Have you ever heard a sermon or read articles or books on marketplace ministry or faith at work? If you have, did you feel the message applied to you? For years, I felt Jesus wanted me to serve him in the marketplace. But the majority of sermons, articles and books I have heard or read seem aimed at business leaders, senior executives, or church leaders. Often the content for church leaders aims to help church leaders reach business leaders. I worked for someone else. Was I excluded?
How many leaders?
There are around 128 million full-time workers in the US according to Statista, The Statistics Portal. There are 27 million entrepreneurs – people who are starting a business, whether full-time or part time. Assume each entrepreneur works full time either in their own business or in another business. Then we have 100 million people who work full time and aren’t starting a business.
So the vast majority of us end up cherry-picking faith-at-work content for morsels we can use if we’re not the boss. We hope to apply those messages to our work after we move up the corporate ladder. But until then, we use what we can from each. The teaching is good, but often the application calls for daily activities we can’t perform.
Or we give up on marketplace ministry all together. We decide we can’t look out for others? Besides, we’re not supposed to say anything about our faith any, right?
But Jesus asks all of us to make disciples.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,”Jesus, Matthew 28:19a ESV
The Greek word translated “Go” in Matthew 28:19 can also mean, “as you go.” Jesus commands everyone who follows him to take part. Ministry, or making disciples, isn’t just for the people who “go” somewhere. Wherever we are. Every day we’re around others. As we go, make disciples.
Universal Call to Marketplace Ministry
Jesus says nothing about being in a position of leadership either. Nor does he require that we have discretionary time. Jesus calls everyone to make disciples as we go. He seems to make no distinction. In fact, Paul, in 1 Corinthians expounds on this further.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ESV
Most of the people who initially followed Jesus were poor, or plain people. So whether or not you consider yourself a leader, Jesus’ command is for everyone. We are all asked to make disciples as we go.