Winning the Spiritual Battle Raging Within Most Believers 

It’s rant time! A rant for all my fellow marketplace Christians.

Many church leaders fail to recognize our agonizing spiritual battle, one that 97% of church members fight every day. It’s a battle of our identity, purpose, and worth. It’s a battle that is seldom mentioned, recognized and certainly not resolved.

Until now.


A Sacred Cow Expedition

Anyone in business has heard the phrase “sacred cows.” Sacred cows are simply those written, or more often, the implied “rules and truths” on how things happen in any organization. They are unquestionable, unchangeable, and if ever mentioned or challenged in front of the bosses, our future career is in grave danger.

Or, as one of my favorite Christian artists, M.C. Hammer, would say, “U Can’t Touch This!” (Yeah, you’re humming the tune too — thank you Rick James for letting Hammer use your riff!)

Years ago, management consultant Robert Kriegel ,wrote a great book on managing change that epitomizes this short post entitled, Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers!

So here I go on a sacred cow grillin’ expedition that will expose and eliminate many of the sacred cows that haunt marketplace believers. And yes, I want you to list in the comments other sacred cows I’ve missed.

6 Sacred Cows That Must Die

Sacred Cow #1: Real ministry only happens at church.

If this were true, then what happens inside the church over the past 500+ years would have transformed the world. However, even with all the fine, truly wonderful ministries happening inside our churches, the huge ministry opportunities are in the marketplace.

With many surveys suggesting that less than 20% of Christians regularly attend a church, yet 80%+ go to work somewhere. That alone is a 4x differential in potential impact.

[I just took off the grill cover…]

Sacred Cow #2: If you want to do God’s work, you must surrender to full-time ministry. 

This one REALLY irks me.  It has haunted millions of marketplace believers over the years, including me.

All marketplace Christians have, at one time or another, fought the battle of asking, “is what I doing in the marketplace a kingdom-worthy ministry?” The answer is a resounding YES, for “ministry” (diakonia) simply means aid, attention, service. True ministry is not reserved for only inside the faith mountain.

[…time to fire it up ….]

Sacred Cow #3: The real heroes of faith are pastors, traveling evangelists and missionaries.

Any man and woman who sacrifices everything to go into full or part-time ministry are indeed heroes, and should be celebrated often. But they are NOT the only ones!

Look in any bookstore and you will see that THE MOST CELEBRATED heroes of faith are pastors, evangelists and missionaries.

Look at the Bible and you’ll see that most of THE MOST CELEBRATED heroes IN THE WORD are —— marketplace Christians —— like Abraham (farmer), Moses (shepherd/leader), Joshua & Caleb (warriors), Joseph (government administrator), Daniel (government advisor), David (warrior king), Paul (tent maker), and Peter (fisherman).

[…it’s getting warm now…]

Sacred Cow #4: The best way to spread the gospel is to bring people to church.

I am catching my breath now….exhale!

If this were true, then Jesus would have sat all day long in the synagogue and told his disciples (ministry staff) to “do whatever it takes to get people to COME TO ME – offer free stuff, tell them I’ll turn more water into wine, or feed them a big gourmet meal, whatever it takes.”

The gospels record that Jesus primarily went into the marketplace (parties, drinking wells, tax collectors houses, mountainsides, villages) to share the good news of salvation and power.

[…just slapped on a few patties…]

Sacred Cow #5: Church planting is THE best way to transform the kingdom.

Jesus did not say, “Go into all the world and plant churches.” Of course, houses of faith are critical, without question. Yet the fastest, most powerful way to transform a culture and share the gospel is through the marketplace.

Many countries that outlaw Christianity are 100% supportive of solid marketplace training to help their citizens become better business people and entrepreneurs.

[…smell that sizzle…]

Sacred Cow #6: Let’s remember to recognize our marketplace Christians at our annual giving service.

In traditional churches, marketplace Christians are the forgotten Christians… until the church needs more money for the next year’s budget, the new building fund, missions week, or the Pastor’s latest pet project.

Then, suddenly, we are important. Not by evil design or sinister plots, but by simple neglect over the years (and decades), where the only ones prayed over, focused upon or supported are — once again — pastors and evangelists just like our church leaders.

[…they’re done!]

Six New Transformational Truths

Rather than bury these truths under each of their sacred cows, I chose to  list them separately as the NEW transformational truths.

I encourage you to embrace them and to share with your pastors. (Yes, I did say that – to share them with your Pastors – let ME be the “bad guy” here.)

Truth #1: The marketplace is the primary place for saints to do the work of the ministry.

Truth #2: Marketplace Christians possess an equal anointing for our work.

Truth #3: God’s heroes are those ones who do His will wherever they are called.

Truth #4: The #1 missions field in the world is taking the church to the marketplace.

Truth #5: The best way to plant the kingdom in hostile territory is through marketplace transformation.

Truth #6: Kingdom churches purposefully & regularly recognize, anoint, and celebrate marketplace kings.

May these new truths bring you relief and a fresh sense of worth as you bring the kingdom to earth.

Now, what sacred cows did I miss? Please leave your comments below – am excited to see what you share.

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.


  • Kenneth says:

    I am a Pastor and I say Amen! This is a message I have been desperately trying to communicate to our soldiers in the pews! Thank you!

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Thank you Pastor Kenneth! I am blessed that you are NOT offended by this candid (and controversial) post. I commend you for celebrating your Marketplace Christians – those silent warriors that (most others) seldom recognize.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Thanks Taylor. Coming from a professional financial expert, I am encouraged that I did not “miss it” with this post.

  • Eric Snyder says:

    As usual, good stuff!

    However, in one sense, I do think “Sacred Cow #2” deserves the pasture rather than the grill! Until you realize that you ARE in the “full time ministry” no matter your occupation, vocation or avocation, your gifts won’t be fully realized in your sphere of influence.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Yep, you are right Eric. Too many faith families still succumb to the “real ministry is full-time pastoring/missionary” work.

  • Tim says:

    “The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.” I could be wrong , but to me this doesn’t apply in The Kingdom economy. I love and appreciate givers that do so cheerfully and freely, but we should examine whether or not we give with strings attached , like being seen of men or that we might wield influence. The widow of 1st King’s flour and oil wasn’t used up, not because she gave the most, but because she gave all she had!

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Tim, you are right – in the earthly kingdom, whoever has the gold (money) does rule. May our church families NOT play favorites with the wealthy in the congregation, but celebrate all marketplace heroes in their flock.

  • Sanford Ashley says:

    Drop the mic Dr. Jim!!

  • YES! Just exactly what my heart has been telling me and why I do the work I do. I’ll be sharing this post again and again!

  • David Nixon says:

    It’s because of a waitress in a truck stop and a truck line shop foreman that shared with my father how Christ changed their lives my father accepted Christ. My father was called into the ministry. He spent the last 32 years of his life as a missionary to the Indians of Northern Tribes. Hundreds of people know the Lord because of that waitress and shop foreman.

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