Revival In The Marketplace
“If Christians around the world were to suddenly renounce their personal agendas, their life goals, and their aspirations, and begin responding in radical obedience to everything God showed them, the world would be turned upside down. How do we know? Because that's what first century Christians did, and the world is still talking about it.” - DR. HENRY BLACKABY
For over five decades, Dr. Henry Blackaby has stood in the gap as an ambassador for spiritual leadership and biblical mentoring. A ThD graduate of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Blackaby has served in numerous ministry positions, not limited to pastor of churches in California and Canada, music director, education director, special assistant to the presidents of the
International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources, and the founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International. He also served on staff at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Winning the Gold Medallion Award for his devotionals, Experiencing God Together and Experiencing God Day by Day, his books have encouraged thousands of men and women. With the 2008 release of God in the Marketplace, co-authored with his son, Richard Blackaby, he is now a frontrunner in the movement towards spiritual leadership within the business world. Dr. Blackaby’s books have inspired countless men and women to lead from a biblical perspective rather than a secular pursuit.
“Several years ago, God raised our awareness of His activity in the marketplaces of America,” says Dr. Blackaby. “In the Gospels and the Book of Acts, Jesus called businessmen to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness’ in their work places, and trust Him to ‘add everything’ to them. God has uniquely positioned us to train and equip the top Christian CEO’s across the nation to be ‘spiritual statesmen’ in corporate America. Richard and I have designed nine courses, and we have been teaching many of these CEOs in several cities. We have spoken many times to various Marketplace Ministries conferences, and I teach a God in the Marketplace Bible study every month in South Atlanta. As many of these resources as we have, we want to make available to others.”
With over 55 years of service under his belt, Dr. Blackaby has seen his ministry morph from a small, local assembly into a vibrant, international outreach to the Christian business leaders across the world. As a pastor and an author, Dr. Blackaby has broken down multiple passages in the Word of God, one of which has become a banner for his ministry to workplace professionals.
Blackaby Ministries International endeavors to operate upon the principles found in Ephesians 4:11-15: "And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."
Blackaby Ministries International has revolutionized global corporations from the top down.
“I suppose one of the most rewarding and surprising fields of service God invited me to serve Him in was the marketplace. I learned as a pastor that world-changing ministry could not consist of merely preaching good sermons on Sunday at the church building. It would mean equipping my people to be salt and light as they entered the workplace on Monday morning (Matthew 5:13-16). Too many pastors view their people as merely a means to enhance their ministry. I learned that the people were my ministry! My job was to equip them so they were acceptable instruments in God’s mighty hand in their workplace.”
According to the BMI website, the goal of spiritual leadership is to help Christian leaders. In conversations with hundreds of discouraged men and women who were ready to resign their leadership positions, BMI mentorship training helped rekindle the heartfelt desire to serve God effectively within the business world. By focusing on vocational, workplace ministry, businessmen and women benefit from the truths discussed frankly in the leadership courses.
Not exclusive to business professionals, but geared toward the individualized concerns and pressures of the workplace, BMI’s spiritual leadership courses instruct Christian businessmen, physicians, educators, politicians, and more, that each person, no matter what their profession, is called to be a spiritual leader. More and more people in “secular” occupations are taking their calling as spiritual leaders seriously, and are impacting the world and extending God’s kingdom.
“Only when we understand leadership in light of God’s calling on our lives will we be equipped to lead effectively...” Dr. Henry Blackaby
“...According to the Bible, God is not necessarily looking for leaders, at least not in the sense we generally think of leaders. He is looking for servants. When God finds men and women willing to be molded into his servants, the possibilities are limitless. People are looking for someone to lead them into God’s purposes God’s way. They need leaders who truly believe God will do what He says. People will follow spiritual leaders who understand God’s agenda and who know how to move them on to it.”
How God Works in the Marketplace
“Over the years, my son Richard and I have had the privilege of discipling Christian CEOs of major companies in America,” said Dr. Blackaby. “We have spoken in numerous marketplace gatherings around the world. We have consulted with Christian businesspeople as they implemented the enormous ministries God was leading them to initiate. I must say that such efforts have been some of the most rewarding and fulfilling ministries I have ever been involved with.
HERE ARE A FEW OBSERVATIONS I WOULD POINT OUT FROM MY YEARS OF MINISTRY IN THE MARKETPLACE:
1. God delights in using businesspeople to accomplish His work.
When God began to initiate His redemptive plan to establish a people for Himself, He called Abraham, a businessman, to adjust his life to His activity. Jesus bypassed the seminaries and called fisherman and businessmen to be His disciples. Paul was a tentmaker. Sometimes businesspeople tell me, "Well, I’m not a pastor; I’m just a businessman!" To which I’ll respond: "Then you are exactly the kind of person God has chosen to use throughout history to accomplish His greatest work!" God doesn’t limit His callings to ministers; rather, He enables the professionals to become ministers of His grace within their chosen field.
2. God will use your business skills and contacts to accomplish His purposes.
When Moses explained to God why he was unfit to serve Him, God asked Moses what he had in his hand. It was a rod. God told him to cast it to the ground, and it became a serpent. God didn’t tell Moses to go and obtain new skills so he could be of use to Him. God took what was already in his hand and used that. Jesus didn’t tell Peter, Andrew, James, and John to forget everything they knew about fishing for fish. On the contrary, He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." If you have construction, accounting, entrepreneurial, medical, business, or computer skills, assume God led you to obtain them for a purpose, and wait to see how He uses them to build His Kingdom. The fact that God can bring character development and personal growth out of any situation is conditional on people's willingness to submit to God's will. God is sovereign over every life, but those who yield their will to Him will be shaped according to His purposes. When God directs a life for His purposes, all of life is a school. No experience, good or bad, is ever wasted, and truly, all things work together for his or her good and God’s glory. God doesn't squander people's time; He doesn't ignore their pain. He brings not only healing but growth out of even the worst experiences. Every hardship can be God's instrument to mature a person's character and further his or her ministry.
3. Seek first God’s Kingdom.
I once had a chagrined businessman confess that he had spent the greater part of his adult life building a big company. He said, "But, while I was expanding my company, I neglected God’s Kingdom.” He committed to make the building of God’s Kingdom his primary goal, just as Jesus had commanded in Matthew 6:33. Just because you are not a full time pastor does not mean you are exempt from seeking first God’s Kingdom, and His righteousness.
4. Look for revival in the marketplace.
I believe revival is coming, and it may well begin in the marketplace. Sadly, many pastors spend little time praying with and networking with other pastors and churches. Few reach out to other denominations. Many megachurches are a kingdom unto themselves. But I am seeing that Christian businesspeople are networked. Just as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea joined efforts to minister to Jesus in John 19:38- 42, so today’s Christian businessmen and women know how to network for the greater good. They have contacts with people from numerous denominations. They have practical skills and pragmatic approaches that maximize getting the job done. I am afraid that if God sent revival to a lot of churches today, the revival would never leave the walls of that church; but, if revival erupted in the marketplace, it would quickly spread to every denomination. A New York City layman, Jeremiah Lanphier, launched the last great awakening in America. Estimates are that 1/30th of the American population was converted. I pray daily that God will raise up another American businessperson who is determined to see revival come to America, once again.”
Passionate about workplace ministry, Dr. Blackaby is excited to see the next spiritual awakening within American businesses and corporations. “This is a wonderful time to be serving the Lord!” Dr. Blackaby affirms. “Where there is great need, there is great opportunity! When society is at its darkest, it is the best time to be a light! We live in an increasingly darkened time. The news media regularly informs us of what evil is doing. But I want you to know something: God is working all around you! Open your spiritual eyes so you don’t miss it! The key is not what people are doing; the key is what God is doing! And, I assure you; God is working in a magnitude that is unprecedented in human history. My prayer is that people would embrace their calling to be salt and light in the marketplace, just as the early Christians did. And if they do, there is no power on earth that can stop the advance of God’s kingdom.”
Embrace your ministry within your profession; become the spiritual leader God intends you to be; fulfill the Great Commission in your professional circle, no matter how large or small. Be the next leader for spiritual change within your workplace.
"Throughout my life, my philosophy has been simple: Be faithful in a little and God will give me more. Who could have imagined all God’s 'more' could entail!" Dr. Henry Blackaby
For additional information on Henry Blackaby's Legacy and Celebration go to www.blackaby.net.
By: Jessica Burchfield
Jessica Burchfield is the contract Communications Coordinator for Clearwater Christian College, a freelance writer, and a professional photographer based out of Tampa, Florida.Read More Articles by Jessica Burchfield