Martin Luther gave common people access to God´s word. There is still a need for giving everyone access to God´s work.
In October, the 500-year anniversary of the reformation was celebrated around the world. The reformation´s importance for the world-wide church can barely be underestimated. One of the most important fruits of Luther´s ministry, was the translation of the Bible into languages that people could understand. Access to the Bible enabled common people to feed themselves, and let their lives be formed, directly from God´s word.
Even if Luther emphasized how everyone is called to serve Christ wherever they are, the divide between clergy and common people that evolved in the Catholic Church, has remained until today. If you ask an average group of Christians if they are in full-time ministry for Jesus, only those who work in churches or Christian organizations usually raise their hands. All over the world people who want to serve Christ are drawn towards making a «career» in Christian churches and entities. New awareness among pastors and church leaders on our calling to serve Christ in the wider society, has caused some change. The overall picture does however remain the same.
“The whole church bringing the whole Gospel to the whole world” has been one of the mottos of the worldwide Lausanne movement. Empowering everyone in the church to be full-time ambassador´s for God and his kingdom is not easy. Teaching on marketplace ministry and tentmaking are keys that will inspire and activate all Jesus-followers to see their crucial role as full-time representatives of the Kingdom.
The Business as mission-movement has played a crucial role in giving business people a new identity. The clear majority of Christians are however not business people. It is now high time to align forces across nations and interdenominational borders and form task forces that will give new strength to the work of bringing God´s work back to everyone in the churches.
4,200 church leaders who came together at the Lausanne conference in South Africa in 2010, formed the document that has been named “The Cape Town Commitment.” These representatives, from all around the world, urge church leaders to “understand the strategic impact of ministry in the workplace and to mobilize, equip and send out their church members as missionaries into the workplace, both in their own local communities and in countries that are closed to traditional forms of gospel witness.”
500 years ago, Martin Luther said, “Every occupation has its own honour before God. Ordinary work is a divine vocation or calling. In our daily work, no matter how important or mundane, we serve God by serving the neighbour and we also participate in God’s on-going providence for the human race. ”
Let us pray and work to make all God´s people understand how we can do His work.
By Steinar Opheim