This is the first sermon in our current series, “Monday to Sunday”, August 11, 2019
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Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” In Matthew 28:19-20 it tells us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
You don’t have to worship at Grace Chapel for very long to realize that we’re a bit different in how we fulfill the Great Commission and Great Commandment. Since the beginning of our church we’ve embraced a different thought process when it comes to the everyday life of a Christian. Our faith is not limited to Sundays and Wednesdays for a few hours a week. Even our church campus reflects that reality.
One of the things that has always set us apart is our emphasis and our practice of ministry in the marketplace. I didn’t realize how unique this was until I became more engaged in the now popular and accepted marketplace ministry movement. I recall going to conferences and thinking I was surrounded by people who “got it”. I thought it would be different from years earlier when others in ministry showed indifferent curiosity or even open criticism of our approach to this new ministry.
But when I started sharing what we were doing, even the leadership of those conferences or ministries often looked puzzled. I thought we were speaking the same language, but I quickly realized that a lot of what I was saying got lost in translation. They were speaking what is commonly called, “Sunday to Monday” language, while I was often speaking, “Monday to Sunday” language. Sunday to Monday is what most marketplace ministry books, seminars, materials, and conferences are based on. And it’s great stuff. We speak that language as well.
But at Grace Chapel, something happened as we journeyed from Sunday to Monday. We have always been a church of doers and practitioners, not just thinkers. As James 1:22 reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We asked ourselves, if this idea of ministry in the marketplace is Biblically true, then what are its practical implications?
The Sunday to Monday concept helps people become “Faith Active” at work. It creates business leaders who are looking to the Bible for principles and practices of leadership and management. It helps equip and encourage Christians in business to integrate biblical principles with their daily business practices. It challenges them to grow in Christ and become more like Him as business leaders. It helps people see that they can make a spiritual impact in the places where they spend so much of their time each week. It helps people realize that sharing God’s truth is not just for church staff and missionaries. God expects us to worship Him by being “Faith Active” in every area of our lives. Whether that’s at home, at work, or at school.
If you feel God is leading you into sales, medicine, engineering, teaching in the public schools, or being a stay-at-home mom, and if He has gifted you to do that work, and given you a passion for it, then you should pursue it with all your heart.
My goal in this post is to help you understand the “Monday to Sunday” concept that we use at Grace. I’ll show how it differs from the “Sunday to Monday” approach to marketplace ministry. By doing so, I hope to better equip you for ministry in every area of your life. I also want to show you how those gifts can be applied in a church context. Many in the marketplace ministry arena talk about faith, work, and economics. Most of the time they have the faith and work part nailed down pretty well. But when the conversation moves to economics and how we can use economics to impact the kingdom of God, things start to break down.
I was talking with someone at a conference a few years ago. I asked if he could introduce me to a very successful businessman who had spoken the night before. I explained that we had a technology company and that there may be some areas of mutual interest. He looked confused, and when I tried to explain the concept of Biznistry, he looked even more confused. He said, “So you’re a Pastor who started a business.” I said, “For us, we’re just doing ministry.” He responded, “Oh, you need to watch your language, people in business are doing ministry as well.” To which I replied, “No you’re misunderstanding me. To us it’s all the same.”
I soon realized that my confused friend was speaking “Sunday to Monday” language, and that I was speaking – as we call it at Grace – “Monday to Sunday” language. At Grace Chapel we practice the “Full Circle” concept. It’s a wholistic approach to faith, work, and economics. Full Circle means being faith active at work, but it doesn’t end there. It also means using your God-given marketplace gifts, talents, and abilities in the church to further His Kingdom anywhere.
I realized when I, as a Pastor, asked him to introduce me to the businessman he wasn’t able to blur the lines. Without realizing it, he was using a secular versus sacred mindset. Here at Grace Chapel if it’s not sinful…it’s sacred. I wasn’t thinking that I had to put my business hat on and take my pastor’s hat off. To me it was the same hat.
I remember giving a tour of ORCA about a year ago to a mixed group of business people and vocational ministry people. When I started to describe what we were doing on the campus and the types of businesses we incubated or accelerated, one business woman stopped me and said, “Now, you said you’re a Pastor right?” Monday to Sunday language blurs the lines.
Adam and Eve didn’t wake up in the morning and put on a separate hat when they were tending the garden. They just tended the garden. They worshipped God through their work. They also worshipped him when they walked quietly through the garden with Him, or named the animals, or rested, or ate, or played, or whatever. All of life, if it is lived to the glory of God, is worship.
When I asked to be introduced to the businessman, to me, it was a ministry opportunity. I was fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. I was worshipping God. I was trying to make a business deal that would bring in resources that could be used to invest in the lives of orphans and widows.
Think about it: When you come into church on a Sunday morning, the bathrooms are clean, the landscaping looks beautiful, the CAM team sings and plays, coffee is made, food is served, and teachers are waiting to teach your little angels. After the service, some of us will be praying for others and some of us will be throwing out the garbage. Which of those tasks is NOT worship?
As I said, Sunday to Monday means being faith active at work. Monday to Sunday includes being faith active at work, and then uses those same marketplace gifts, talents, and abilities, within the church, to further the cause of Christ. Sometimes that means starting businesses with that purpose.
Question: Who gave you those gifts, talents and abilities? And why did He give them to you?
Answer…to serve Him, to worship Him.
Our church is going on a mission’s trip to Nigeria in October. We will not be building a church or feeding the hungry. We will be building businesses so the hungry can feed themselves, their children, and their neighbors and have the resources to build their own church.
The fact is that the idea of secular vs. sacred is not a Biblical worldview. Plato came up with that philosophy and the church adopted it. In the Bible things are either sacred or sinful. God created everything. Satan created nothing. He only tries to corrupt what God created.
Psalm 24:1 is clear, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” Genesis says in the beginning God created! All of life is spiritual if you are living out an eternal perspective. Jesus was a carpenter, or some would say a stone mason, for 30 years. Would you consider that work to be secular?
Biblically, anything we do has value in God’s eyes if it’s done to bring Him glory. If the work you’re doing is God honoring, then it’s sacred. The medical field is noble, but so is manufacturing cars. Ask the mom whose child was saved by a seatbelt or an airbag. Teaching Jr. High can be as godly as being on the mission field (and harder) and driving a truck can be as sacred as driving to pick up food for the food pantry.
Now, you may be thinking, “I’ll be honest, my work doesn’t seem as important as being a missionary.” I understand what you’re saying but let me share a few other thoughts. You can have a greater impact on the world if you readjust your thinking. It may help to see God as your CEO. Col. 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” If your desire is to be faith active at work, ask yourself, “How am I viewing my customers, my vendors, my employees? Do I see them through Jesus’ eyes? Do I treat them with dignity, kindness and fairness? How do I relate to my co-workers? Do I encourage the efforts of those around me, even my boss? Do I pray for them or ask them questions about their lives and show a sincere interest in what they share?
It’s important as we move forward that I continue to lay out a clear Biblical foundation for the rest of our discussions. If all of this “Marketplace Ministry” talk is just an idea that some people came up with to be “relevant” or to be “thought leaders” it’s meaningless. We need to realize that Work is Worship when we do it for the glory of God.
Did you know that in the Hebrew, the words for work and worship are often the same? The Hebrew word avad means to serve, but it also means to work and to worship. Work was part of God’s plan for people from the beginning. It was a way for us to express our worship. Remember, work came before the fall not after. We have seen that in the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve.
It’s clear that there is a strong theological foundation for this innovative vision and church model that we are building here at Grace Chapel. So, I will dig even deeper into that theology and its practical application for us all next week.