To you who see the workplace as your harvest field for Christ, this letter is to you. For you who want to pursue the prize as Paul says in Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” I write to you. The Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce was birthed during a 3 week spiritual fast and intentional prayer in January of 2007. During that time, I didn’t feel the sense of any grand spiritual epiphany. I was just hungry. But I was determined for a “breakthrough”. I prayed to commit my ways to the Lord. I wanted to work for Him and not man anymore. I wanted to realize the capacity of my gifting and talents. I realized after achieving a very lucrative and successful career with the leading job board in the world, I was still unfulfilled. I had the bank account and the accolades but no desire to do this work anymore. So, as many of you I took a leap of faith to embark on a “crooked path” to find my calling. I left my employment to pursue truth. Along the way, I found a “target market” so to speak. A gap in the marketplace where there was little or no community or communication among believers. No forum existed from a Christian perspective on how to deal with the daily trials, plug into professional development opportunities for spiritual growth, or be a more effective Christian beyond Sunday service. I couldn’t find a church to fit me. I wanted to do more beyond my Sunday worship. As a single mother, reality told me I couldn’t become a missionary. In my research and encounters in the course of a year, I found others who shared this frustration in their professional journey as believers as well. But I have found many yearning for more of a connection. I found the Christian professional community was trying with a group here and there, but still fragmented…disconnected and ineffective. Thinking about how to create a “sticky net” to build a larger community of believers led to research Christian business associations on the internet.
I found the name “Christian Chamber of Commerce” in a results search on Google. I noticed there were about 20 Christian chambers across the country. None of them affiliated, none of them financed. No communication between them. No national convention. Upon further research, they had all developed independently within the last 2 to 3 years. This was a sign to me that God was moving in the marketplace.
I had to scratch my head. Buckle of the Bible belt? Headquarters of denominations and Christian Universities? A home for 3,500 churches? Where as the community of believers in the marketplace? Why was there no Christian Chamber of Commerce in Tennessee? We have a Black Chamber, Junior Chamber, Chinese Chamber, Gay & Lesbian Chamber and 25 regional chambers.
As Ed Silvoso says in his book, Anointed for Business – How to Use Your Influence in the Marketplace to Change the World, “there is a perceived wall between commercial pursuit and service to God that continues to be a barrier to advancing His Kingdom.”. My goal is to breakdown that barrier through the Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce. My prayers are for people and resources to manifest the impact this organization can have on our local community, the state and the country.
After all was said and done, I realized I was the Poster Child for marketplace ministry. I was introduced to the Lord by an insurance salesman (my spiritual father, Dominic Costanzo) with an ad in the Christian Phonebook about 12 years ago. In my mind, this is what the Tennessee Christian Chamber is all about. Now see the Fruit of the Spirit!
I invite your participation. Come join us. Let’s see what God can do!
Warmest regards and Blessings,