Lausanne Movement Feature on the Marketplace Mission

Lausanne Movement Feature on the Marketplace Mission

“In order to fulfill the Great Commission, every believer needs to be a minister, and every workplace a place of ministry.” —Bishop Efraim Tendero, World Evangelical Alliance Lausanne Global Workplace Forum, Manila, 2019


At the Second Lausanne Congress in 1989, Ford Madison, Pete Hammond, Bill Garrison, and Lee Yih presented ‘A Theology of the Laity’, a paper by Garrison which proposed that laypeople are God’s chosen instruments for the task of world evangelism. Referencing Proverbs 30:24–25, he wrote, ‘Although conventional wisdom says the layperson is insignificant and small, God’s wisdom has always been to mystify the world in His choice of instruments.’

In 2010, at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism in Cape Town, eight hundred individuals gathered for session one of the workplace track. Jerry White, former international president of The Navigators, began his presentation by asking attendees how many of them came to faith after hearing the gospel proclaimed at a large event by an evangelist like Billy Graham or Luis Palau. Fewer than twenty people raised their hands.

White then asked how many came to faith through a co-worker, friend, or family member, and more than 750 raised their hands. Though admittedly unscientific, White’s survey made a resounding statement about evangelism in the workplace and at home. At the 2019 Lausanne Global Workplace Forum in Manila, Michael Oh, the global executive director / CEO of the Lausanne Movement, noted that one percent of people in the universal church are in professional ministry, and when it comes to evangelism, the other 99 percent are greatly neglected.

‘You [the 99 percent] don’t exist to help professional ministry leaders fulfill the Great Commission. We exist to help you do it,’ Oh wrote in Christianity Today, placing the responsibility of evangelism not on professional ministers and missionaries who overtly proclaim the gospel, but on ordinary Christians who spend their days in the workplace.

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