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Called to Work: Business as Mission

People in the Workplace

Teacher, lawyer, author, veterinarian, preacher, astronaut, foreign correspondent for an international news agency.

These – and more - were on the list of what I wanted to “be” when I grew up.  With the exception of being a veterinarian or astronaut, I’d like to think my role with The Lausanne Movement allows me to be a bit of all of the above – whether it’s helping “teach” people about Lausanne or reporting on international events taking place within the Movement.

What was on your childhood list of occupations - doctor, banker, scientist, police officer, architect?  As an adult, how close did you come to an occupation on that list?

Regardless of what you now do as a job, why you do it is even more important.  Is the security of an income the motivator, or is it living the call God has placed on your life?    

As we continue to unpack The Cape Town Commitment, this month we’re focusing on Section II, A 3, Truth and the Workplace. 

This section of the Commitment addresses the so-called “sacred-secular divide” which has caused some Christians to segment their lives into “secular work” and “spiritual living”.  The Commitment encourages Christians to instead, “accept and affirm their own daily ministry and mission as being wherever God has called them to work.”  It goes on to “challenge pastors and church leaders to support people in such ministry – in the community and in the workplace – ‘to equip the saints for works of service [ministry]’ - in every part of their lives.”

Some use the term “full-time Christian ministry” to mean the work of pastors, missionaries or people who work in a Christian organization.  Yet the Business as Mission (BAM) movement is challenging the use of that phrase by contending that all Christians – whether they preach, sweep the floor of the local market, or serve as an airline flight attendant – are in “full-time Christian ministry”.   

“Christians in many skills, trades, businesses and professions, can often go to places where traditional church planters and evangelists may not . . . We urge church leaders to understand the strategic impact of ministry in the workplace and to mobilize, equip and send out their church members as missionaries into the workplace, both in their own local communities and in countries that are closed to traditional forms of gospel witness.”  (Section II, A 3, Cape Town Commitment)

In the anchor article of our focus on this issue, Mats Tunehag, Lausanne Senior Associate for Business as Mission, emphasizes that BAM is not a new discovery in the body of Christ but is rather a “rediscovery of Biblical truths and practices”.  BAM, he says, includes three mandates:

  1. Creating (Wisely using the ability God has given us to create good things)
  2. Loving Our Neighbor (Being a creative steward of all God has given us)
  3. Living Out The Great Commission (Glorifying God and making him known among all people)

Mats goes on to ask a few probing questions:

  • Why are Christian business people mainly approached for money and often seen as suspect as they deal with “Mammon”?
  • Why don’t we commission business people on a Sunday morning service to be salt and light in the market place?
  • Why are so few seminaries and Bible colleges providing courses on theology of work and business?

Read Mats article, Business as Mission: A Challenging Rediscovery

Join the conversation on these and other Workplace Ministry questions

Resources are available to help you learn more about this issue, to facilitate evaluating your approach to work, and to assist pastors who want to affirm the work of their congregation:

May God bless you as you put your hands to the work God has called you to today!

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