September 2020 – “Would you please pray for me today?” the message read. “My family’s been threatened again.”
Surprisingly, this message did not come from a pastor in a third world country or an overly turbulent part of the globe. This area is not known for its anti-Christian rhetoric or its violent militant presence.
The sender was a Christian restaurant owner in Tennessee. The recipient was Jerry Moll, founder and president of Living Sent Ministries (LSM).
For this exact reason, Moll founded LSM in 2009, with the sole intention of supporting Christian business leaders in America and encouraging others to follow Christ within their professions.
“Our purpose is to inspire and equip business and professional leaders to live out their Christian faith,” Moll told AFA Journal. “We talk about connecting Sunday to Monday.”
Marketplace culture in America did not always oppose Christianity. Today, Christian owners receive death threats, but when America was founded, individuals were not shamed for publically following Jesus.
“It’s a historical lie,” said Moll, “to think that America was not formed to be a Christian nation. Embedded into our history is the fact that the nation was formed to honor God [and] to honor Christ.”
However, since the founding of the nation, the American culture has changed. When culture shifted, it pulled the marketplace in the same direction, eventually arriving at a culture where Christians receive death threats.
“We have incrementally moved away from the intention of our Founding Fathers step by step,” Moll explained. “Some of it is out of ignorance and some of it by people very intentionally … to move us in a different direction so they can impose their worldview upon us as believers. It’s a different worldview than the Founding Fathers had in mind and certainly a different view than Christ has in mind.”
“Our challenge now,” Moll continued, “is to point people back to the truth of God’s Word.”
Work is not a human invention or a product of the fall as many have falsely attributed to it. Work is a creation of the Lord, a vital thread that runs through humanity and culture today.
The Lord is clear from the start, in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
“The first words in the Bible,” explains Moll, “God is telling us He’s a God of work. Our work matters to God, and it is a form of worship.”
However, the aspect of work does not end with God. It is expected that humans use work in a noble and glorifying manner. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
After creating Adam, and before the fall, God gave him a charge of work: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).
To develop businesses and companies that glorify the Lord, LSM has developed four main steps. Through this process, LSM members strive to bring change in each business they interact with, which can lead to change in entire cities.
First is attraction. Through this step, LSM develops a relationship with a business leader and begins to inspire that person to live out a Christian walk at work.
In 2000, Billy Graham said, “I believe one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace.”
The reason is simple: “That’s where the majority of lost people are,” stated Moll.
Second is incarnation. During this season, Moll and other leaders at LSM teach business leaders the important abilities of serving and leading like Jesus Christ.
“Learning to serve and lead like Christ is the best method of running any organization,” said Moll. “He is the greatest leader to walk the Earth. So, if you learn how to serve and lead like Him, you’re going to serve and lead better.”
Step three is mission. During this phase, the business leader is taught how to reach out to others and spread the Gospel among co-workers, customers, and others in the organization.
“If every believer who was working did one more thing to advance the kingdom through their job, we could change the nation,” said Moll. “And to me, that is what’s at stake.”
The final step in the progression to “living sent” is transformation. Through the presence of Christ-centered leaders, the business as a whole can undergo two specific types of transformation: internal and external.
“Internal missions,” said Moll, “would be the individuals who are living sent at their places of work, through all their contacts. It might be fellow employees, customers, vendors, etc.
“Then there are folks who live sent externally, which might be leaders who are using their resources to help enterprises in Africa, or they’re working with the local rescue mission in their city. They’re outside of their immediate sphere of influence, but they’re living sent and using the resources God has given them to help do that.”
Moll and others at LSM strive to make themselves available whenever an individual wants to take steps toward conducting a business for the glory of Christ. To produce this on a citywide spectrum, LSM assembles a group of 12 individuals from that city to help lead the charge of transforming businesses.
“If it was good enough for Christ, it’s good enough for us,” said Moll.
This team, however, is not only comprised of business owners, but leaders from a multitude of arenas. For example, “We have pastors, judges, school principals, nonprofit leaders,” Moll explained.
These 12 individuals help LSM establish an impact in their city. Thus far, Living Sent Ministries has roughly 1,600 individuals involved in businesses throughout America, and their reach continues to grow. As more companies around the nation begin to use their platforms to represent Christ, more cities and communities will be transformed. To Moll, that is the greatest result one could hope for.
“The leader’s greatest return is to develop other people,” said Moll. “Building the kingdom of God matters, and we know that the marketplace is a great opportunity. This is about eternity, which is the greatest thing we can do.”
An honest day’s labor
Labor Day was first observed Tuesday, September 25, 1882, in New York City. Twelve years later, 23 other states had begun to celebrate the holiday, leading President Grover Cleveland to sign a new law declaring the first Monday in September each year a national holiday. A man named Peter J. McGuire, who was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, is often credited with the idea for Labor Day.
In the words of McGuire, the day was meant to celebrate those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” More than a century later, we still celebrate Labor Day, in honor of the men and women across this great nation who continue to work tirelessly to provide for their families, strengthen the American economy, and create the grandeur that we still behold today.
To learn more about Living Sent Ministries, visit livingsentministries.org or call 615.447.2520.