Although the Academy Awards ceremony, The Oscars, is usually an entertaining show for any movie-goer, the ceremony does not exist primarily for the enjoyment of movie-goers. Rather, it is an annual opportunity for the members of the film industry to honor those among their peers who they feel have made the greatest contributions to their industry. Each Academy Award nomination is a vote to shape the culture of the film industry, which then affects the broader cultures of nations.
In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19), not individuals only. Making disciples of nations means helping nations to reflect the glorious image of Jesus. As part of our mandate to disciple entire nations, marketplace Christians are responsible for discipling entire industries, ultimately causing them to reflect the glorious image of Jesus in the marketplace. Business industries wield more control over the overall cultures of nations than any other human institution.
If we don’t disciple our industries, they will be discipled by people who have godless value systems. This is especially true in the United States and Europe where the religion of Secular Humanism currently dominates many industries. Secular Humanism attempts to replace God and His Kingdom with cleverly-marketed, godless worldviews.
How would you describe the prevailing culture of your industry? In other words…
- What are the worldviews of the industry’s leaders?
- What are the ethical norms?
- What gets celebrated in your industry?
- How are the customers treated?
- How is your industry perceived by the public?
- What are the dominant beliefs concerning politics, religion, etc.?
Are you actively shaping the culture of your industry? In other words, how are you helping your industry to reflect the glorious image of Jesus Christ? Here are four steps to discipling your industry.
Step #1 – Apply Your Spiritual Gifts in Your Industry
Your industry needs your spiritual gifts. Your spiritual gifts are channels for the supernatural power of God that is essential for transforming your industry for the glory of God. This is how lasting change can happen, not merely the flaky kind that went “viral” on the internet last year but is now forgotten.
For example, a Christian business professional named Paul Williams uses his gift of discernment in the cyber-security industry, helping businesses and government agencies to defend themselves against cyber-security attacks. His supernatural effectiveness in profiling people and solving complex problems has caused several business leaders and elite government agents to ask him, “What’s your secret?”
When he was asked this question at the end of a training class he led at one of the top government intelligence agencies, he responded, “I am a servant of the most high God…” He went on to share his testimony of how he became a born-again Christian in front of this room full of elite government agents. He then explained to them how the Holy Spirit gives certain “spiritual gifts” to those who are sons and daughters of God. He shared that one of his primary spiritual gifts is discernment, which helps him to glorify God through upholding justice as a cyber-security expert and practitioner.
After he finished sharing his testimony, the entire room erupted in a standing ovation. Individual agents came to him personally to ask more questions about God.
Step #2 – Align Your Spiritual Gifts with Your Industry
Are you passionate about the industry you’re working in currently? If not, it may be the season for a change. Fortunately, your spiritual gifts are transferrable into almost any industry.
For example, let’s say that you love music, and you want to be in the music industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should become a recording artist. One of your dominant gifts may be the gift of administration. If that’s the case, you will probably be most effective in transforming the music industry if you are working in an administrative role within the industry.
Don’t despise the potential impact that can be made by your spiritual gifts in your industry. Your role is vital to the disciple-making operation of the Church in the marketplace.
Step #3 – Love Your Industry
The Apostle Paul wrote, “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Our spiritual gifts are useless for changing our industries for the glory of God unless they are motivated by love for our industries and the people who work within them.
As a few examples, loving our industries requires that we…
- Pray for those operating within our industries (even our competitors)
- Speak life-giving words about our industries
- Learn all we can about our industries
- Make our spiritual gifts fully available to minister to them (instead of reserving them only for our local churches)
- Innovate and challenge those in our industries to improve to serve people better
Step #4 – Partner with Other Christians in Your Industry
Discipling an entire industry is the job of all Christians working in that particular sphere of influence. It cannot be accomplished by one person standing behind a pulpit. The Body of Christ cannot function with only a few of its parts.
Every person and every spiritual gift is essential for discipling industries, which will ultimately result in the discipleship of nations.