When asked to list their top desires for their churches, most pastors list the same things: more people, more finances, and more of the presence of God. As leaders, we all want to see new resources unlocked for Kingdom advancement, increasing relevance in the community, and the spark of revival and reformation that transforms the city.

What if the key to unlocking everything on that list could be found in one often-neglected sphere of influence?

What if we viewed our business community not just as potential financial contributors, but as partners in the advancement of the Kingdom?

What would it look like if you had a robust ministry to the marketplace professionals in YOUR community?

Real-world research

In 2014, I conducted some original research into the state of Christian business leaders and their role in advancing the Kingdom of God. We had 259 respondents from 26 countries.
91 of the respondents self-identified as “champions” of the kingdom business movement. As such, it is likely that they migrated to churches that were more business-friendly than the average church. Within the group of self-identified marketplace champions, we found that:

  1. 42% said my pastor is “only slightly” or “not interested” in Kingdom Business. Where Kingdom Business is defined as “Any intentional or organized effort to advance the concept that business can and should extend the Kingdom of God.”
  2. Only 17% said they are equipped for their vocational calling in their church.
  3. Only 48% reported that their pastor preached at least once (ever) on the subject of work.
  4. When asked what kinds of resources they would find most helpful, business how-to, and kingdom business Bible studies topped the list.

I believe that champions in the marketplace exist in every community and nearly every church. These Christian leaders are actively engaged in what they see as a Kingdom business movement. As a pastor, you want to cultivate and invest in these people. Among other things, Marketplace Champions are significantly more likely than other believers to give generously, pray, study their Bible and reach out evangelistically.

Increasing Relevance

Millennials are 23-38 years old this year, and most churches are struggling to reach them. In research conducted by the Barna Group among millennials who grew up in church, 6 in 10 dropped out at some point, and 35% say that Church “Is not relevant to me.”

I believe that relevance does not include compromising biblical truth, having a fancy light show, or turning up the volume on Christian consumer culture. Barna’s research actually shows that Millennials are suspicious of the intersection of Church and consumer culture.

But I do believe that relevance is having a compelling word from God on the issues of our lives and times. This includes having a way to affirm, equip and empower our congregations to fulfill their calling to Christ in the marketplace. From small business owners, to corporate executives, to entrepreneurs and investors, every believer has a part to play as God builds His kingdom here on earth.

As we pastor our congregations, let’s not stop at simply being “business-friendly.” Let’s keep going until we are “business champions!”

 


Jason Benedict is an entrepreneur owner, management consultant, minister of Jesus. He teaches Marketplace Ministry through The Greenhouse Church, his equipping seminar for champions of Kingdom business. Jason has been a member of The Fellowship Network since 1991.