What does marketplace ministry look like? In other words, what does serving God in a business setting look like?
As Christians working in the marketplace, most of our initial responses to these questions likely would depend on what our spiritual gifts are.
Here’s my short answer: Marketplace ministry looks like your spiritual gift (whatever that gift or gift-mix might be).
For example, a Christian with the spiritual gift of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8) would likely say that marketplace ministry means “applying the wisdom of God to specific business situations.” After all, God has given to us the Holy Spirit to lead us “into all truth”, and He has given us his Word, which is full of timeless business wisdom.
A Christian with the spiritual gifts of miracles or healing (1 Cor. 12:9-10) might say that marketplace ministry is about “pursuing supernatural signs and wonders in a business setting.” An organization named, Heaven in Business, trains marketplace Christians in the area of these gifts.
The believer with the spiritual gift of pastoring (Eph. 4:11-14) likely would view it as a calling “to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of my co-workers.” Christian-run marketplace chaplaincy companies, Marketplace Chaplains and Corporate Chaplains of America, provide excellent opportunities for Christians with this spiritual gift to serve the Lord in the marketplace.
Someone with the spiritual gift of evangelism (Eph. 4:11-14) would probably say that marketplace ministry means “sharing the gospel with your co-workers.”
For a Christian with the spiritual gift of intercession (Col. 4:12-13), marketplace ministry would likely mean “interceding before God on behalf of my company, co-workers, clients, etc.” Marketplace ROCK is a consulting service that prays for business executives and their companies while teaching these executives how to intercede on behalf of their companies.
The Christian with the spiritual gift of worship-leading (1 Sam. 16:23) might say that marketplace ministry is about “inviting the presence of God into my workplace and encouraging my fellow believers in business to view their work as sacred worship to God.” The Bible teaches us to do our work “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23), so our work is a primary means by which we worship God.
A believer with the spiritual gift of discernment (1 Cor. 12:10) might view marketplace ministry as “protecting my company from spiritual attacks that might come in the form of bad business partners, bad business deals, etc.” My friend, Paul Williams, has this gift, and he uses it in his business to help companies and government agencies prevent cyber-security breaches.
One with the spiritual gift of apostleship (1 Cor. 12:28) may see marketplace ministry as a mandate “to exercise the authority and dominion of Jesus Christ in business…’for such a time as this.’” Lance Wallnau emphasizes this particular dimension of marketplace ministry, encouraging Christians to “take dominion” on the “Business Mountain,” one of the “Seven Mountains of Cultural Influence.”
The Christian with the spiritual gift of cross-cultural ministry (Rom. 10:15) would likely view business primarily as a platform for “reaching foreign lands with the gospel.” Ken Eldred emphasizes this aspect of marketplace ministry as he finances and builds multi-million-dollar “kingdom businesses” in India and China to transform these nations with the gospel. Organizations such as Business as Mission and Skybridge Community are also dedicated to this mission.
One with the spiritual gift of giving (Rom. 12:8) might say that marketplace ministry is about “meeting people’s needs through creating value in business” and/or “making money to fund the Lord’s work.” Chick-fil-a’s founder, Truett Cathy, used his spiritual gift of giving to donate $68 million to over 700 educational and charitable organizations during his lifetime.
A Christian with the spiritual gift of creativity (Ex. 31:1-11) might see marketplace ministry as a means “to reflect the creativity of our Creator in business.”
In this article, I have mentioned only 11 of the spiritual gifts that God has distributed among millions of Christians working in the marketplace throughout the week. I am aware of at least 12 others.
These gifts are to be used by God’s people primarily in the marketplace. Why? Because that’s where 85% of the Christian workforce spends the majority of our waking hours.
Can you imagine what would happen if every Christian in the marketplace was aware of his/her spiritual gifts and started using them in the workplace daily for the glory of God?
Do you have any of these spiritual gifts mentioned above? If so, how are you using them for the glory of God in the marketplace throughout your work-week? What does marketplace ministry look like for you in your workplace?
Darren Shearer is the founder and CEO of High Bridge Books, host of Theology of Business Podcast and HCU’s Christianity in Business Podcast, and author of three books including, The Marketplace Christian: A Practical Guide to Using Your Spiritual Gifts in Business and Marketing Like