The Divide Between the Church and the Marketplace

In my humble opinion, I think many churches in this present age function with a dualism that divides life and ministry into sacred and secular compartments.

Because of this, many of us followers of Christ unknowingly or knowingly grow up adopting a “only work in church and church-related ministries are spiritual” attitude.

This also forms a perception that   church-related ministries  or activities are of greater interest or importance to God when compared to secular activities.

The great divide

If we seriously take a quick glance across churches, we will find that majority are spending most of their time and money in equipping members to do church ministries.

Not that there’s anything wrong in doing so, but I think we have sincerely overlooked the fact that most of us followers of Christ are actually spending most of our time outside the church.

But the real pressing need is for us believers to be equipped for the marketplace.

Jesus in the marketplace

Re-visiting and studying  the life of Jesus Christ and His ministry while He was on earth should help us understand the essence of Christianity.

When we follow Jesus, we have a higher chance of  living out the faith out and walking in His will as originally designed for our relationship with God.

Statistics show that out of 132 public appearances made by Jesus, 122 of them were in the marketplace. Out of the 52 parables He had told, 45 had a marketplace context. Out of the 33-plus years He lived, most of His adult life was a carpenter.

He demonstrated for us a living faith that bridged the so-called spiritual and secular seamlessly.

Christians in the marketplace

I think it is clear that it is not enough to equip the clergy for the church. We need to equip all of God’s people for all of life. We need to equip Christians for the marketplace.

In this context, marketplace refers to anywhere outside the four walls of the church. And that’s the place where our faith needs to be lived out as everyday, that’s where we need to cope with the opportunies and temptations in our workplace and in our home.

Hence, if we are spending most of our time living only in the so-called spiritual world, what earthly use will we have to His cause?

Our work in the office or at home is as much God’s work as evangelism and praying for the sick.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

If we desire to see the universal Church fully embracing and living out God’s original mandate for humankind to manage His creation, then churches need to teach, model, pray and provide relational support towards a balanced theology towards of life and work.


5 thoughts on “The Divide Between the Church and the Marketplace

  1. With reference and extractions from:

    1. “Training that counts- Equipping Christians for the marketplace” by Rev Dr Tan Soo Inn, IMPACT Dec+Jan 2009 Vol.32 (no.6)

    2. “Mind the gap between the church and marketplace” by Andrew Goh, IMPACT Dec+Jan 2009 Vol.32 (no.6)

  2. Hey bro,
    It is good that you have had this opinion.
    In fact I just want to add on something which you have already known for sometime: Just be yourself, discharge your responsibilities faithfully in whichever job that has been entrusted to you and you would already have been a good testimony to God, for this in it itself is already an achievement. Do it to the best of your abilities and conscience.

    There is no need to do the showy or “spiritual” stuff to attract people to Christ because our faithfulness towards our daily life roles should be sufficient already – at least for a regular bloke in the street like me.

  3. To me, there’s never a divide. As Christians we are all ministers. To be a businessman is a ministry in itself, likewise being a writer, journalist, activist etc.

    I think Pastor Tan preached sometime ago that to Jesus, there’s was never a church-world divide. The word “spiritual” never really occured to Him, because everything He does is spiritual to Him!

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