Thursday, July 12, 2012

business as ministry?

I'm super excited that next week is the Lausanne Consultation for Younger North American Leaders.  120 of us are getting together to discuss the Lausanne Covenant and the Cape Town Commitment.  We'll be splitting up into smaller working groups and discussing some of the major ideas in the Commitment.  The working group I'm assigned to is all about ministry in the marketplace.

I'm pretty passionate about this idea as I have seen over the course of the last few years that people aren't falling all over themselves to enter the church doors.  And there seems to be a huge disconnect between the church and the rest of the world.  At the same time, there are tons of people who go to church and who love Jesus who are also planted in the rest of the world doing the regular work thing that most people do.  The percentage of pastors and "ministers" is small compared to the number of people out there.  And although pastors can have a really important place in society, there is nothing that compares to the potential that exists for lay ministers make the gospel accessible and relateable to the rest of the world.

So my primary thoughts these last years as I've accepted my own calling to be in the world as a criminal defense attorney has been how to take what I'm learning about approach and strategy and struggle to other lay people who have a heart to minister to their co-workers and friends.  I'd love to see so much more dialogue about what struggles we have and how we're seeing God work.  I've found a dearth of community out there to discuss my own experiences with, and I've been kind of blindly feeling my way along.  One of my visions for this blog has been to allow this to be a place where at least some of those questions can be asked about and discussed.

So as I was reading the Cape Town Commitment, I was drawn to the part where they talk about marketplace ministry.  I also read one of papers that was written in preparation for that meeting that was all about marketplace ministry.  And it challenged me to begin to think about marketplace ministry in a different way.  It challenged me to think about creating a business environment that reflects the values of the gospel so as to invite people--workers, clients, etc--into that environment to experience the fruit of the Spirit before ever inviting them to meet Jesus.

I've really been thinking about this and have begun to ask God if that's something that he wants of me.  Am I uniquely and strategically placed to create a law firm that would be a different kind of law firm?  Could I or should I start to plan on inviting other people in to join me in this strangely-valued practice that is bringing me such joy and fulfillment?  Is that a way that God could use me to bring blessing to the world?

I don't know.  But I'm looking forward to speaking with others next week about what they've experienced and how they've seen the power of the Gospel and the Spirit penetrating their work environment, and I'm excited to ask God to show me whether he's longing to use me in that way.

So my question for you today is, have you ever been a part of a business or work environment that, although not employing all Christ-followers still brings the Shalom and Spirit of Christ to the world?  What was that like?  What were some of the challenges?  I'd love to hear...


  1. Hi, Anna. Found this post via a google alert (for "business as ministry"). Chris Brooks is a friend of mine who is in your group of 120. It would be great to connect more on business as ministry. My org, Partners Worldwide, has a vision for "business as ministry for a world without poverty." We are here: In another Lausanne circle, the Business as Mission Global Think Tank, there is North America Regional Working Group that is consulting together on these issues. I'd be glad to share more with you about that, too.

  2. Rudy,
    Thanks for your comment! I'd love to connect with you further! I'll check in at your website and see what points of connection we might be able to make.