to become disciples of Jesus.  However, we spent very little time trying to disciple those elements that make up a nation! Have you ever considered that God may be calling you to be a minister in the marketplace?  It may just be that God has placed you in the office where you work, among the people that you encounter (co-workers, clients etc.) in order to disciple them, and the systems within which you work, in order to establish His Kingdom on that little bit of earth!

If you were to think about the people and things that you face regularly during your work week, what would God want to change?  Perhaps there is a particular policy in your company that is unethical.  Maybe there is some relationship between your boss and another co-worker that does not reflect Christ’s love.  Maybe there are some decisions that are being made that are unlawful, or hurtful, to your community.  I think God may be calling you to take responsibility for establishing His Kingdom in that place!

Doing this may not be as difficult as you imagine.  In the company where I serve, the Power Group of Companies, transformation began when one employee (a lady named Eleanor) decided to start praying for her bosses and her co-workers.  That was all she did!  Then eventually she got some others to join her in prayer, and from there some key influences and decision makers started changing small little things in the company during meetings and gatherings.

They prayed that God would bless and use their company to transform the industry and reach the nation.  This simple act, by a secretary, eventually led to the conversion of the CEO, Graham Power, who went on the start the largest prayer movement in all recorded history – the Global Day of Prayer. Eleanor took responsibility for her work life and her work place, and through her God was able to reach into and transform one of the least reached places on earth, the 9 to 5 window!

Where is God calling you to take responsibility?