"How much of this the emerging conversation is about language, and how much about practice? I mean, when the average emerging church person goes to work, do they do anything differently than your typical Christian?" a friend of mine recently asked.
"Boy, I hope so," I responded. I thought to myself -- if there is no change in the daily lives of ordinary people, then this whole thing has been a huge waste of time. Thankfully, I do believe the life changes of emerging church Christians are significant.
I went on to describe a few of the changed practices of emerging church Christians (on their best days!). Because of an emphasis on Jesus and the kingdom, and the recognition that the sacred/secular split ought not exist, the perspective on workplace interaction changes dramatically (just as it does with the school, the neighborhood, the club, the pub, etc). Instead of a sole focus on individual evangelism with a possible invitation to church, the kingdom-minded person thinks within other categories. What would it look like if Jesus were here? What would it look like if the marginal voices here got a say in things? What would it look like if people were paid fairly for their work? What might it mean for our company if we made products or offered services that actually help people, actually resemble God's goodness? What would it take to create an environment of creativity rather than control? The kingdom-minded agent would look to embody God's reign both in their individual responsibilities and in the corporation as a whole. As an advocate on the inside, he or she would look to create alternatives to the dominating practices of that particular institution. By serving as such a prophetic example, other possibilities for action become viable options within the organization.
This is a proclamation of good news that knows no bounds between sacred and secular. Evangelism becomes an invitation for others to live in this redemptive way as well -- to embody servanthood, hospitality, and freedom in contexts that are anything but. Jesus is our example of transforming culture from within. By living in such a way, we demonstrate that God is just as concerned with our body as with our spirit, with what we build as with what we think, and with our world as much as with our sanctuary.