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A Revolution of Vocation: The Role of the Church in Aiding in Systemic Change across the Professions

By John Terrill and Lausanne World Pulse - If there was ever a time to mobilize Christians in business to engage the culture courageously and meaningfully, the time is now. Although business has been an engine of economic prosperity, there is no denying that it has stumbled in recent years.

In just the past decade, the collateral damage has been devastating. Consider the dot.com bubble and burst, the high-profile scandals of Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and others, and most recently the housing bubble and subsequent sub-prime meltdown that has brought the world economy to its knees. We need systemic change, and we need it quickly, lest we repeat the same mistakes as we try to rebuild our economies.

Lausanne World Pulse has acknowledged and documented the positive advances of the Business as Mission (BAM) movement and its influence on world evangelization and spiritual renewal (e.g., click here or here). Additionally, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization has recognized the importance of BAM and marketplace ministry movements by forming working committees to draft collaborative Occasional Papers (e.g., click here) on these important topics.


These efforts should be applauded; however, as important as BAM and marketplace ministry movements are, we need more. Not only do we need to equip all Christians in all places at all times to embrace God’s vision of redemptive work, we need to empower Christians to work toward systemic, industry-wide change within the fields in which they serve. We need a revolution of vocation, and the Church worldwide can help lead this effort.

Seeing the Calling to Business as Sacred We desperately need to recover the sacredness of a calling to business. The Church must continue to renounce the sacred/secular divide that has beleaguered Christian communities for too long. As A.W. Tozer rightly notes in The Pursuit of God, far too many Christians get snared in this trap: “They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds…. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.”1 And I might add that their impact in the world is severely constrained.

Christ followers serving in business, law, healthcare, the arts, media, government, and every other profession need to experience in tangible ways the Church’s blessing of their Christ-honoring work in companies, law firms, clinics, studios, press rooms, and congressional chambers.

John Terrill is director for the Center for Integrity in Business at the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. Prior to this, he served as the national director for Professional Schools Ministries with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. Terrill holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and master degrees in theology and religion, respectively, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. For ongoing conversation, email john at jterrill@spu.edu.

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posted by Justin Forman | 7.22.2009 - 7:34 AM

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