Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Salt at Work in the Marketplace

Bob Briner –

We have created a phenomenal subculture with our own media, entertainment, educational system, and political hierarchy so that we have the sense that we’re doing a lot.  But what we’ve really done is create a ghetto that is easily dismissed by the rest of society.  If you don’t believe me, try this:  Go into your office or place of business and ask how many of your colleagues understand the doctrine of inerrancy, or know what the apostle Paul meant with the word kephale, or whether the rapture will come before, after, or during the tribulation.  Sound silly?  Perhaps, but those are the issues we Christians are spending so much time and energy on.  These things may be important to us (or at least to our leaders), but they aren’t important to the rest of the world.  Real people with real problems — your neighbors and mine — just don’t care about the things we argue and fight about. What’s more, they see us arguing and fighting and decide they don’t need what we have.

I’m afraid many in the world view us as a flock of lambs grazing in the safe pastures surrounding our churches that have been designed to blend right in with the neighborhood landscape.  We’re good neighbors.  We look like everyone else.  And except for Sunday morning, we follow the same patterns of behavior as those who have little or no interest in religion.  Our lives are divided into sections labeled religious and secular, and neither category seems to affect the other. Consequently, our religious views are not taken very seriously.


I need to make sure
my professional behavior
is stellar.
I need to make
the best presentations,
close the
most successful deals,
deliver the
greatest product
I possibly can.
To them, my work
is a reflection of
who I am.
It makes no difference
to them if I’m a Christian,
Buddhist or atheist,
as long as I’m competent.
.. If anything, they are the
most spiritually
hungry people
I’ve ever met


I have a number of friends in network television, the business community, newspaper journalism, and the arts, and I’ve learned two things about them.  First, they have little to do with Christianity, but second they are consumed by their pursuit of success.  What this has told me is that if I want to reach them with the Gospel, the worst thing I could do is invite them to church or “witness” to them during a break in a board meeting.  On the other hand, if I want to point them toward the Savior, I need to make sure my professional behavior is stellar.  I need to make the best presentations, close the most successful deals, deliver the greatest product I possibly can.  To them, my work is a reflection of who I am.  It makes no difference to them if I’m a Christian, Buddhist or atheist, as long as I’m competent.  These people are not anti-Christian.  They haven’t blacklisted me from their business meetings or their social events once they learned I was a Christian.  If anything, they are the most spiritually hungry people I’ve ever met, but unless the church encourages our involvement in these areas, my friends in television will most likely remain hungry and the Gospel continue to be absent from their board rooms and brainstorming sessions.

….

… If you have spent more than twenty minutes in church, you have probably heard that you are the salt of the earth.  And most of what you’ve heard has probably made you feel guilty about not doing enough stuff.  Never mind the fact that if you were gifted as an artist, businessman, or civic leader, no one could quite tell you what stuff you ought to be doing.

… in the meantime I’ve got a business to run.  Can I be salt also?  Can I sit across the table from the chairman of the Sony Corporation and still have an impact on the world for Jesus?  To most people in twentieth-century America, someone who is “the salt of the earth” is someone who is rather dull, plodding, conforming individual – a hard worker, maybe, and honest but pretty tame, a loyal churchman who seldom does anything outside of church.

However, the salt Jesus has in mind is stinging, biting, cleansing, preserving and is anything but dull, anything but tame.  To be the kind of salt Christ spoke about is to be on the cutting edge, in the fray, at the forefront of battle.

… More than twenty years ago, E Stanley Jones, the great Methodist writer and missionary, was asked to name the number one problem in the church.  His quick reply was “Irrelevance”.  Not that the church was inherently irrelevant, but that Christians were failing to show in concrete ways and to tell in cogent understandable terms how the person of Christ is relevant to all of life in the twentieth century. …..

The number one way then, for Christians to be the salt Christ commands them to be is to teach His relevance, to demonstrate His relevance, to live His relevance in every area of life.  We cannot accomplish this by talking only to ourselves, writing only to ourselves, associating only with ourselves and working only in the “safe” careers and professions.  Being salt is not nearly so much about having more pastors and missionaries as it is about having many more committed Christian lay people thinking strategically about and acting on ways to build the kingdom in such areas as public policy, advertising, media, higher education, entertainment and arts and sports.

Keeping Christ bottled up in the churches is keeping salt in the shakers, and He does not go where we do not take Him.  We need to take Him everywhere and show His relevance, and the relevance of His Word to every aspect of modern life.  This is not an option, it is an imperative, a scriptural imperative.

….

Christians of both competence and commitment are needed to penetrate every area of society, and they need to do it with Christ’s command to be salt firmly in mind. When the church sees only the professional ministry as a calling of concern, as a field of interest of the whole body, as a profession to be supported with prayer and financial support, kingdom building is terribly weakened.


it is about every day people
doing everyday jobs
with a very special goal
— that of effectively
representing Christ
in all areas of society.
Our churches should exist
for this.


How many churches have a strategy that seeks in very concrete measurable ways to equip its people to be salt every day and consciously targets areas of its community for penetration?  Not nearly enough.  This is much more difficult and requires much more thought than spending our time and effort promoting Sunday church attendance, special evangelism seminars, and a yearly missionary conference.  Being a roaring lamb is not about special days, special emphases, special people, and special professions.  Rather it is about every day people doing everyday jobs with a very special goal — that of effectively representing Christ in all areas of society.  Our churches should exist for this.

At the very least, the young people of the church should be made to see that their careers, whatever they may be, are just as vital, just as much a concern of the congregation, and just as much as part of the mission of the church as are those of the foreign missionaries the church supports.  This is in no way a call to support missionaries less, but does it seem right to have a budget for, sermon series about, and special emphasis on missionaries and to ignore the yong people of the local congregation who will be heading into areas of life just as difficult and just as demanding as far as living out Christ’s command to be salt and light is concerned as those entered into by any missionary ?

…… Why shouldn’t talented young people of the congregation who hope to enter medicine, or teaching, or journalism, or writing, or plumbing, or retailing, or any other world of work be given at least the same kind of attention?  At the very least, they should be made to understand that in their careers they have both the possibility and responsibility to be part of the ministry of the church.  At the every least they should be instructed in the how of this as well as the why.  Also at the very least they should know that they are valued, being prayed for, and supported as they take the salt of the gospel to their place of work every day.  This is the way to make sure they become roaring lambs.

Source – Bob Briner, Roaring Lambs, 1993 pg 31,32,38-40,49,50

Further reading:

Here’s an  interview with Bob Briner transcript

 

roaring lambs


Marketplace | Work

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
July 3, 2014
laymanointing.wordpress.com

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