Are You a Marketplace Christian? A Tentmaker?
The term "tentmaker" is a reference to a Christian missionary named Paul that worked amidst others building tents as he fulfilled God's calling in his life (c.f. Acts 18:1-3, Acts 20:33-35. Are you a lover of God (a Christian) that too is called to the workforce? Then you are a tentmaker. Today, God seeks and uses Marketplace Christians like you and me to disciple others and accomplish things that are beyond our imaginations.
The Church, at its beginning, was never a sedentary activity that is scheduled for once a week. It was always a mingling with others, not isolation; it was one of great impacts, encouragement, and influence (c.f. 1 Corinthians 4:20 and Acts 2). You too are called by God today to be an influence to many people through the way you live and your faith in God .
Tentmakers are called, especially at a time like this, because:
- You are in the world, but not of it. (c.f John 15:19). That refers to your ability to easily mingle with Christians and non-Christians alike and show the love of God.
- You are financially sufficient so that your mission is not hampered due to having too little, and you can even give to others because of what God has given you (c.f. Proverbs 30:8-9)
- You hold influence. Especially as God puts you in positions of leadership, many would be willing to follow you and your faith. (E.g. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and many others.).
- You have the ability to reach people that those in religious settings cannot. As entrepreneurs and professionals, you can easily connect with anyone for sake of work, subcontracting, partnership, etc. Additionally, you may travel to different countries where Christian missionaries may not be welcome and transact business there. You may even be able to live among Hindus, Muslims, and people of other faiths, just as the early Christians did.
- You are a child of God foremost. God has placed you where you are so that you may fulfill His great calling for your life. The purpose of your work and life is not to make money and get by. You are the light of the world that is called to be an influence (c.f. Matthew 5:14) and demonstrate His power in love (c.f. 1John 4:7-21).
How can I be more effective as a tentmaker?
We live in busy times with many distractions. The problem is with our priorities. The Great Commandment (c.f. Matthew 22:37-40) says that we ought to love God and others foremost. Due to many distractions, the world is focused on themselves and their busy lives. For example, today's marketing is focused on individual segmentation because "I" is king. Our cellphones lead us to be isolated and be frantic about every notification that pops up. Even video games and social media separates people to their own rooms. The question is, do you have relationships? (or for some of you, do you know what it means to have relationships?)
Your relationships with others is a reflection of your relationship with God. Do you have true friends that you can rely on and can rely on you? Do you love your spouse so much that you would die for them and do you submit to him/her? Your responses to these questions may be how you respond to God (c.f. ). You may not have a relationship with God at all. When was the last time you had a comfortable conversation with God?
The call is to come back to Him and make Him your greatest priority. Only then will you be able to fulfill the great calling He has for your life.
So, how can you help?
I too am a Christian that is called to the marketplace (read more about me here). Having been both a pastor and a corporate leader for over 15 years, I have learned that our calling is to discipleship, that is, walking together (mingling, connecting, being in a small groups) with other believers. It is through deeply-built relationships that we can grow and make other disciples (c.f. Matthew 28:19-20. I also wrote my Doctorate dissertation on this topic). It is only through life-on-life discipleship that we can let go of our pride and sincerely confess that we cannot do anything without the providence of God. That is when we will be able to see God do great things. This can occur as we support one another in fulfilling our callings. As many of us know, when God acts, mountains are moved and seas are parted, but with our own strength, experiences, abilities, we will only see human-based results, which amounts to nothing worthwhile.
I also lead a parachurch organization whose purpose is to enable Christians to be disciples and therefore make new disciples. What I have learned is that there are many people seeking God but only a few Christians that are able to share their faith and love with them. Check out "Prayer Tents" in App Store and in Google Play. More info available at www.prayertents.com.
I am daily in New York City looking forward to conversing with other tentmakers. I will be leading webcasts, gatherings, and other presentations along the way. If you are a Christian that desire to fulfill God's calling in your life, I hope I can be an encouragement to you through our interactions. Send me an email so that I may send you invitations to various online or local gatherings. I look forward to partnering and growing with you.