Multi-ethnic pile of handsMarketplace Ministry is ministry in the marketplace. Simple enough, right? Let’s be sure; for to understand the full breadth of Marketplace Ministry, and impact a leader there can have, we must have God’s perspective on ministry.

If you asked ten people, “What is ‘ministry’?”, you would likely get ten different answers. Most would focus on the religion field (e.g., pastor, evangelist, elder, deacon); and most would assume some type of religious degree. Not surprising, given the world’s definitions; like this one:

Ministry: The service, functions, or profession of a minister of religion; the body or class of ministers of religion, clergy (http://www.dictionary.com).

This definition is not wrong; it’s just not complete. More importantly, it’s confining; just what our greatest enemy would have us believe. Could it be that we have fallen for the same deception – that “Marketplace” and “Ministry” don’t mix? I think we are smarter than that, so let’s look a bit further. 

Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age… and he was teaching in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Luke 3:23; 4:15

Jesus began his ministry teaching in the synagogue. Do you teach (or serve in some other way) in your local fellowship? If so, then you are follower of Jesus. So, let’s keep following and see where He goes.

38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them. 40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Luke 4:38-41

Would you follow Jesus into the house of a friend’s mother-in-law? Would you minister there? Of course you would; you are a follower of Jesus.

It’s a bit of a side note, but I want you to see that Jesus’ ministry encouraged/empowered ministry from those around Him – particularly those to whom He had ministered. Has He ministered to you?

Moving on, where does Jesus go from next?

1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. Luke 5:1-3

Jesus goes to the local marina/fish market? Would you follow Him there? Why not? It was there that He recruited a few of His first disciples.

I could go on: Cleansing a leper in the street; forgiving and healing a paralytic in someone else’s home; recruiting a disciple in the tax office. Of the 132 appearances of Jesus, 122 were in the Marketplace. 45 of His 52 parables have a workplace context. “Ministry” to Jesus was not confined to the religious field. Jesus ministered where people spent most of their waking hours – in the Marketplace.

And let’s not forget, Jesus was a carpenter. Neither He, nor any of His first twelve disciples, had degrees from the local synagogue college. They were all men of the Marketplace.

Now that we have established that “ministry” is not confined to our church fellowships and their campuses, let’s look closer at the Biblical meaning of the word; and a few more examples of its reference in Scripture.

Ministry(diakonia): Service, ministering, especially of those who execute the commands of others; of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote religion among men; the ministration of those who render to others the offices of Christian affection esp. those who help meet needs by either collecting or distributing of charities. http://www.blueletterbible.org

Ministry, in its broadest sense, is service to others. It is not constrained by place, position or degree. Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” As His followers, we must adopt the same attitude. Are you willing to follow Him?

11 And He Himself (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… Ephesians 4:11-13

Look carefully and you will see that the “work of ministry” is to be done by the saints – the followers – every follower – of Jesus Christ.

And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17

Like Archippus, we all need to be encouraged and empowered from time to time. My hope and prayer is that you are being encouraged to fulfill your ministry in the Marketplace. Please let me know if I can be of assistance. Pass this on to others that might respond to the Father’s encouragement.

Humbly yours and forever His,

NOTE:  Click here to continue to Part 3 of this series.