This is the first in a series of reviews of books written by local writers. We have a wealth of talented South African writers and RUC’s WriteOn! Group will be highlighting just a few of their books over the next few months.
Review by Cheryl-Lyn Selman
It has been one of the great tragedies of the last two decades to witness the church largely turn silent on the subject of ministry in the marketplace. We’ve been in the ‘Great Regression’, going back to thinking about ministry as too time consuming in our frenzied world as we climb the corporate ladder, get married, start a family, study further, acquire assets. Too politically incorrect and best left to the private sphere, appropriate for church settings and Sundays. Too demanding when full-time ministry is the preserve of those with a seemingly higher calling as church workers and pastors, missionaries and evangelists. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dr. Oliobi sketches with solid biblical reference how God has called and gifted by far the overwhelming majority of His body, to serve in the marketplace. How ministry and the rest of our lives were never intended to be separated, what ministry actually is and how we can start to live one unified life in service of God no matter what we’re doing and what day of the week it is. Dr Oliobi calls Christians to leave their ‘froggish’ ways behind, those ways of staying put. Comfortable. Numb. Waiting for a great big chance to glorify God to come within an inch, and instead become marketplace ministers who take up the ways of the lizard. Lizards don’t sit still for very long. They’re found in stock exchanges, boardrooms and palaces, in warehouses, hospitals and in retail stores, places of lavish luxury and places that are cold, wet, and dark. The marketplace minister that thinks and moves like the lizard is one who lives with integrity and reaches out in kindness, deals ethically no matter the cost and grows to lead, serves out of love and earns the right to share the gospel. One who learns, understands the times we’re living in – the great issues of our day, focuses and becomes very effective, skilled at their work, and so serves before kings.
This book is a great read for anyone who wants to understand what ministry ought to look like for those of us who make up the 95% of Christians who God meets every day in the marketplace. Dr. Oliobi gives practical steps to achieving growth and progress, warnings on some of the obstacles we will face along the way, and issues throughout the text, a heartfelt call to commit our lives every day to seeking and finding the opportunities right in front of us and taking them up.
Dr. Oliobi writes with a delightful clarity and simplicity typical of a great mentor and father, as someone who has walked a long road with the Lord, is deeply rooted in the Word and has gained a heart of wisdom.
This is an important book for where God is taking our generation. My prayer is that copies would find their way into hundreds of thousands of hands, and that as the pages are turned and the Holy Spirit’s kiss turns frogs into lizards, the church would go back to work and find the eternal joy of bringing the kingdom of God to real life in every big and small way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chris Oliobi graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. He also holds a Masters Degree in Epidemiology and Economics from the University of Reading in the UK, and practiced veterinary epidemiology for many years, controlling and eradicating zoonotic diseases in Nigeria and West Africa. He and his equally gifted wife Chi continued to disciple, mentor and coach couples and individuals in the marketplace community until 1985 when they committed to full-time focus with The Navigators, an international, interdenominational ministry working in over 100 countries to disciple and equip moms to military personnel to make an impact around them for God’s glory.
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