When Billy Graham went to heaven several weeks ago I was deeply moved and inspired by his life and legacy, as were most believers. This simple son of a dairy farmer reached more people with the gospel than any other person in recent history, and I got to walk on the planet the same time he did. Amazing…
Billy Graham’s passion and enormous grace on his life to reach people stirred a great move of God in our nation and around the world. All of us probably know at least one person that knows Jesus because of Billy Graham’s messages. Many people are wondering and speculating if we will ever see another person operate at the level of global influence that Billy Graham did.
As I was writing my last Crossroads blog about faith and work, I started thinking about this concept of Marketplace Christianity. When I started digging, I was so happy to find this quote from Billy Graham:
“I believe one of the next great moves of God will happen through the believers in the workplace.”
If Billy Graham said it, I believe it! Revival in the workplace. I like that.
George Barna is a Christian researcher and has predicted that marketplace ministry is the future of the church: “Workplace ministry will be one of the core future innovations in church ministry.”
Jesus and the Marketplace
When you study the life of Jesus, the marketplace movement doesn’t seem futuristic at all. It actually feels more like God’s original plan for spreading the gospel message.
It looks like Jesus spent most of his time there anyway:
- 132 public appearances in the NT and 122 were in the marketplace.
- 52 parables are recorded in the NT and 45 were in the workplace.
- 40 divine interventions are recorded in Acts, 39 are in the marketplace.
Jesus worked in the marketplace until his ministry began at the age of 30. And when he recruited 12 disciples, where did he go? The marketplace. He found men fishing and working on the job and called them to follow Him.
On Mission at Work
Here’s what I know about God: He doesn’t follow (our) protocol and He doesn’t do the exact same thing twice. He’s far more creative than that.
What if instead of wondering who the next Billy Graham is, we just looked in the mirror and looked at ourselves? The same power is within us, we just need to see our life from the right perspective. When we see our workplace as an opportunity to bring hope and life to people that desperately need it, it changes everything.
We can go about our days living with little sense of purpose, or we can carry Jesus into our workplace. We have the choice to live on mission. What if we were more intentional about making that choice every day we go to work?
Maybe the next great move of God everyone is speculating about will take place in cubicles and boardrooms before church pews and altars.
Practical Ways to Live On Mission
- Pray for your coworkers. This is a great starting place! Pray for a burden for your coworkers and ask God to show you how to minister to them. Pray for their families, their needs, health, prosperity, and for the challenges they face.
- Live a life of example. If you aren’t living a life that exemplifies Christ, your “witnessing” could be nauseating. Be respectful of people, especially the bosses you report to. Be wise in your conversations. Everything you do should point people to Jesus.
- Be alert to faith conversations and open doors for discussion. Not everything you talk about needs to be faith-oriented, but if a door opens to talk about your faith and spiritual journey, be ready to go for it! Sharing your story is a great way to bring Jesus into your workplace in a non-threatening way.
- Find common ground with your coworkers and cultivate relationships. Learn more about your coworkers and work until you find something you have in common. Maybe it’s a sport or hobby, or something as silly as a love for a certain kind of food! Showing people you are interested in them and genuinely care for them will prime their hearts to receive the gospel.
- Invite coworkers to church and other events. Don’t pester people about coming to church, PLEASE. But when the opportunity is there, offer a coworker a ride to an event at your church or small group. There’s a fine line between doing this in an authentic way and just being plain weird and annoying. It takes self-awareness to know where you are in the spectrum!