When I was first wrestling with how to live out my faith and have a Kingdom impact, I shared my questions with trusted friends and mentors. Almost all of them said, in different ways, “if you want to do something significant for God, quit your job, go to seminary, and become a pastor.” Well guess what … I didn’t listen. Are you caught in the job vs. ministry trap? Does it have to be “either or” instead of “both and”? Here’s another video from Joe Solomon that asks a similar question.
Ever wonder how God might use a business to be a blessing, a witness, and an agent of the Kingdom? Check out this video from Right Now Media that tells the story of David Green and Hobby Lobby. What can you learn from their experience that could change the way you see or engage your work?
Have you seen the “Trader” video by Brian Mosley from RightNow.org? It introduces a new kind of missionary, a trader, but it’s not what you might be thinking. Check out the video below and see if it challenges some area of your life. Beyond today, beyond the “dream”, and into a life with eternal impact?
I recently read a devotional from WorkLife.org that reminded me of the value of an integrated lifestyle instead of just creating more margin in our lives. Have a look below, and listen for what God has to say to you personally.
“Jesus Christ…is lord of all.” (Acts 10:36)
Whether we’re in the marketplace or not, many of us are desperately seeking to balance our lives. We’re conflicted between the different obligations and priorities in our lives, and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. The often less demanding compartments characterized by love (family life, spiritual life) compete with the more demanding work life compartment. Trying to keep all the balls in the air, we’re in a constant state of fatigue. We’re running in overdrive.
Sensing that our work is infringing too heavily on our personal and spiritual obligations, we’re looking for ways to free up more time to “do more important stuff.” I think all of us in the marketplace have felt at one point or another that our jobs have gotten in the way of things we really value, from attending Johnny’s soccer game to serving in a church ministry to deepening relationships with friends and neighbors.
Indeed, many of us would do well to find a different allocation of our limited time. We need to make sure our lives are balanced—that we’re committing the proper amount of time to each aspect of our lives in which God has called us to serve. But balance alone isn’t enough. A balanced life can still be very compartmentalized.
We also need to make sure our lives are integrated—that we’re thinking of and practicing each aspect of our lives, whether at home, church, or work, as a ministry of serving others to the glory of God. In fact, the key to redeeming more of our time is to integrate, so that all spheres of our life move in the same direction, glorify the same God, and operate under the same values.
Of course, there’s no trade-off between balance and integration. Balance without integration leaves us compartmentalized, while integration without balance leaves us without a sense of priority. We need both.
I came across a devotional by Os Hillman in his “Today God Is First” series, and I thought it was worth passing along here. It speaks to the role the church and marketplace play, together, in transforming our communities. Enjoy.
“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:16-18).
In order to transform a city or nation, it must take place in two areas; the marketplace and the local church. Paul was burdened for Athens when he saw all of the idols in his city. So, he began a strategy to win back his city by preaching in both the synagogue to the religious leaders and Jews and also in the marketplace every day.
The Old Testament records reveal that even at the time of the temple construction it was clear that foundations must be built through the marketplace and the synagogue. “He erected the pillars in the front of the temple, one to the south and one to the north. The one to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz” (Chron 3:15-17). Jakin was a priest of the Lord that represented the spiritual foundation of the Church. Boaz represented the strength of the marketplace and its role to have impact on the society through workplace ministers, or kings.
God is moving today in cities across the world through collaborative coalitions made up of priests, kings and intercessors. This is a city transformation trinity that the Holy Spirit is forming to rid our cities of idols and to restore the spiritual foundations.
When we begin to equip and release those in the workplace to fulfill their godly roles in business, government, media, arts/entertainment, and education we will begin to see the idols in our cities removed. Pray that God raises up Godly workplace leaders who will lead with a biblical worldview.
It’s interesting how the term “bottom line” has evolved over the years. At first, it simply referred to the financial profitability, the final total or account balance. But, it’s also come to be used to mean the ultimate outcome or end result. Whether as a performance measure or a summary goal, the term itself has grown as well. With the rise of corporate social responsibility, people started talking about a “triple bottom line”, which included people, profit, and planet (the social, economic and environmental measures of a company’s success). This has now expanded to a “quadruple” bottom line: people, profit, planet and purpose.
In the business as mission community, I usually hear the quadruple bottom line described as the way our work positively impacts society, provides fair wages and economic opportunities for growth, stewards God’s creation, and addresses the underlying spiritual condition of the people we serve. On one hand, I really like how this concept of a quadruple bottom line helps us to think more holistically about how the Gospel transforms people and societies, especially among the poorest of the poor and least evangelized of the world. But, there’s something about the term that makes me uncomfortable. You see, in practice, I’ve never met anyone who can perfectly balance all four elements and see real fruit across the board. The desire may be there, but reality sets in and things get difficult. There are competing interests, the outcomes may stand in direct conflict with each other, and sometimes they’re even mutually exclusive. So, while it’s good to keep all four in mind, I find that when the pressure is on usually one of the four wins out. As a business coach, the quadruple bottom line is useful to start a conversation or help people consider areas where they may be neglecting or ignoring what is important to God. And, I really wish they could all be true at the same time. But, I find that ultimately people must decide in advance what one factor really drives them. The bottom line is that there’s really only one bottom line. What’s yours?
Someone recently shared with me a podcast by Aaron Atwood with Summit Ministries’ Christian Worldview Thinking series (June 11, 2015). In it, Atwood chats with Warren Smith about his book “Restoring All Things”, which was co-authored with John Stonestreet. The book highlights how God is in the “re” business, working to redeem, renew, and restore the world through the faithful acts of everyday people. Clearly God has called us to join Him in His work. He also wants us to remember not to give up. We need to be asking, “What is missing that I can contribute to? What is evil that I can stop ? What is broken that I can restore?” Listen to the podcast (especially from about 24:30 to the end) and let us know what you think.
In the video below, Tim Keller (founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan) discusses how the Church can transform communities by connecting faith to peoples’ daily work. Watch the video and ask yourself 2 questions: How does this relate to me? What change is God asking me to make in light of this?