Multi-ethnic pile of handsThere are no coincidences for God’s children – including the people and businesses He brings together in the Marketplace. Partnering with someone for kingdom purposes requires that we understand that partnership in the full context of God’s eternal purposes. Those purposes are: To restore His reign in the hearts of His children; to reestablish intimate relationship with them; and, to create His habitation in them. Jesus asks for the last of these in His prayer for our unity.

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23

God has a purpose in this for business and ministry partnerships: To overcome the organized church’s past and current failures at unity. Think about it. Jesus has been asking the Father to unify the church for more than 2000 years; yet, there are over 30,000 registered denominations in the United States. We have proven that we cannot make ourselves one; we cannot create the habitation He desires.

Thank God, He can; He is; and He will!! And He is using the Marketplace to do it!

So how do we participate in this great work? First, it is important to recognize all the fellowships to which God has connected us; and to recognize these as opportunities for unity. That includes the ones God has created in the places where we spend most of our waking hours. God has not given the Marketplace over to His enemies. His kingdom has come and must be established there. His Son is using the Marketplace to build His church – through leaders He has planted there.

Building the church is about cooperation, not competition. Interestingly, this is a fundamental marketplace principle. In the Marketplace, a follower of Jesus Christ can pursue partnerships with other Christian organizations – working in unity for the glory of the Father – without engaging in divisive sectarianism. In the process, God will honor our agreement with His Son’s prayer for unity by showing up in the work. And others will be drawn to Him there.

Secondly, we must know with whom God would have us connect. God wants us to understand our part in His grand story. We must ask for and receive that understanding. As always, prayer is the point of beginning. For those who are determined to do His will, that understanding will become a truth that will make them free (of fear, competitiveness, etc.). It will provide a greater opportunity for faith and obedience; and it will empower them to make disciples and transform their spheres of influence.

Lastly, to the point of partnerships, the truth will protect you and others from misguided and unprofitable associations.

Marketplace Ministry Tip: Write down the connections God has established, or may be establishing, in your spheres of influence. For each one, prayerfully consider how God intends to use them to restore His reign, relationship and habitation. That means asking Him with a heart willing to take the partnership where He leads.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, or you believe I can assist your ministry in the Marketplace, contact me at rob@inlightconsulting.com.

Your servant and His forever,