The African American Network: Embracing Christians Who Work in the Marketplace

After resigning from my role within church and leaving my religious bubble, I had some time to reflect on the urban community context. I discovered that people are under the impression that church leaders or staff are God’s people and marketplace professionals are their companies’ people.

In my opinion, this mentality is a stumbling block to advancing the Gospel and transforming urban communities and cities. If we embrace marketplace Christians and carry the burden of being God’s people in the world, we can make a positive difference. We can achieve what Tim Keller calls the Gospel Movement. He defines it as:

“A gospel movement is this: a gospel movement happens in a city when across churches, across multiple denominations and networks, and beyond any one key leader or any one command center, or any one denomination, you actually have the body of Christ in the city geometrically growing, not just reconfiguring.”

He’s describing a movement that grows the kingdom of God through believers across all networks—working together to spread the Gospel, serve the poor and do social justice work.

I think this is brilliant and I have always desired to see this happen while working for a church. It just became too hard to be the only “God Rep.” —when marketplace Christians saw themselves differently (while at work). I often asked myself: Did their jobs disabled them from partaking in religious practices? Were they compartmentalizing their career from their Christianity?

Whatever their thoughts may be about their work, I believe black Christians have always considered church roles (i.e. pastor, teacher, prophet) more sacred than marketplace roles.

I believe we need a different theology to improve our community development and outreach efforts. We need to value both callings and embrace Christians in the marketplace. We need more sermons highlighting marketplace professional’s roles in spreading the gospel. We need them to feel like God’s reps at their companies.

This is why The Grow Center for Church and Mission at Northern Seminary decided to launch an African American Network for Christians in the marketplace. We want to convene Christian professionals in the marketplace to connect and innovate new ideas that will advance the Kingdom of God in communities and cities. We aim to do this through our annual Urban Marketplace Summit, Leadership Development, Mentorship and Hybrid Seminary Courses. Join us on June 4th to 5th at the Urban Marketplace Summit to find out more information and connect with our likeminded African American leaders.

Shammrie Brown  
Project Consultant, African American Network  
The Grow Center for Church and Mission 



P.S.  Hear from Hall Of Famers Lisa Leslie, Ray Lewis, Cris Carter; hip-hop artist Lecrae, and others about why you should attend our special gathering for the African-American Christian marketplace on Friday and Saturday, June 4th and 5th.

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