In the early Church, there was no separation between clergy and laity. This separation occurred when the church began to imitate Rome and therefore became an institution in the 4th century. Every believer in the early church was to be a witness for Christ. Most congregations met in houses or apartments, and many had their workplaces in the same place where they resided.
Therefore, they used the workplace as their primary platform for sharing the gospel. They did not depend on a professional pastor to share the word on Sundays inside a so-called “sacred building”.
Historically speaking: In the first century, Jesus began a way of life. Then, the Greeks made Christianity a philosophy in the 2nd century. In the third century, faith was defined as a creed. Later, in the 4th century, Christianity became an institution. In the Middle Ages, it became a religion. The Protestant Reformation made it a national culture. In the 18th century, the Pietist movement made faith a personal experience. The liberal 18th century made Christianity an opinion. At the beginning of the 20th century, the fundamentalist movement made it a legalistic way of life. In the mid-twentieth century in the United States, Christianity became a business.
To have the greatest global impact, we must restore the church in the way of Jesus and his first-century apostles. Part of the path of Jesus is to end the bifurcation between the place of work and the place of the church so that the church gathered on Sunday becomes the church scattered on Monday!
Here are ten reasons why we need to release the church in the workplace:
1. Jesus chose 12 market leaders, not 12 religious leaders.
He chose people with practical leadership skills who knew how to manage their time, connect with people, and create wealth as entrepreneurs. (Two sets of brothers owned fishing businesses, one was a tax collector and knew how to manage money. At least one was a fanatic involved in politics; even Judas had experience in managing fishing. money since he was the treasurer of the Jesus movement (John 13:29). Many of the most influential pastors in the world that I have met have a background in business.
2. Jesus called the Church to plant the gospel in cities, not buildings (Acts 1:8-9).
Jesus commanded the church to be his witnesses in cities, not just in buildings on Sundays.
3. We are called kings and priests.
Priests lead men to God; however, kings represent God’s government for people on earth. 1 Peter 2:8-9 calls believers a royal (royal) priesthood. Revelation 1:6 calls the church a kingdom of priests (kings and priests in the KJV).
We are called to reign in this life with Christ according to Romans 5:17. Thus, all believers are called as kings to represent the reign of God in the marketplace, as well as priests who bring people to Christ.
4. Most miracles have taken place outside the synagogue.
A cursory reading of the Gospels shows that most of Jesus’ miracles were performed outside the synagogue. Jesus preached on boats, sitting on mountains and walking the streets. In the book of Acts, many people were saved, healed, and delivered before entering the temple or house church meeting (Acts 3:1-8; 8:1-5; 14:1- 8; 19:1-23).
Paul reasoned with the people in the marketplace when he was in Athens, and as a tentmaker he befriended other tentmakers and made disciples of them (Acts 17:18: 1-3).
5. Jesus told us to pray for his kingdom to come to earth.
What is His Kingdom? His kingdom comes from the throne of God (Psalm 103:19). What is the earth? The earth includes not only all geographical areas but also all spheres of life; therefore, there is no separation between the place of the church and the place of work in the Lord’s Prayer.
6. Jesus called his church to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Jesus did not call believers the salt and light of the church. We are called to bring God’s truth to every aspect of creation. History has shown that the greatest scientists, composers, universities and hospitals came out of the church. This is why the church is called the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
7. The early church turned the world upside down.
Acts 17:6 says of the apostles: “These men who turned the world upside down also came here…” The word “world” in Greek means not only the people in the world but also the civilization and systems that support the people.
8. The Church is not called to flee the earth but to work with Jesus to renew it (Revelation 21:1-2).
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God , prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
The word “new” in Greek is Kainos which means “to renew”. The Church, as heavenly Jerusalem, is called to participate with Jesus in the renewal of all things in creation (Galatians 4:26).
9. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers (APEST) are called to equip the saints for their ministry in the workplace (Ephesians 4:10-12).
“He that descended is he that also ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and the teachers, to equip the saints to the work of the ministry.
Thus, the context of “ministry” has to do with Jesus as the last Adam equipping his disciples through the gifts of ministry to fulfill all things on earth (1 Corinthians 15:45). It is a reference to the cultural mandate to fill the earth, subdue it and influence all aspects of the created order (Genesis 1:28).
10. The Church is called to make disciples of groups of people (Matthew 28:19-20).
“Go therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… teach them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
“Nations” does not refer to an ethnic person but to groups of non-Jewish people. Here Jesus commands his Jewish followers to bring the good news to the Gentile tribes and nations. Therefore, cultural transformation occurs when a discipleship movement changes the identity of Gentile nations when a critical mass joins the community of Jesus via baptism.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally renowned author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church and leads several organizations, including the US Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and the Christ Covenant Coalition.
To order his books or to join the thousands of subscribers to his newsletter, go to josephmattera.org