In December 2012 I met with some of Maidstone’s church and marketplace leaders and shared a vision for this new season in which I sense a growing heart for unity among the body of Christ and a desire among church leaders to equip their congregations to be effective in the workplace.
I had invited to the meeting a group of leaders from ten local congregations, people who I knew carried a vision to equip and release workplace-based Christians and were either already actively doing so or were enthusiastic about the idea.
At the meeting I introduced church@work as a vehicle to take forward what I had started some years ago with Business for Christ and Marketplace Ministers groups in Maidstone. I shared some of the basic principles that I believe are key in this season, and explained why I sense the time is right to launch church@work now.
Rooted in local church
I wanted to start by sharing with church leaders for an important reason. The Business for Christ groups I started nine years ago, and more recently Marketplace Ministers groups, had embraced unity across the whole church and people from many church congregations in the region have taken part, sharing together and being envisioned and equipped to be effective in their workplace and marketplace roles. I love to see Christians from different congregations walking in unity together, praying for each other, and expressing the body of Christ locally. But I also sensed a risk that we would miss an important component of unity: unity between church leaders and the workplace-based people in their congregations.
My vision with the groups I have run has always been to envision and equip people so that they can be effective not only in their workplace but in the context of their local congregations, too.
So one of the keys to church@work is to directly apply what we have done so far with marketplace groups into local church congregations, by having local congregational groups of workplace-based Christians.
A regional movement
I explained that my vision is for an overall movement of church@work in Maidstone, in the region, serving the church and:
- A channel for co-ordinated town-wide blessing; for example, inputting into local government policy and planning, playing a role in economic development, caring for the poor, blessing the leaders over the town.
- Building on the relationships we have with leaders in the town, Borough and County Council, etc.
- Co-ordinating town-wide prayer over the local and regional marketplace, rooted in local church and the workplace.
For this to be effective, I believe it must be done in partnership with church leaders, and must be through workplace-based people partnering in vision with their church leaders. This is why the first vision-sharing meeting in December was with a group of local church leaders.
The response from church leaders was positive, with leaders of three congregations indicating that they were keen to be among the first church congregations to establish a local church@work group.
You can listen to an audio / podcast of what I shared with Maidstone church leaders here.
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