7 Reasons Why the Marketplace Is a Great Place for Christians

7 Reasons Why the Marketplace Is a Great Place for Christians

If God has called you into business, please don’t wish you were called somewhere else. The marketplace is a great place for Christians right now. Here’s why:

Reason #1: Almost all non-Christians are in the marketplace.

Today, less than 20% of Americans attend church regularly. In many European countries, the percentages are much lower. At the current rate, regular church attendance is projected to drop to 11.7% by 2050.

The good news is that these people who aren’t attending church will still be waking up to go to work alongside their Christian co-workers in the marketplace each morning.

Reason #2: Almost all Christians are in the marketplace.

At least 85% of the Christian workforce spends 60-70% of their waking hours in the marketplace. In addition to serving our families and our local churches, the marketplace is the primary context in which our spiritual gifts should be used. The ministry potential for Christians using their spiritual gifts collaboratively in the marketplace is astounding!

(In case you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, my forthcoming book will include a spiritual gifts assessment as well as teaching on how you can use your unique gifts for ministry in the marketplace.)

Reason #3: Discipleship actually can happen in the marketplace.

Church leaders often are criticized for the lack of discipleship and spiritual growth among their congregations. Let’s give our pastors a break. How much discipleship actually can happen during a two-hour church service on Sunday?

Discipleship—that is, becoming more like Jesus—happens in everyday life. Yes, discipleship can happen anywhere… even during a two-hour, lecture-style event on Sunday. However, the potential for discipleship and ministry investment in a weekly service is a fraction of what is possible during an entire work-week spent with our co-workers, clients, etc.

Reason #4: The marketplace is a more authentic showroom of Christianity.

If you were shopping for a car, you’d probably go to a showroom. Before you bought anything, you’d probably want to see if the car actually functions properly on the road. You might even ask the dealer to allow you to take the car home for a day or two to test it out.

The local church is like the showroom for Christianity. The marketplace is the test drive. The marketplace is where our unbelieving co-workers get to see if they really want what we have. Daily, they see how we react under pressure. They see how we treat people. They see how much God truly matters to us in our daily lives.

As mentioned in “Reason #1,” most people aren’t even coming to the “showroom” anymore, so marketplace Christians are now serving as both the showroom and the test drive of Christianity.

Reason #5: The marketplace forces the Church to use all of its capabilities.

Personality-driven and super-pastor Christianity doesn’t work in the marketplace. Having a bunch of Christians sitting on the sidelines of ministry may not prevent a local church from increasing numerically, but it won’t transform the marketplace for the glory of God.

So far, most of the teaching about “marketplace ministry” has been defining marketplace ministry without regard for people’s unique spiritual gifts. For example, if I have an apostolic gift, of course I’m going to view marketplace ministry as a mandate to “ascend and take the Business Mountain for God” (see 7 Mountains). If I have a pastoral gift (i.e. marketplace chaplains), of course I’m going to view marketplace ministry as a calling to “care for the personal needs of my employees and/or co-workers.”

We need to approach marketplace ministry in a way that leverages the spiritual gifts of all Christians in the marketplace. The “one-size-fits-all” approach only produces self-condemnation and ineffectiveness for marketplace Christians attempting to operate outside of their God-given spiritual gifts.

Reason #6: Denominational divisions are less-destructive in the marketplace.

We can choose whether to attend a Baptist Church, Pentecostal-Charismatic Church, Presbyterian Church, a Non-Denominational Church, etc… but most of us don’t have the luxury of co-working only with Christians with whom we agree theologically. The marketplace has a way of diluting some of these differences. This opens the door to collaborative ministry beyond the walls of our local churches and traditions.

Reason #7: Everything gets funded from the marketplace.

All money comes from value that has been created in the marketplace, and business professionals ultimately decide what gets funded. These business professionals need to know God and His plan for their lives in order to make righteous decisions concerning money.

Although business is often thought of only as the economic engine of the Church, I hope that we will begin to see and realize its full potential for transforming society for the glory of God.

Discussion: In addition to these seven reasons, what is another reason why God is mobilizing Christian business professionals for ministry in the marketplace?

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  • Dr. Bob Shearer

    #8. Because that’s where Jesus did most of His ministry. He was and is the “Master Marketer”.

    • Darren Shearer

      Verily, verily!

  • drjimharris

    Outstanding insights Darren. Perhaps #9 could be: Jesus was an entrepreneur 5x longer than a preacher. Was certainly helping his father as a carpenter by the age of 15, then ministry begins at 30, so a minimum of 15 years in business. No wonder he shared so many parables about talents and profit and the marketplace – he knew it so well!

    • Darren Shearer

      Indeed, he did! I wonder if Jesus did any for-profit carpentry after 30… Either way, he did almost all of his ministry in the marketplace.

  • Gdirect

    Great stuff & well done! The Marketplace is our Mission Field. After all, the Marketplace is our greatest opportunity, as Christians, to reach the unbeliever, seeker or unchurched with the Love of Christ.

  • Great stuff! The Marketplace is our Mission Field. After all, the Marketplace is our greatest opportunity, as Christians, to reach millions of unbelievers, seekers and the unchurched with the Love of Christ.

    • Darren Shearer

      I completely agree!

    • Tim

      I agree

  • I like Dr. Jim’s point about Jesus. Personally, I haven’t thought this deeply about why I am a christian businessman. At first, it was all about trying to make enough the pay the bills. But as the money part sorted out, I started noticing the impact my personal ministry was having on my customers and the people around me. Just treating people with respect and delivering quality, on time… that’s been opening up doors that would be closed to others.

    • Darren Shearer

      Ken, great point about getting “the money part sorted out.” I believe that going through that process of learning how to get paid for creating value in the marketplace is essential for discipling people in the marketplace. Without that common bond and struggle, it would be difficult to connect with people who don’t get paid via donations. I think that’s one of the things that made the Apostle Paul so effective in his ministry. By the way, @drjimharris:disqus has some great resources for marketplace Christians over at http://www.ToAHigherLevel.com. He is one of our fellow High Bridge Books authors.

    • David S Battle

      I never thought of being called into business as a divine calling. I was like you, Ken. But, some do not receive their call until later in life.

      As an expedite courier, I have been used of God to indirectly save people’s lives by delivering critical medical supplies and/or equipment, curtailing actual or potential business losses by delivering technological and/or machine parts, as well as aviation-related parts.

      Being an expedite courier is certainly ministerial in nature. It reminds me of how the angels work behind the scenes. Transportation works in a similar fashion.

      David Battle
      Owner
      Movement Missions Critical Courier LLC
      9445 Indianapolis Boulevard #141
      Highland, IN 46322
      Phone: 312-550-0579
      Email: movementmissionscc@gmail.com

      • Darren Shearer

        Being a former logistics officer in the US Air Force, I love what you are doing… and especially the way you’ve framed it in view of your ministry calling! Awesome!

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  • This is so good! I just found your website because I’m on Os Hillman’s email list, and he sent a link to download your interview with him. This is the first article of yours I’ve read, and I’m looking forward to more. I’ve spent the past 21 years at home with my children, homeschooling and in church ministry. I’m now back in the marketplace and it’s great to have resources like your site.

    • Darren Shearer

      Welcome to my blog, Sharon! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this article! Keep up the great work for Jesus in the marketplace! I’m looking forward to hearing more from you…

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