The Words of the Graham Family

We Value Everyone's Frontlines

Robin Graham
September 12, 2011

I first wrote about the frontline and UTS back in a Cornerstone of 2005 and a re-edited version was published in October 2010:

The concept of whole life disciple-making being spearheaded by the LICC, a leading evangelical training institute in London, confirms that UTS Alumni being on the frontlines have the amazing opportunity to advance God's providence. This article helps us answer the question: Where is my frontline? Robin Graham (UTS '80)

This is part of a series of posts on 5 Values for a Whole-life Disciplemaking Church. It is part of the outreach of THE LONDON INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIANITY and

We Value Everyone's Frontlines

Everyone has a frontline beyond the congregation, a place that they spend most of their time. We recognize that this place is enormously significant as a context for both mission and discipleship. We are committed to helping each other see the significance of the place that God has put us and how we may accompany Him in His purposes there.

'For Christian faith not to be idle in the world, the work of doctors and garbage collectors, business executives and artists, stay-at-home moms or dads and scientists needs to be inserted into God's story with the world. That story needs to provide the most basic rules by which the game in all these spheres is played. And that story needs to shape the character of the players.'
Miroslav Volf

Over the past twenty years, the church has become better at recognizing the significance of many people's vocations. Years ago, many evangelicals assumed that the top job for a Christian to have in God's eyes was to be an overseas missionary living by faith. This was clearly sacrificial, often challenging and occasionally there would be no awareness of the fruitfulness of the work for many years, if ever. Below this in the assumed godly career ladder were ministers and church workers. If you weren't able to be employed directly in these tasks, there was always your voluntary time that could be used for the important work.

Now we are at a stage when other careers are easily recognized as having kingdom value: the health care professions, teaching and social work all are closely connected to the traditional pastoral functions of a church. So these career tracks get quite a lot of support in Christian circles. But we are still uncertain as to the service industries, the retail sector and the ever developing leisure industry. And if prayer is offered for bankers, there may be more than a hint of the imprecatory psalms. And these are only the work Frontlines…we believe that everyone has a frontline and that everyone's frontline matters. Each member of the church, young or old, from playground to nursing home, has a frontline, each with various challenges and opportunities for disciples.

The whole life disciple making church will highlight and celebrate these places as the arenas in which God will not only use people for His glory, but also shape His people into His image.

Imagine what that might look like in your church community…a place where everyone is able to identify their frontline and knows why it is significant in God's purposes, a place where people are commissioned to the frontline, a place where people are excited about life on their frontline and growing in the skill of identifying where and how God is at work there, a place where people are able to share their struggles on the Frontline with others in similar contexts and imagine new ways forward there as followers of Christ, a place where people share stories about how God is using them on their frontline, a place where the frontline is listened to and celebrated…

Expanding the value

So, to embrace this value means…

1) We recognize that everyone (young or old, working or not, sick or well) has a frontline

2) We expect that God is at work on the frontline both shaping and using us

3) We affirm the significance of the frontline as a place of growth

4) We recognize that the frontline and the need to equip each other for it will impact our life together as a community

5) We are committed to exploring the Kingdom purposes of each frontline

6) We help each other see the significance and value of their frontline in God's purposes

7) We encourage our members to know one another's frontlines. 

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