By Matthew Tucker
There is no question that the Treasure Valley is growing. Record growth and rapid expansion have been recorded and discussed significantly in our area over the past few years. However, what many may have missed is that with great growth comes great opportunity for evangelism and ministry. It is not just homebuyers that have flooded into our community, but also new businesses and, with that, new marketplace ministers.
Marketplace ministry is a term that is commonly used to describe those who work in the marketplace, but who also view their presence there as a context to impact others with the gospel. The notion of living out our faith at work is certainly not new, but the recent focus on redeeming our work by increasing our intentionality within the context of work has been gaining steam, especially here in the Treasure Valley.
Before his death in 2018, the great American evangelist and pastor, Billy Graham, said, “I believe one of the next great moves of God will happen through the believers in the workplace.” George Barna, the well-known Christian researcher, has predicted that the future of the church’s creativity and focus will be centered around marketplace ministry: “Workplace ministry will be one of the core future innovations in church ministry.”
The exciting reality is that there seems to be a resurgence of intentionality to take seriously Jesus’ commands to spread the gospel message everywhere we go…especially our places of work. This is important because a careful study of Jesus’ life and ministry finds that He cared deeply about the marketplace. Os Hillman, in his study on “Work in the Gospels”, points out that “…of Jesus’ 132 public appearances in the New Testament, 122 were in the workplace. Of the 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context.” Consider also that when Jesus went to seek the 12 disciples, He went, you guessed it, to the marketplace.
Hillman also notes, “Work, in its different forms, is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, more than all the words used to express worship, music, praise, and singing combined.” Clearly, work matters to God, and Jesus spent most of his time in the marketplace. It is hard to miss the fact that God sees no distinction between our work and our faith.
We are all called to marketplace ministry, but I have a special place in my heart for those who are called to lead companies within the marketplace. I’ve had the opportunity through my role as a C12 Forum Chair to meet with and talk to dozens of Christian CEO’s and business owners throughout our state.
C12 Forums are roundtables for business owners and chief executives. The conversations with these Christian business leaders should leave all of us encouraged and hopeful for what God is doing in the marketplace within the Treasure Valley. There are men and women called to lead countless businesses who view their role seriously as both a Christian and a business leader. This calling is incredibly challenging. I have heard of the many legal and social challenges to living boldly for Jesus in the marketplace, as well as the practical burden of implementing one’s faith into solid business practices. The reality is that business leadership can be lonely by nature, and even more so if we also embrace the calling of marketplace ministry. This is where the mission of C12 Forums was born.
Business leaders who participate in a C12 Forum meet monthly to receive training, support and encouragement from peers, and built-in structure to ensure what is most important in their business and personal growth gets done. They gain tools to steward both the resources, and the people, God has entrusted to them, to make an eternal impact in the community that we call home. They do this by building great businesses, for a greater purpose.
If you are business owner or CEO who wants to grow your impact, consider learning more about the power of a Christian business forum like C12 Boise.
For the rest of us, we must ask ourselves often how God can use us in the context in which we find ourselves. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your workplace witness, your influence on your neighbors, or Christ’s love shown to those around you. I would encourage each of us to view every context we find ourselves in as a context for God to use us, especially our work. And lastly, I would ask that you pray for those in marketplace ministry leadership.
God is at work in the marketplace in Idaho, and Jesus loves the marketplace.
Matthew Tucker has spent 10 years in pastoral ministry and 11 years in business leadership, including in sales management and as a general manager and CEO. His personal mission and passion is to “leave hearts in better shape than he found them.” He is currently serving as a C12 Forum Chair in Boise. He and his wife Candice are blessed with 3 incredible sons: Timothy, Trace and Agezu.