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The Most Important Talk At Lausanne

Guest post by Christian Overman, Founding Director, Worldview Matters"We honor, celebrate and tell stories about pastors, preachers, worship leaders, missionaries and social activists,” Mark Greene told his audience at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism, in Cape Town last October, “but we almost never hear stories about cleaners, or bus drivers, or lawyers, or bankers, or politicians." 

Why is this the case?

Greene, a leader in the marketplace movement, told his Cape Town audience that we have a “systemic” problem: "The good seed of the marketplace movement,” he declared, “is being planted in poor soil. So it will not matter how much we water that soil, or how diligently we seek to nurture the seed, how we protect the plant from disease. The soil is deeply affected by the Sacred-Secular Divide."

This is the truth. The church has been so infected by “SSD,” [Greene's shorthand for the Sacred-Secular Divide], that no matter how much we try to nurture the marketplace movement, it can’t blossom as long as the soil in which it is planted is leached of nutrients.

“We may know in our heads that the Gospel embraces every area of life,” Greene said, “but this is not the Gospel we have been teaching people to live, or celebrating when they do.”

"There are two strategies to reach the world,” Greene maintains. “The first one is to recruit the people of God to use some of their leisure time to join the missionary initiatives of church-paid workers. And the second one is to equip the people of God for fruitful mission in all of their life.”

The first strategy has been the predominant approach of evangelical churches for decades. The second is in need of reformation through elimination of the "SSD" problem.  

Greene, the author of Thank God It's Monday, is the Executive Director of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity.This organization, founded in 1982 by John Stott, is based on the premise that “every part of our lives comes under the Lordship of Christ, and that all of life is a context for worship, mission, ministry and active Christian engagement."

Bill Peel, co-author of Going Public With Your Faith, and Executive Director of the LeTourneau Center for Faith and Work,says Geene’s Cape Town speech, “may be the most important talk at Lausanne.” 

Watch an edited version here: People At Work.

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posted by Justin Forman | 5.16.2011 - 5:55 AM


I was privileged to hear Mark's talk at Lausanne. It was very significant indeed. What was even more encouraging was that the auditorium in which he spoke was almost full! There is a tremendous interest in ministry in the world of work.

We have ongoing discussions on marketplace ministry and ministry in the world of work at the Lausanne Global Conversation site - Mark's actual talk can be found here.

Here are some other inputs that were given at Lausanne on ministry in the marketplace.
commented by Anonymous Dion Forster, 2:36 AM  

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