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From left: Marcia Futel of Chuck Futel and Associates; Chuck Proudfit of AWOP; Chuck Futel; and Reggie McNeal, missional leadership expert. (Oak Tree Communications Photo)

Church leaders need to get out into the community to address social issues such as poverty and unemployment. And, congregations that want to engage Millennials have to have a ministry agenda that includes social justice and community engagement.

CINCINNATI, Ohio

The U.S. is becoming a “post-congregational world” where people will have to be a microcosm of church in the community at large, said missional leadership expert Reggie McNeal recently to At Work on Purpose (AWOP) leaders at the Grace Chapel campus in Mason, Ohio.

McNeal of Leadership Network in Dallas, Tex, is the author of 10 books on missional leadership and speaks regularly to church congregations nationwide about motivating people, leaders, congregations and church organizations to pursue the Kingdom of God more intentionally, according to his website. He addressed about 20 AWOP leaders.

AWOP, located in Blue Ash, Ohio and the Grace Chapel campus in Mason, is the nation’s largest citywide marketplace ministry. AWOP is a networked community of 9,000 working Christians. The nonprofit was formed in 2003 by a dozen working Christians who had a desire to help greater Cincinnati Christians integrate their faith lives at work by helping people connect where the Holy Spirit leads them.

McNeal acknowledged that many Millennials are not attending neighborhood churches on a regular basis, yet want to be mentored.

“The Church is a movement and not an institution,” he said. “If you’re under 30, you know you don’t have to go to a theater to see a movie, or to a bank to get money, or to a record store to buy music. Similarly, many people no longer feel they have to go to a church to find God or to develop spiritually.”

McNeal said church leaders need to get out into the community to address social issues such as poverty and unemployment. And, congregations that want to engage Millennials have to have a ministry agenda that includes social justice and community engagement.

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. is the most Christian country in the world, with about 70 percent of adults identifying themselves as Christians. That number fell from 78 percent to 70 percent from 2007 to 2014, though, while the number of adults who indicated they were atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” grew almost seven percent to about 23 percent of the population.

“People connect to people, not institutions,” said Chuck Proudfit, AWOP founder and president. “They begin to care about your mission when they realize that you care about them individually. Whatever resources we have in the marketplace today, we possess to create new ideas and mindsets that can create jobs and grow the pie. We should spread ideas in a way that lifts all boats.”

Proudfit cited AWOP’s structure as one that mimics the early Church as well as the Church of the future. “The healthy growth God has been blessing us with is not institutional,” he said. “Our answer to growth is not to build buildings and superstructures, but to harness people and their energies. We try to live the church by being where we all are—it’s countercultural.”

AWOP is an “ekklesia,” or a community called out to identify felt needs in the community, eliminate poverty and transform lives one at a time. Proudfit joined forces with the Rev. Jeff Greer, pastor at Grace Chapel, to form BIZNISTRIES®, faith-based enterprises whose profits fund ministry advancement.

AWOP offers ministries that include a monthly roundtable “collaboratory” meeting for Christian business executives, business owners and nonprofit leaders; Mission2Monday study groups to guide participants toward faith-filled lives at work; Citywide Marketplace Ministry to launch and grow marketplace ministries; Purposeful Employment Network (PEN) to help people pursue vocations to fulfill God’s call; and Neighborhoods Embracing Transformation (NET), which aims to transform neighborhoods by caring for people’s spiritual, relational, motivational and material health.

For more information about AWOP programs and ministries, visit http://www.atworkonpurpose.org or call (800) 513-9580.                

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Contact: Laura Jackson
Email: ljackson(at)skillsource(dot)com
Phone: (800) 477-2652

About At Work on Purpose:

At Work on Purpose is the nation's largest citywide marketplace ministry, with almost 9,000 networked members in the greater Cincinnati and Miami Valley region. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping everyday Christians find and fulfill God's purposes for them at work.

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