I was recently invited to my first UNITE NY meeting and was deeply moved...

One of the most significant pieces of practical wisdom God has granted me in the past years is about the role of business-people in the Kingdom of God. As a pastor I am compelled by my theology to believe that all people have gifts and callings to use for the edification of the Church and the advancement of the gospel in our world, but normal church practices often make that nothing more than pretty words.  In our 'normal' way of thinking, the Kingdom is manifested most gloriously in the church, the church is most evident in the Sunday worship gathering, and the Sunday worship gathering is all about what the pastor says and does.  In short, what the pastor does is Kingdom work, what everyone else does is pay for the privilege of observing the pastor 'doing Kingdom work.'  This is, of course, not what God had in mind...

 God has opened my eyes to the role of business-people, in large part, through my relationship with one person.  My friend is a retired businessman who, several years ago, decided to include me in some of his projects.  Through him I have learned the value of business-minded people working for Kingdom purposes outside of the walls of the church.  He has his hands in endeavors of all kinds, job training programs, ministry training programs, housing renovation, job creation, refugee resettlement programs, medical services, college education for the poor.  In all of these he brings his passion for the Kingdom, his crystalline focus on results oriented praxis, his drive to make every effort as effective and efficient as possible, his creativity and experience, and his intolerance of silly religious games.  He also brings his wallet, his schedule, and a profound willingness to sacrifice for what he believes in.

In collaborating with my friend over the years, I have come to see the tremendous value in partnerships between kingdom-minded business people, and kingdom-minded pastors.  This value goes well beyond the financial resources of the business community.  The value is in the skills, practices, and paradigms of the business world, when those skills, practices, and paradigms are used under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and in partnership with other kingdom-minded people, to accomplish God's purposes in the places where we live, work, play, and worship.

While at the UNITE NY meeting I appreciated the encouragements of the speaker, and the opportunity to network, but I was moved most deeply simply by a room full of kingdom-minded business-people.  I walked into a room full of people like my friend, and I couldn't help but get excited!

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