Pursuing All of Life as Ministry

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The Need

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting with many students as they figure out what vocation they want to venture into. Many of them have wrestled with the question “Should I go into ministry?” Often they are deciding whether to go into the corporate world or into professional ministry.” It seems like they must choose between two things they love—doing work in the world or doing ministry for God. But what if their work in the world were ministry for God? How would they be equipped for such a task? 

Equipping others to follow Jesus in today’s world is difficult. So we’re offering you a model for teaching the Scriptures that helps equip people for every good work so that they can pursue all of life as ministry. Without a teaching model like this, Christians will continue struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing culture.

As we’ve all seen, studies continue to show that those from younger generations are leaving churches at a record pace.[1] This exodus has contributed to the rise of the “unaffiliated” group, which now forms the single largest religious group in the U. S.[2] When young people are attending church, they are not connecting the God of the Scriptures to life in God’s world. And that’s really the heart of the problem. Research in the book You Lost Me reveals what young adults have learned growing up in the church:[3]

Only 28% learned about how Christians can positively contribute to society
Less than 26% learned to view their gifts and passions as part of God’s calling and better understood their purpose in life, and 
Less than 16% learned how the Bible applies to their field or interest area

Some see these statistics and see insurmountable obstacles for the church. At Novum, we see unprecedented opportunity to equip people to pursue all of life as ministry. The Novum Teaching Model will enable the people of God to go out into the world encouraged, full of hope, and equipped for the work God has prepared for us. The key is reading and teaching the Bible as the story of God making all things new.

So what do we mean by that and why is it so important?

The Story of God Making All Things New

When we compare Genesis 1–3 with Revelation 21–22, we find that the end is a lot like the beginning, only the end is better. In Genesis, both the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are in the Garden. In Revelation, only the Tree of Life remains. In Genesis, God made the sun and the moon to rule over the day and night and provide light for our world. In Revelation, God himself provides the light for the new creation and there will be no night there. We could go through many more examples, but what is the overall point here? Genesis and Revelation serve as bookends to one big story. Between these bookends is the story of how God is moving Genesis to Revelation. How he moves creation to new creation—how he is making all things new.

So how does this help equip the people of God for ministry?

Equipping for Every Good Work

Although the Bible has been written, its story is not over. If the story is not over, then God is making all things new where we are; and if God’s work involves all of creation, then so does the church’s ministry. Think about the student choosing between work in the world or ministry for God? As it turns out, this is a false choice. If God is making all things new where she is, then her work in the world is ministry for God. She can begin to ask the question, “Which ministry am I going into?” and “How is my work ministry for God?” rather than “Should I be in ministry or not?” But this isn’t just for students deciding a career path. Using this teaching model has the power to transform the way all of us understand our everyday lives. Whether the parent who works full-time in the home, the second-grade teacher, the marketing executive, or the journalist, few of us have a clear sense of how the grand story lands in our specific worlds. With the Novum Teaching Model, you will be able to discover and lead others to see that God has sent us where we are, God is going with us, and he is equipping us for good work right where we are. 

The people of God will begin to pursue all of life as ministry as teachers equip them for every good work. As a result, the church will flourish even in the midst of a rapidly shifting culture. 

Take the Challenge

We have developed the Novum Teaching Model based on the purpose and story of Scripture. We believe that this resource will help you equip people for every good work without adding new programs, new staff, or new budget line items. So here’s the challenge. Download this booklet for $5. Use it in your teaching preparation for 90 days. After 90 days, if this resource does not help you better equip people for every good work, then we will refund your $5. Take the challenge today. Multiply your ministry tomorrow.

 

[1] Several different studies support this conclusion, especially those studying the faith of college students. Here are a couple articles related to this phenomenon: Mark Regnerus and Jeremy E. Uecker, “How Corrosive is College to Religious Faith and Practice?” 2007; Conor Friedersdorf, “Why College Students Are Losing Their Religion,” 2011; Emma Green “It Turns out Colleges Aren’t Actually Atheist Factories,” 2014; Daniel Cox, “College Professors Aren’t Killing Religion,” 2017

[2] Betsy Cooper, Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, and Robert P. Jones, “Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back,”  2016.

[3] These statistics are adapted from David Kinnaman, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving the Church . . . And Rethinking Faith, 119.

 

Mark Catlin