Marketplace vs Workplace

(Written by Lilian Schmid)

There is some confusion of the difference between "Business" and "Marketplace", so some definitions may be helpful:

  • Workplace - a personal or corporate place of work
  • Marketplace - the constructs of a modern society comprising the ten spheres of influence (see TS Vision for the Marketplace)
  • Transformation - marked change brought about by the application of Kingdom principles (ref. Pro 11:11, 11:14, 14:34, 15:22, 15:31-33, 16:3, Isa 55:8-9, Mic 6:8, Mat 6:10, Luk 4:18-19)
  • Kingdom of God - the realm of God's influence released into the world as people hear and obey the word of God, ie: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (see Gen 1:28, Mat 6:10, 22:37, 28:18-20).

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, we learn that we are created in God's image with a God-given capacity to respect and care for each other and the natural ongoing processes of the creation of which we are stewards.

So God created man in his own likeness. He created him in the likeness of God. He created them as male and female. God blessed them. He said to them, "Have children and increase your numbers. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground."
[Gen 1:27-28]

Throughout the Old Testament, God required Israel to follow His commands and model economic principles in order to establish the social and economic conditions necessary for a godly society.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
[Deu 30:15-16]

In Luke 4, Jesus clearly defined His mission as evangelism, social holiness and justice.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
[Luk 4:18-19, also Isa 61:1 & 42:7]

The early church also held strong work ethic and social sensitivity that met the needs of all people within the community (Act 4:32-35).

The mission of every Christian is:

  • one person passing on to another person the knowledge of the love of God
  • one person teaching another person the ways of God (Mat 22:37-40 and 28:18-20).

"There is one body and one Spirit - just as we were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
[Eph 4:4-6]

Whether you are a Christian Business leader or a Christian Marketplace leader, to accomplish this mission in the Marketplace you need to first lay down the foundations of professional competency and a consistency between belief and behaviour that leads to credibility. On this foundation every Christian can fulfil their calling to be an ambassador of the Kingdom of God in their daily occupation (per 2 Cor 5:20).

As a Christian leader in the Marketplace:

  • What is the mission that God has put before me?
  • What are my responsibilities?
  • What are my capabilities?

The Lord has called each of us to be excellent in what we do. Those whom God used in the Kingdom as marketplace ministers were skilled and exemplified excellence in their field. Not only were these men skilled, they were filled with God's Spirit.

"See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hut, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship."
[Exodus 31:1-5]

If we believe and acknowledge God's work in us, we have the desire to serve the Lord with all our capacity, because we are commissioned to be Ambassadors of the Kingdom.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
[Eph 2:10]

So ask yourself:

  • What is the integration of social concern, work, and faith in society today?
  • How do you personally integrate these aspects in your business and community?
  • How can we bring holiness into the operation of business in our society?
  • How can we see the impact by doing so if we establish bible study groups and cell prayer groups in every company or business?

The following is adapted from Lausanne LOP 59: Business as Mission - English.

In my business, home, workplace, or community, I will:

  • Meet for prayer with personnel
  • Set new goals this week, month, and year for my business
  • Build trust and solid relationships among co-workers, customers, and suppliers
  • Lead with both passion and humility
  • Encourage mutual care between co-workers and colleagues
  • Empower good people with meaningful work
  • Seek more transparent decision-making and hiring practices
  • Be a steward of the resources available
  • Create jobs that will positively impact the community
  • Provide generous and holistic employee benefits
  • Be intentional to practice Christian ethics and principles in business
  • Provide professional development, character formation, and leadership opportunities for employees
  • Advocate good governance at the local, state, federal, and international level
  • Combat poverty through training and mentoring
  • Support existing local and international community organizations and churches
  • Set an example for other businesses to follow

Adopting a Business is a Transforming Sydney Initiative for transformation of businesses and organisations in the marketplace.

You may also wish to read "Business As Mission".