May 25, 2018


The marketplace – the combination of business, education and government – is to a metropolis what the heart is to the human body. Through these three arteries flows the life of a city. A city cannot exist without a marketplace in the same fashion that a body cannot live without a heart. Through ages, cultures around the world have fashioned their own versions of the marketplace, but they always included these seven basic components that were found around the downtown area in my hometown: business, education and government media religion, family. The Marketplace and the Early Church Christians made the marketplace the focal point of their ministry because their occupations regularly took them there. As they conducted business, it was natural for them to present the gospel to the people they encountered. Marketplace people played a vital role in the emergence, establishment and expansion of the Early Church – in fact, most of Jesus’ followers remained in full-time business while simultaneously conducting full-time ministry. This was possible because they saw the marketplace as their parish and their business as a pulpit. To them witnessing was not an occasional activity but a lifestyle. The book of Acts unfolds the story of believers who did more than tell people about Jesus in the marketplace. They also witnessed a steady stream of signs and wonders. In fact, only one of the 40 extraordinary manifestations of God’s power recorded in Acts happened in a religious venue: the healing of the lame man at the temple gate called Beautiful (see Acts 3:1-11). Most of these spiritual wonders were facilitated by people such as Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, who as ministry and business partners are classic examples of marketplace Christians (see Acts 18:1-3).Generals, not Privates Today millions of men and women are similarly called to full-time ministry in business, education and government etc – the marketplace. These men and women work as stock brokers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, farmers, chief operating officers, news reporters, teachers, police officers, plumbers, factory foremen, receptionists, cooks and much more. Some of them have great influence on mainstream society, others are unsung heroes with low profiles, but each of them has been divinely called to bring the kingdom of God to the heart of the city. Unfortunately many of these marketplace Christians feel like second-class citizens when compared to people who serve full-time in a church or missionary context. This should not be the case. No matter the occupations, Christians who work at secular jobs need to know that they are not perpetual privates in God’s army just because they have not gone to seminary. They need to discover that they have the potential to become full-fledged generals whose ministry is in the heart of the city, instead of inside a religious building. It is imperative that they realize that not only is it OK to do ministry in the marketplace, but that God has explicitly called them and anointed them for it.