Marketplace Missions Continued
November 27, 2017
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In my previous marketplace mission post, I discussed the need for the church to swing the organizational arm of missions to support the Christian Business Professional to take the gospel to work. Additionally, the church has to change their language to communicate to them about missions in a way they can understand, in a way that will connect the dots. In this post, I will explain why marketplace missions is a natural extension for most of the congregation of a church.
Why marketplace missions?
The Christian business professional can spend about 45-50 hours a week doing work related activities making it easily the place where they spend most of their time. The only way this statement would not be true is if they spent every minute of every hour on the weekend focused on one particular thing. The maximum amount of hours they have on Saturday and Sunday is 48. If you allow them to sleep during that time frame, the maximum amount of time they have in reality is 34 hours. And those hours get chewed up quickly with honey-do lists, and stuff that has been put off during the week. After having spent five days of the grind at work, most of them are looking to unwind to get ready for the next week as the process repeats itself all over again.
Christian business professionals are probably familiar with the saying “I spend more time at work than I do with my own family.” In most cases, this is true, especially if you are looking in the context of quality time. The amount of time spent building and maintaining relationships to function well at their job, and accomplish tasks is extraordinary. Even if relationship building is seen as part of the job, Christian professionals are part of the lives of many who are not saved, through work. These relationships expose them to all sorts of life events where the gospel can play a significant role. Life happens for those at work, and in most cases, those life events are shared at work. Think about the conversations that members of a congregation will have at work that they will not have anywhere else: death in a family, sometimes tragic; heartbreak; disappointment; yearning for something more in life; and happy events with kids. All of this part of the day to day conversations at work.
These interactions are not forced. Christian professionals do not have to go to some social gathering to meet people and start building relationships. ALL of them, have already built these relationships.
Exposing the gospel to different people groups and cultures is critical to all overseas missions group. A new overseas missionary could take years to develop relationships, and become embedded in the culture. Even then they are limited to one culture and one people group. Foreign missions serve a small area where the culture and people group are primarily the same.
Imagine a scenario where a missionary could expose the gospel to numerous people groups and cultures. Imagine a scenario where the missionary has been embedded in this culture for an extended period and has already created the relationships necessary to speak into their lives. Would church leadership be interested in tapping into this great missions opportunity?
The workplace is the great melting pot of social classes and cultures. This can be seen all over the world and is uniquely true in the American workforce. In my current vocation I am exposed to a variety of cultures: African American Youth, Korean, Japanese, and Hispanic. Within these different cultures, I have a variety of social classes which represent different lifestyle choices. The gospel is relevant in all cases.
That being said, delivering the gospel in the workplace is not without challenges. The workplace has become increasingly hostile to Christianity. Learning how to communicate the gospel in a way that is meaningful for the various cultures can be difficult as well. However, I am convinced that if the church focused on marketplace missions in the same manner as they do overseas missions, these hurdles could be overcome. The marketplace represents the low hanging fruit of the harvest, and it happens to represent the place of the largest harvest, especially in America.