Posted on September 13 2019
How can we see more of God's kingdom come in the world of business to which so many of God's people are called? The focus is often on encouraging workplace Christian groups and whole-life discipleship mindsets: all good stuff, and constantly in need of more encouragement. But what about those in senior positions of leadership and influence in the marketplace, who are well-placed to bring about significant change? Their incredibly busy and pressured lifestyles often work against having time to network with peers and reflect on their callings.
Over the past year in Reading we have been exploring ways to create a space where some of these key leaders can come together, and see what works for them. Early days, and we are learning as we go, but here's a few things we've found that help:
Finding a key business leader who has a real passion for their business and whose story captures imaginations can act as a catalyst for others to be inspired. One such leader was Mark Sears, CEO of Cloud Factory who were blown into Reading by the wind of the Spirit, connecting with the history of prayer in the town via the Boiler Room (which itself was key to the birth of the 24-7 prayer movement) - https://praxislabs.org/entrepreneurs/individual/mark-sears
Conversations with two or three other key leaders you may already know. Asking them who they have in their networks who might be interested in exploring together will lead you to maybe a dozen or so people. It's then the well-worn trail of arranging 1 - to - 1's to go and have coffee with them and see what they see as their passion and calling. It took several months to lay these foundations, not least because of busy diaries. I had the time and space to do this legwork, and having someone to be the relational connector in this way may well help.
My conversations led me to pose 2 questions to those we invited to our first gathering back in April:
Our first gathering of 9 people had these 2 questions simply as the agenda...and it was a really powerful way to unlock the conversation, enabling us to get to deep spiritual connection really quickly. It was so good that they wanted to meet again, every 6 weeks on a Saturday morning (the least worst time for most of them), which is what we are continuing to do.
Don't rush to seek a " ...and this is what we then did together" project/initiative or whatever. We are learning to allow space just to connect and explore - there's already a whole heap going on that is invisible to most of standard church life but that is incredible in terms of kingdom impact: one of our group works for a major construction company and their job title was Director of Urban Regeneration: quite literally "restorer of streets with dwellings"! (is 58v 12)
Often senior business leaders have no safe space where they can share the heavy responsibilities they bear with people who can be trusted to keep confidence and "get it". A group of peers can provide that space - one of the group says the thing he most values about our times is that it gives him 2 hours head-space just to stop, pray, reflect.
Where's all this going? No idea frankly, but we will continue to explore together and dream of seeing hundreds of God's people engaged in business becoming the prophetic change agents that our world so desperately needs. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008 the world has been cryng out for new ways of doing business that model goodness, justice, equity, peace and LIFE ! Maybe we can play a small part in that.. or even something beyond our imaginations.
by Alan Magness, Transform Reading