For too long, Christians in the workplace have seen themselves as playing the role of the supporting character, rather than the lead, in the great drama of world evangelization.
The question of what role ‘lay’ Christians should play in ministry and missions has been with the Lausanne Movement from the very start. In 1974 at the First International Congress on World Evangelization, a Dallas businessman named Ford Madison gave an evening talk during which he asked this pointed question: ‘Let me ask you who are Christian leaders, what do you want from us? What do you want from common, ordinary believers? Does the non-professional layman fit anywhere into your planning for world evangelism?’
The reverberating answer to his question over the decades has been increasingly yes—and critically so. Leaders of missions and ministry are coming to see that the ‘non-professional layman’ does not play a marginal role in world evangelism, but a starring one. Billy Graham himself prophetically once said, ‘I believe that one of the next great moves of God is going to be through believers in the workplace.’
That ‘great move of God’ is happening now—all over the world, in cubicles and homes, from pasturelands to bustling cities, Christians in every occupation are awakening to the call that missions happens through everyone to everywhere. May it be so all the more!
This month we celebrate the first anniversary of the Lausanne Global Workplace Forum (GWF), which represented one significant stride forward for this burgeoning faith-at-work movement. 900 participants from 110 countries, 65% of which were Christians whose primary place of work is outside of churches or ministry organizations, gathered last year in Manila with three goals: 1) energize the global workplace movement, 2) equip participants with the right tools and resources and 3) engage the global church in workplace ministry.
We give thanks to God that this first year since GWF has been full of much fruit. First, a new Workplace Ministry Advisory Board of over 65 faith-at-work leaders was recently established to steward and propel the movement launched at GWF. The board members are from over 20 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa. Among the members are leaders from some of the world’s most influential companies like Apple, Johnson and Johnson, WhatsApp, and Google. They are authors, scientists, entrepreneurs, architects, homemakers, software engineers, professors, and managers. They are from countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Japan, UK, Kyrgyzstan, India, Australia, Jamaica, Canada, Russia, Benin, Cameroon, and Malaysia. In other words, it is a truly Lausanne-style board. We are expecting God to do great things and are preparing for collaborative regional and local impact through quarterly calls, working groups on various priority areas, and smaller gatherings.
An important goal of GWF was to equip and engage both participants and the global church in workplace ministry. To that end, a new Lausanne Global Classroom episode on Workplace Ministry is now available. We hope it will be used to equip and inform the global church toward furthering the integration of faith and work. Filmed during GWF, the episode features perspectives and expertise of key workplace leaders from around the world and includes an adaptable User Guide, with small group discussion questions, an academic syllabus, and a comprehensive list of resources, many of which are authored by our Workplace Ministry Advisory Board Members.
In addition, 29 session videos from GWF are now available online. Revisit and share your favorite talks and moments, or watch for the first time and see why this gathering was so impactful.
Change, motivation, and sustained passion come from time spent at the feet of the Lord. For this reason I am especially excited to highlight a new devotional series based on the book of Daniel, adapted from GWF plenary sessions, which are now available on the YouVersion Bible app. As you spend time with these devotional plans in the presence of the Lord, may he guide you to a renewed and reinvigorated vision of ministry in the workplace.
One of the key pillars of the Lausanne Movement’s vision is kingdom impact in every sphere of society. We are living in an exciting age where this impact is becoming an increasing and ever-brightening reality, punctuated and accelerated through gatherings like GWF. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our workplaces face many unprecedented challenges as well as many new opportunities. The question of how we can equip every believer in every workplace to live and serve as full-time servants of Jesus is more pressing than ever before. It is an opportune time, in the words of Billy Graham, to ‘Let the Earth Hear His Voice’.
It is with this hope that I wait with great expectation to witness the stories—starring believers from every workplace—that will be told in the coming days.
Pray with Us
I thank you for our lives and the unique ways you have gifted us. Our desire is to honor you at work and by doing excellent work, with this thought always in mind, Soli Deo Gloria, ‘Glory to God alone’. May we always revere Christ as Lord and be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have.