Are you being called to leave the market place and minister through a charity, nonprofit, a ministry or to the church?
All these options are noble out workings of how you can live out your calling.
I am seeing many people change between these two realms at the moment. For example, many who have been in the market place for a lot of years are moving towards teaching, leading and equipping ‘the church’ in various ways (myself included). Many of us have been in leadership in the market place for years and years and are feeling God is calling us to minister to and equip the church. Also I am seeing many Christians who have little experience of the market place get a real desire to go work in it.
It’s like musical chairs, where everyone is shifting positions waiting for the music to stop and then finding a completely different seat to sit on.
For many years being in business has not been seen as ‘ministry’. I see so many solid business leaders walk out their faith day by day in the market place, working through how to bring kingdom values there and how to shine, having so many opportunities to speak to people about their faith and how it brings them peace, direction and wisdom like no other. Often these people are not recognized in church settings as true spiritual leaders, people with an incredible wisdom anointing. Often attitudes and actions within the church do not fully support business leaders, for example when does a church typically offer a commissioning to send someone out to set up a business in the same way that they would a pastor or full time Christian worker? My title is deliberatively provocative because business is ministry.
How is business ministry?
First and foremost, for any of you that have not thought about this; – Business, which when you break it down says ‘busy’ ‘ness’, involves day by day hundreds of decisions, interactions with people, leadership, growth strategies, organisation and much more. The way in which you do all these things speaks volumes. It is a real life, concentrated arena to demonstrate, for example, kindness in the way you treat employees and customers, integrity in not only your treatment of people but the business ethics you choose to adopt. How and whether you choose to rest and participate in a Sabbath, speaks volumes to a crazy performance driven world. Your attitude towards making money, being comfortable with abundance and stewarding it well, brings a new perspective to materialistic and hedonistic responses to handling money. Then there is the countless opportunities to meet, serve, love and speak to all the people that come in contact with you and your business.
How God uses the market place to prepare and teach us
If you are in business or called to go into business you are in very good company. From the time Paul met Jesus on the road to Damacus to the time he was commissioned into his role as apostle there was a period of about 17 years. There is not much we are told about this, except that he went back to his home town and we know he had a business making tents. God was preparing him for his role as apostle. Jesus himself was a carpenter in the family business for many years, until God released him into his ministry. (More years in fact that he was ‘ministering’) Many other Biblical characters spent years and years in business and most spent a lot of time in a totally different realm to that which they ended up in ultimately to fulfill their calling. It’s called ‘outside preparation’ and at least 90% of the Biblical characters we read about experienced this. So your ultimate call is very likely to be outside of where you may have spent years and years! Many of you may have already made a shift. God has different ideas in how he prepares us and he does not do it in the ways we may imagine!
Isaiah 55:8 – “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
What am I called to do?
Your calling is not just about what you are called to do. You have a ‘being calling’ and a ‘doing calling’. Your job title is even more temporal that you’re lifelong ‘doing calling’. It’s simply a particular role and title that works in a particular season as a container to allow you to out play your particular gifting, strengths, skills and your ‘being calling’. Your being calling is how you are called to live out and embody Christ in whatever you do. Your being calling includes your character, and how you are able to embody Christ on earth, which comes from your experience and journey with him, the areas you have overcome, the places where He has encountered you the most.
So don’t be afraid to embrace a change and know that you have been prepared but not in the way you may expect!