Equipping For Marketplace Ministry
If the Church, not the institution, but the ecclesia—the called out ones—is to fulfill her mandate “possess the gates of her enemy and those who hate them” (Genesis 22:17 and 24:60) so she can complete her mission, “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), I believe the following adjustments must take place.
Traditional to Biblical
Our ministry philosophy must change from traditional to biblical. Terms such as clergy, laity, part-time, full-time, called versus uncalled, secular and bi-vocational have all contributed to the inability of the Church to disciple entire nations. God never intended for these divisions and distinctions to exist, especially in light of His desire for the priesthood of all believers as described in Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6.
His desire has always been a Divine partnership for Kingdom expansion, which is made clear in Ephesians. Ephesians 4:1 declares all Christians are called to full-time service as New Testament priests, regardless of where that service takes place. Church leaders are given clear instructions—they must equip their marketplace ministers for the “work of the ministry,” not just in the church building, but more so in the marketplace where God has called them.
CHURCH LEADERS ARE GIVEN CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS—THEY MUST EQUIP THEIR MARKETPLACE MINISTERS FOR THE “WORK OF THE MINISTRY.”
Church Planting to Kingdom Expansion
Our ministry mindset must change from church planting to Kingdom expansion. True church planting is always a by-product of Kingdom expansion in the three entities that form the marketplace and control every nation. They are:
- Businesses that create wealth
- Governments that pass laws to maintain order
- Educational institutions that determine the values and philosophies that business people and government leaders use every day.
Church leaders must teach, develop and send full- time marketplace ministers into these ripe harvest fields with a Kingdom mindset. They must infiltrate with a Divine call, be elevated by Divine favor, and eventually, dominate these controlling entities via their influence as salt and light. Then church leaders have the responsibility to conserve the results of these marketplace ministry efforts.
Our ministry leadership model in every local congregation must include all five ministry gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4. Then one anointed leader provides the opportunity for the other four to operate in a spirit of cooperation, not competition. Excellence must prevail in the teaching, training and execution of these gifts in an atmosphere of love and faith. Many claim the title and office, but the impact of their gift leaves a lot to be desired.
Leadership is not about authority to command, but a passion to serve (Mark 10:45). Great leadership is about influence, not command and control. What you cannot accomplish through relationship and influence will never happen through appointed, elected or positional leadership.
The leadership team must know how to provide strategic leadership, not just management functions. Pastor (the gift) by definition is a manager. The pastoral gift shepherds and cares for the flock. However, someone must know how to create a compelling vision for the future, and that requires a different gift. All management problems are simply indications of previous leadership failures, i.e., the BP oil spill, closed churches and defeated leaders. Only apostolic leadership can address those issues effectively.
If the marketplace is our parish, and if we are commanded to send full-time gospel ministers there to possess the “gates of influence” to make disciples of all nations, then we must understand we cannot manage our way to that goal. The Church must develop strategic leaders who know how to disciple the faithful while developing spirit-empowered marketplace leaders in every generation for business, government and education. Church leaders must seize the moment and inspire those they lead to fulfill these once-in-a-generation opportunities.
THE WORLD IS ALWAYS ONE GENERATION AWAY FROM BEING EVANGELIZED AND DISCIPLED, BUT ONLY WHEN THAT GENERATION SEES THE MARKETPLACE AS THEIR PARISH AND DOES NOT CONFINE THEIR MINISTRY EFFORTS WITHIN THE WALLS OF A LOCAL CHURCH FACILITY.
As Jesus commanded Lazarus to be loosed from his grave clothes, Ephesians 4:11 ministers must loose their Ephesians 4:1 marketplace ministers from the traditions that have long hindered marketplace influence, world evangelism and the ability to disciple nations.
Dr. David Robinson has a Bachelor of Applied Theology from Logos Christian College, Master of Organizational Leadership from Southern Seminary, and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Logos University. He serves on the Board of Regents for Logos University and is an Adjunct Professor in the area of leadership. He is a Certified Trainer for “The Five Languages of Appreciation for the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White. He has authored four books and publishes a monthly e-Leadership article, currently read by 40,000+ people in over 30 nations. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
This article originally appears at Christ For The Nations’s Publication “The Voice” Winter 2017 Edition and is used with permission by the author.