In 2008 I was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, helping launch a leadership conference. I met with pastors and influencers around the capitol to find out who should be invited. I learned something about movements and how God works in those meetings.
Juan led a small church of 120 people. He had a big vision—God had put it in his heart to have his church go serve and rescue the 1,200 children living at the city dump. It seemed impossible but they were going every Tuesday and helping however they could.
Then I met Jorge, another pastor of a church of 75. Then Gilbert, who was meeting down the road with a church of 100 and growing. And Moises had a church of 300. Each claimed a vision from God to reach these children but also confessed intimidation at the staggering odds against their success. How could a church of 75, 100 or even 300 reach 1,200 children?
What they didn’t know was that they were not the only ones God had called to the same vision. None of these pastors knew one another. They each thought they were the only ones on this mission! They were going on different days, to different parts of the dump, and they were unaware that God was calling together a converging army of saints.
By the end of that week I learned something about God and movements: often the very people in the movement are not aware of the movement, and as a result wrestle with fear and self doubt. Many leaders also mistakenly believe they are the only ones God is calling toward a vision.
I believe the marketplace is poised for an uprising. The conditions are perfect!
Too often as leaders we waste time lusting after a future or alternative ideal. A “better” team, business, industry, economy, geography, administration, or whatever we fixate on being necessary to truly live out a life of “significance.” This fantasy trap is nothing less than vocational pornography and it robs us of the abundant life Jesus has called us to in the very businesses we steward.
Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 2:8-10 that by grace God has saved us through faith, and that this saving is not a ticket to a future celestial scene but a launching into the very purpose God created in advance for us to walk in here on earth. We are created for a purpose of divine significance! In Esther 4:14 we see a bold Jewish refugee confront his hesitant ethnic peer, Queen Esther, that while the stakes were high, what if she were granted this authority for “such a time as this?”
Conditions are perfect. You are living in the time, place, economy, and industry to be absolutely faithful to the destiny you have in Christ Jesus. As Hebrews 12 exhorts, we must throw off the shackles of fear, doubt, fantasy, or sin and run the race set before us!
At the height of Nazi Germany no more than 10 percent of the German population identified with the Nazi party platform. How did unimaginable horrors get executed by a regime with so little allegiance? Good people did nothing. Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
We are too susceptible to the lie Elijah believed in 1 Kings 19:10—that we are alone and on the losing side of reality. Like the 10 spies sent alongside Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13) to scout out the Promised Land who came back intimidated, we can believe the “fake news” of doom and gloom, conceding our very Kingdom assignments in the marketplace.
The Almighty God wants you to know the very same thing He told Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18, that we are not alone! He also said in Isaiah 61 that our assignment is to set captives free and proclaim the Good News, right here, and now. You and I are not called to some Benedictine bunker posture in life or business—keeping our heads down, hoping to survive the era for future glory. We are called to be salt (preserving, sanctifying) and light (invading the darkness).
Throughout the Bible God holds leaders accountable. King Saul and subsequent kings were held accountable to God for the condition of their kingdoms, the spiritual culture, religious fervor, justice, and righteousness they cultivated. As business leaders we share this accountability mantle. We are “kings” by proxy appointed as governors (stewards) of marketplace platforms by the King, held accountable for advancing His agenda in the marketplace, His very Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I have the privilege of serving thousands of marketplace leaders via a platform of Christian CEO and executive peer advisory groups. It’s breathtaking to witness what God is doing through available and courageous stewards of business. James Ruder is CEO of L&R Pallet Company in Colorado. James responded to the gospel imperatives by finding a way to see the business provide jobs for scores of refugees from Southeast Asia and innovate a successful business that is proclaiming Jesus to the world through creative labor strategies. He then partnered with Tom Gardner, CEO of Hay Creek Pallet Company in Wisconsin to exchange strategies for business as ministry and then collaborate about how they can bring transformation to their entire industry together!
James and Tom rejected the cultural currents and embraced their Kingdom calling to advance the Kingdom of God in the marketplace through their lives and the companies they steward. They are not alone. I happen to know that there are likely more than 600,000 Christian CEOs, business owners and senior executives in the US alone. Less than one percent of those are currently in a peer group embracing a bigger mission, aware of what God has called them to. I believe conditions are perfect for an uprising of Kingdom stewards to literally change the world.
If 10 percent of those leaders were to respond to God’s call and embrace a Kingdom paradigm for their businesses, what would the impact be? Applying the outcomes we typically see for businesses in the C12 Group, that would mean more than 300,000 people coming to saving faith in Jesus, 2 million people discipled, $12 billion in annual mission projects unleashed, and 300 million people influenced by the gospel every single year!
My Charge to You
Conditions are perfect. You have a destiny in Christ to express through your business. An uprising is happening now for you to join. It is a movement of God.
Here are my three charges for you:
Don’t go alone. Jesus sent disciples out in groups of two and Moses sent spies out in pairs. The enemy preys upon saints in isolation. Find a group of peers to wrestle with what it means to steward a company as a Kingdom enterprise, to change the world together and to hold each other accountable. When one becomes 12, 70, 120, and then thousands, a powerful compounding effect begins to take place. Join the movement and see how your destiny is just one part of a grandiose story that God is writing!
Reject the “fake news” of doom and gloom. God is on His throne, Jesus has given us victory, and “for such a time as this” you’ve been called to run this business for Him! Commit quiet time before God asking Him to reveal His will for you and your business. Daniel 2:22, Jeremiah 33:3, and James 1:5 remind us we serve a God who delights in revelation.
Be a Joshua and a Caleb. They saw the same perils the other 10 spies observed, but by faith they saw the power of God eclipsing all obstacles. The stage is set and the world is waiting for courageous leaders to demonstrate the Kingdom of God in business.
I happen to steward a business with the audacious mission statement “to change the world by advancing the Kingdom of God in the marketplace through the companies and lives of those Christ calls to lead businesses for Him.” I see this mission being fulfilled around the globe right now. You are not alone. God is calling thousands of others around the globe and He is using them today, this very moment. Join the movement!