“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Simon Sinek published his best-seller Start with Why in 2011. I liked the premise, that as leaders we should start with “why” to articulate our motivation for action, and then follow up with “how” (the action we plan to take) and “what” (the outcome we anticipate). As often happens with “plain glass” revelation, the Holy Spirit brings us to a deeper “stained glass” level of insight. In my case, during prayer God revealed fresh strategic perspective from the words of John 3:16 . . .
The Why: PASSION —
“For God so loved the world . . . “
The How: SACRIFICE —
“. . . that he gave his one and only Son . . . “
The What: SALVATION —
“. . . that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In this same season, a professor at Regent University introduced me to an unfamiliar concept. After several years of research, he had identified At Work on Purpose as an emerging national model for “citywide workplace ministry”. I had never heard this term, nor viewed our ministry this way. He observed that almost every city has workplace ministries, but that they typically operate in silos like many local churches and denominations. In contrast, he described At Work on Purpose as a citywide network of working Christians, connected through relationships, and spiritually influencing quality of life across an entire city.
Cities are where a majority of the world’s population already lives, and by 2050 two thirds of the world’s population will be urban versus rural (Our World in Data, 2023). Globally, 99% of working Christians are employed outside the local church or the parachurch (Lausanne, 2019). For the whole Church to reach all the people of the world with the Good News of the Kingdom, we must get much better at organizing and mobilizing working Christians whom God has deployed in cities.
Citywide workplace ministry is a 21st Century expression of the 1st Century church at work. It is a powerful way to engage the Ekklesia outside the walls of the local church, both for vocational flourishing (where we individually find and fulfill our highest and best use at work) and for cultural flourishing (where we collectively seek the peace and prosperity of the communities where we work and live). It is an avenue to restore spiritual impact in an emerging post-Christian society where the complexity of conditions on the ground, and the rapid pace of change, have left many local churches and denominations struggling. Citywide workplace ministries view cities as social ecosystems, where the opportunity is to cultivate faithful work within every organization, throughout every channel of cultural influence, and across every community.
Starting with the “why” for citywide workplace ministry . . .
The Why: Bring shalom to our cities (Isaiah 65:17-25)
“. . . I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness . . .”
The How: Spread Citywide Workplace Ministry
“A 21st Century Expression of the 1st Century Church at work”
The What: Fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19)
“. . . go and make disciples of all nations . . .”
It is remarkable that man’s journey with God starts in a garden (Genesis 2:8) and ends in a city (Revelation 21:1-4). Scripture describes the new Jerusalem as “God’s dwelling place . . . among the people . . . “, where he will “wipe every tear” from our eyes, and where there will be “no more mourning or crying or pain.” God grants us the privilege of cultivating the Kingdom in every corner of our cities, anticipating the prophetic words of Revelation through faithful “assurance of things hoped for”, and “conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)