From the beginning of opening business social media accounts, as a marketplace professional, I have been intentional about incorporating pastors and para church ministry leaders into my communities as “followers”. The Why is very simple. We need each other. The Marketplace needs and benefits from the influence and insights of mature spiritual leadership, ministry leaders depend on the skills and resources delivered from an innovative Marketplace to move their visions forward.
In the spring of 2011, I witnessed this relational need during a time of total devastation. In the transition back to my hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL, I watched, stunned, as meteorologists began frantically broadcasting during a “perfect storm” of atmospheric collisions resulting in an EF-4 tornadic holocaust that cut a 6 mile long swath of devastation killing 56 and taking out 12% of the physical buildings in the city. Immediately, church and lay and marketplace leaders moved into overdrive to save lives and rescue thousands of citizens. It took 3 years for the city to recover. Observing this concert of ministry and marketplace blending forces to create unified chords of hope, healing and restoration was a breathtaking, life altering event. (May 2011: Sacred Ramblings, Equip the Bride: https://wp.me/p1zoxs-k )
I witnessed the church and para church ministries immediately respond to citywide trauma by creating individual “city halls” each with their own leadership structure, and systems of communication and distribution channels to serve the recovery efforts with speed and efficiency for each “embassy”. Its Ambassadors; spiritual and marketplace leaders worked in different capacities; the spiritual leadership moved quickly to provide an efficient platform of infrastructure from which to work providing staff, physical space, communication and distribution channels while marketplace (and then government) moved with speed and agility, providing vital resources of people, time and money through this stabilized infrastructure to create, innovate, and restore order as quickly as possible.
If you are a business person and feel that a church or para church ministry leader may not be a fit for your Linkedin account, I respectfully submit – this is misguided. Incorporating these leaders into your “sphere” is not just for the purposes of disaster prep. You need them and they need you. People in ministry have accepted the highest call. It’s far easier to become a University professor, a real estate practitioner, an attorney or a business owner, than walking out the vigorous testing journey required for accepting and walking out a ministry career call. Most spiritual leaders are highly educated, but more importantly – they hear from God and have the ability to move and operate from a spirit driven perspective. This form of operating system is crucial for survival now and will be more so in the days ahead. If you had someone on your board that could accurately provide advice that could avert a really bad decision saving thousands would it not be worth it, even if it did not appear they possessed the technical experience to make those decisions? You can have this.
Job 32:8 “But there is (a vital force) a spirit [ of intelligence ] in man, and the breadth of the Almighty gives men understanding. ”
Proverbs 2:8 “He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it up for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him): He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity, That He may guard the paths of justice, yes, He preserves the way of His saints.”
Proverbs 24:5-6 “A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power. For by wise counsel you can wage war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety.”
But this relationship model goes both ways. In 2013-2015, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. T.L. Lowery multiple times as well as attend his 70 years of Service Celebration at the T.L. Lowery Foundation in Cleveland. A stream of internationally known pastors stepped to the podium to praise and thank him for his many achievements. Dr. Lowery was a prolific healing evangelist in the 50’s and 60’s, using a “canvas cathedral” housing 10,000 people in every city that he reached during a 17 year period. ( Impartation video: https://youtu.be/FsIXkxT578I )
T.L. Lowery, Ph.D, held one earned doctorate, and was awarded two more. He pastored two churches, one in his home town of Cleveland TN, the other in Washington DC. (The latter, the National Church of God, is currently led by his son, Stephen). Dr. Lowery built a Christian school, started a bible college and seminary, built homes for the elderly and established the T.L. Lowery Foundation. He authored 87 books, edited 3 magazines, wrote multitudes of teaching articles and traveled to over 100 nations.
A prolific Apostolic and prophetic teacher, he brought multitudes to Christ through his life’s work which was more than enough but not for him. In addition to pastoring, teaching and writing; T.L. Lowery was a leader in civic organizations, serving faithfully in his community and nationally – an Ambassador to Project One for the United Nations, and in local leadership roles for the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, the United Way and Rotary. Yes, the great T.L. Lowery was also a Rotarian! He died at the age of 87 on February 21, 2016. Interestingly, this date was one year to the day Rev. Billy Graham died as well as Doug Coe, founder of the National Prayer Breakfast. Three American evangelical leaders died within a 12 month period on the same date.
Marketplace professionals with access to ministry leadership should ask themselves how they can incorporate these leaders into the business realm. Ministry leaders – how can you incorporate yourself into the business arena as well as become proactive in your efforts to build relationships within and outside of your current sphere of influence? How can you establish yourself as a community leader outside of your “embassy”? The strength of the fabric in our community’s is dependent on the number of threads effectively sewn between ministry and marketplace leadership.
Dr. T.L. Lowery and Tracy Gatewood following a fiery preaching session in 2013. On that day, the devil didn’t have a prayer anywhere in Mississippi!
Sacred Ramblings All Rights Reserved
This article appeared on Marketplace & Ministry (WordPress)
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Author: Doorways of Grace: My Uncommon Journey to Healing, Wholeness and Meeting Jesus (Amazon 2015 )