It is rare for the churches I’ve attended to invite others to the front to share. It’s typically reserved for progress reports of church ministries and events, visiting ministry partners, and people leaving to go on missions trips.
She fell into that last category. They called her forward one Sunday, gave her time to share, prayed over and commissioned her. She was nervous but passionate, her pale cheeks flushing as she shared her desire to serve God and be willing to take risks for Him.
I had once been her—a graduating senior, about to embark on an international ministry adventure. Freshly out of school for the first time since age five. Leaving behind the security of family, friends, culture, schedule. It was exhilarating and terrifying—like plunging from a cliff.
She was praised by the pastor. I remember him saying, “I want to thank you and commend you for taking this step of faith. You could have done anything with this next year, but you’ve decided to entrust it to the Lord. You’re going to the true frontline of mission.”
I thought of the other students, clustered throughout the sanctuary, those entering traditional, not explicitly Christian jobs, those who would never be called to the front. What was being communicated to them as they watched their classmate at the front of the sanctuary?
The girl with the long flowing hair and quick smile, about to enter a grueling MFA program.
The boy with the auburn beard and flannel carefully tucked into belted jeans, who had already secured an engineering job.
The girl with the cropped dark hair and thick framed glasses, working the late night shift at the hospital.
Were they not on mission’s frontline? Were they not faithfully entrusting their lives to God? Was their decision to enter the workforce a lesser calling?
Even if church leaders would balk at such a suggestion, it’s sadly what gets implicitly (or explicitly) communicated by how we talk and what we celebrate.
Sometimes obedience and faith lead us to seminary or to a foreign nation. Sometimes obedience and faith lead us to cultivating a small business or working a traditional nine to five. There is no divide between them—they are simply different callings, with their own joys, challenges, and temptations.
Both invite us into the thrilling adventure of watching and participating in God’s work in the world. Both uniquely position us to live faithfully as disciples of Christ. Both are on the frontline of mission.
I can see them now—face after face of Christians I know who work “normal” jobs each day, who faithfully go about their work, as disciples of Christ. Their stories go unheard, uncelebrated. They do not scatter out into their workplaces with the sense that the Church is commissioning and supporting them in their work.
But we can begin to change that through the stories we tell. As church leaders, we can pause to celebrate stories of everyday faithfulness. These everyday saints in our midst have stories to tell. They are stories of how God is working in our ordinary lives, of how He uses our work to shape us as His disciples. They are stories of how He enters our simple human existence and touches it with His glory. These stories are all around us, if only we take the time to listen.
Article reposted and adapted with permission from dianagruver.com. Diana Gruver (MA, Gordon-Conwell) writes about discipleship and spiritual formation in the every day. She is the author of Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt. You can find her online at www.dianagruver.com or on Facebook or Twitter. Diana originally published this work with the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021), which was founded to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library.