WorldVenture hosted two Hackathons with Code For The Kingdom during the past couple of years. I participated in both and mingled with business people, missionaries, churches and regular working people. During those weekends, we worked together in creative endeavors to solve world challenges with technology.
In the last Hackathon, I assisted a businessman with his idea, helping to expand it. While I didn’t quite have the time I thought to fully review his manuscript for the ministry, his idea had merit. These are just two of many examples where not all the church is against business as missions or work having merit. So, when I began reading, “Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk,” I felt the divide between business and missions.
“Over the course of my career, I have thought a lot about this issue and discussed this topic at length with friends inside and outside of the world of entrepreneurship. It seems clear to me that the church has bought into a false storyline about work that says work is inherently bad and meaningless unless it is “full-time ministry.” Before we discern the calling of entrepreneurs specifically, we must first combat this thinking with biblical truths that give us a much more hopeful and meaningful storyline for all work.”
― from “Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk”
One of my leaders who recommended this book said she felt encouraged by it. The ministry God has me doing empowers creatives and entrepreneurs to partner with the church to serve in outreach to their global communities in line with or in addition to their daily jobs or business responsibilities. Most of what I do involves entrepreneurs and creatives. In fact, WorldVenture is such a fantastic organization that their vision includes creative people and ideas that are non-traditional in their paths.
In light of that leader’s response, I was inspired to think how I can encourage the church to embrace the creatives in their congregation. Because Social Media is a creative environment, it is ideal for photographers, artists, musicians, writers, etc to embrace this communication tool to share the Gospel through the relationships they build online and the stories they tell.
You might have noticed how marketers are embracing the idea of story telling to sell more products or services. Some religions other than Christianity are embracing story telling and marketing to attract the indecisive to their belief system. It seems a lot of Christians are hesitant about using this communication tool. Maybe some are wary of it or afraid? Maybe it just feels so big that it is like looking at a blank piece of paper and wondering where to start?
As a worker with WorldVenture, I want to mobilize the church to serve online as well as face-to-face, recognizing that social media is global and the world is different now. Whatever you feel about technology, the church needs to embrace it and train their congregations to use it in godly ways.
Don’t you train an army before you send them out into the battlefield?
When I read this chapter, I was less than thrilled, because the churches I have met or know do see that sharing the Gospel at work in honoring ways is part of being a Christian, and using your creativity in the arts can also bring about interesting conversation. If the church is going to share the Gospel in their communities, entrepreneurs, missionaries, church staff and regular workers (even ones less than thrilled about their employment) need to be unified in their causes. But then I focused on the last few words of that quote, “…meaningful storyline for all work.” All work, including the people who serve in churches and in mission organizations that depend upon the generosity of others to do their work.
Meanwhile, I will continue to read this book. Stay tuned for future blog posts. My leader’s response reminded me that I need to make sure my volunteers, group leaders, and those participating in ministry are encouraged in all their efforts and feel supported.