One of the things that I love about what I get to do in my life is serve, connect, and work alongside people of all different backgrounds, religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, and nationality. I’m on a senior management team at one of the largest youth serving non-profit organizations in my community. I’m also a pastor and itinerant minister. By the end of this year, we will have reached 26 nations around the world ministering and advancing the Gospel message. I love working in the marketplace and growing the bottom line. I also love preaching the gospel, sending mission groups around the world, and building the local church by advancing God’s Kingdom locally and in other nations. I love working with people in the marketplace who do not know Jesus. I also love working with pastors to help build their vision to serve their local community. I guess what you could call me is a Marketplace Pastor. Because of how God has positioned my work to overlap the marketplace and ministry – I have discovered two things about people who I interact with in the marketplace:
- People are truly hungry and seeking more out of life
- People are religiously confused about who Jesus is
Believe it or not, there are so many people who are hungry for something deeper and who want more out of life. With everything that has happened in our nation over the last decade and even this last year, people are truly open to the Gospel like never before. America is the greatest mission field for harvest. My greatest pulpit is not at any particular church, but it’s my success within the marketplace, which becomes a platform to influence others. The 2nd point is the most interesting. Because religion works overtime to confuse and misrepresent the purity and simplicity of the Gospel message. There are so many people who are sincerely confused and/or misinformed about the person of Jesus and what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus. If I had to drill it down, people are missing who Jesus is because of four reasons, and when I say people, I’m speaking of people who are far from God or (unchurched) and people who would call themselves Christians (churched):
1. Poor Christian representation – people who have been hurt by other Christians and churches
2. Poor Christian media representation – people who have been turned off by weird Christian TV preachers
3. Other Religious/Cultish views and opinions brought by inaccurate interpretations of the Bible. – People who are very intelligent sometimes miss the simplicity of the Gospel and begin to be influenced by something that is a false religion or false teaching
4. A lack of empowerment on how to grow and disciple people in their faith – What I see right now for the 21st Century American Church is a strong ability of knowing how to build and grow crowds, but a lack of ability on how to build and grow people in their faith and in their purpose. (Another blog on this later.)
This mission of the church is to make disciples in every nation (Matthew 28:18-19). We are not called to make fans of Jesus, but to make disciples of Jesus.
The greatest churches that will be rising up in this next decade will be those that know how to strategically reach new people, grow people, and send people. Right now in America, you are seeing churches that only do 1 of the 3 very well. The church is called to do all three, at the same time, in harmony – reach people, grow people, and send people. A church that doesn’t reach new people, is a club. A church that doesn’t grow their people, doesn’t influence their community. And a church that doesn’t send people, is typically led by an insecure leader.
Wherever God has placed you in this season whether in the marketplace or in full-time ministry – be a person who adds value to others by growing people in their faith and in their purpose. Discipleship always precedes influence. The reason why are mission is to disciple nations is because God wants His church to lead and influence every circle of industry and society.
Influence and lead where you are at and watch God expand your world.