Welcome to At Work on Purpose!
We’re a community of over 8,000 working Christians in Cincinnati, Ohio. We’re committed to restoring full Christian commitment and contribution to work, starting right where we work and live. We’ve prepared this web page specifically for visitors who have viewed Chuck Proudfit’s address to the 2016 Faith@Work Summit in Dallas, Texas.
The focus of Chuck’s presentation was Ekklesia, understanding its context and implications for today’s Church at Work. Here is some additional material we hope you find helpful.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus is typically quoted to say, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”. In this passage, the exact translation of the word church is “Ekklesia”, and that’s significant because Ekklesia was a concept predating Jesus’ birth by hundreds of years. The Ekklesia originated in Greece as a governing assembly, but it was perfected by the Roman Empire.
When Rome would conquer a territory, they would win the peace by sending out what they called an Ekklesia – a small number of upstanding Roman citizens, who would move in with the locals, acculturating them in the language and lifestyle of Rome, until everyone around them walked and talked like a Roman. It’s striking that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus did NOT say, “I will build my synagogue” or “I will build my Temple”, although He loved them both.
Jesus said “I will build my Ekklesia – a small number of fully devoted followers who will infiltrate the culture around them for Christ, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” This was a brilliant strategy on Jesus’ part. He was co-opting a familiar Roman concept and infusing it with Kingdom DNA. The Early Church executed this strategy with excellence, and its spiritual influence was soon to reach across the Roman Empire – and beyond.
Centuries later, when King James of England commissioned the King James version of the Bible, he issued an edict to the editors. Wherever they found the word “ekklesia”, they were to replace it with the word “church”. This was a political decision. King James understood that the Church had influence in culture, so to better manage that influence he wanted to “house” the worship in the “houses of worship”. We see a similar pattern today in places like China, which has state-sponsored churches, but where the real work of the Church is underground, in the marketplace as an Ekklesia.
At Work on Purpose has harnessed the insights of Ekklesia into a 21st Century expression for impact in today’s work world. We pursue “citywide marketplace ministry” to focus on:
- Restoring the city’s marketplace for Christ, one job, one employer, one industry at a time.
- Engaging committed working Christians across church homes, denominations, zip codes and ministries.
- Operating as a spiritual network of influence throughout an entire city.
- Connecting marketplace resources to city reaching initiatives, so we can better transform the communities where we work and where we live.
Our infrastructure is inter-connected relationships, where a working Christian has a specific identity in an area of focus (for example, as a corporate chaplain), and a general identity as the “big C” Church at work. Ultimately, At Work on Purpose becomes part of the much larger Ekklesia we all call the marketplace ministry movement.
At Work on Purpose is on call for you as an ongoing resource. Please visit our full website, www.atworkonpurpose.org, for detailed information on initiatives like:
- Mission2Monday: an innovative small group study series on faith and work
- BIZNISTRY: Christ-centered enterprise geared for Kingdom impact in the marketplace
- Citywide Marketplace Ministry: a comprehensive “how to” kit for launching in your city
- NET (Neighborhoods Embracing Transformation): city reaching with the marketplace
For questions or comments, feel free to Contact Us.
Chuck Proudfit and Jeff Greer
BIZNISTRY: Transforming Lives through Enterprise, P5 Publications, 2013
Available at www.amazon.com
Citywide Marketplace Ministry in a Box, P5 Publications, 2015
Available at www.atworkonpurpose.org
Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Design for the Church, Cross Training Publishing, 2009
Available at www.amazon.com
Ekklesia: Rediscovering What Jesus Designed the Church For, Baker House, 2017
Available Spring 2017 at www.amazon.com