In my previous post, I highlighted the rise in the interest of the "marketplace ministry" in both the church and Christian organisation.
In the recent NECF National Pastors-Leaders Consultation on Nation Building that I attended, I participated in the small group discussion on marketplace ministry. While there are many interesting and legitimate issues raised in the roundtable discussion, I am also very concerned to hear some of the comments that were being expressed. Maybe I am wrong here, and I stand corrected. I have a strong suspicion that underpinning the prevailing understanding of marketplace ministry is partially driven by one's understanding of success and perhaps to a certain extent, a hint of the prosperity gospel.
I could not help but to notice the frequent repetitions on the emphasis of success in business and that one needs to be in position of power and influence (read CEO, senior management or owner of business) to be used as God's agent for transformation. I could almost sense the frustration of a young professional in the roundtable when he raised the question on how as a member of junior management, he could live out his life as salt and light in his workplace. He raised the issue on how he could be an agent of transformation when he was only in junior management. He also asked who would be guiding him in his struggles and frustrations about issues confronting him in the marketplace.
Someone in the roundtable gave this young man this suggestion (and I paraphrase slightly): "Pray, brother, for God to give you a promotion to a higher position. I believe that if God has placed you there, it is for a purpose, so ask God for that promotion. Then you can be an agent for transformation."
An agent of transformation only when I am a position of power and influence? I agree that one could do more when one is in a position of power and influence. But does that mean I cannot be an agent of transformation when I am in a junior position?
I offered my comment in the roundtable discussion that much more serious theological reflection needs to be done in our understanding of marketplace ministry. I am not sure how well this is received and taken note of. Hopefully, there could be further discussion on some of these issues highlighted in the rountable.