Dean Andrea Scott’s Global Workplace Forum 2019 Experience
In June 2019, I joined over 900 participants from 110 countries at Lausanne’s Global Workplace Forum 2019 (GWF2019). We met at Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Manila, Philippines to explore how to integrate vs. separate faith and work in a believer’s life. Echoing Billy Graham’s belief that the “next great move of God is going to be through believers in the workplace,” Michael Oh, Global Executive Director / CEO of the Lausanne Movement reminded us “the Great Commission can never be fulfilled by pastors and missionaries alone.” This is an especially poignant reminder for those of us who are called to non-religious professions or workplaces.
Accordingly, after 40 years of convening global church leaders Lausanne mixed it up and invited Christians whose primary place of work was outside of the church or ministry organization. GWF2019 participants included CEOs and entrepreneurs, manual laborers, investors, self-employed and those who work as homemakers or caregivers—an authentic representation of the global workforce! It was a great thrill to be invited into this worldwide conversation as I had heard about Lausanne while an undergraduate Wheaton College student and never imagined I would be eligible to attend since I did not perceive “missionary work” in my future.
As this summary video Link notes, the forum challenged attendees to reframe their understanding of the import and spiritual practice of work as calling, as purpose, as worship. One workshop outlined six M’s that can inspire excellence in our vocation: we can MODEL godly character, we can MAKE good work, we can MINISTER with grace and love, we can MOLD culture, we can be a MOUTHPIECE for truth and justice and we can be a MESSENGER of the Gospel. Hearing this reminded me that believers have myriad opportunities to live and work with their entire being and entire doing to the glory of God. Wow!
One of the most enriching aspects of my time with fellow Christians from all over the world was the humility that permeated the entire experience. That stature of Godly surrender is perhaps my greatest takeaway. Although many attendees were well-known and highly-respected leaders from every corner of the globe, ego was absent. Brilliant minds and profound eloquence were standard fare; yet the spirit of service and deference dominated. A common and deep commitment to making Jesus known above all has led to great professional success for many of Christian leaders in business and beyond. May I encourage each of us as we go about our daily work to not only bring our whole self to our workplace, but to also yield our whole self to Christ’s transformational place at work.