In his very accessible and practical book, Fruitfulness on the Frontlines, London’s Mark Greene offers a very helpful framework for Christians trying to live out their faith. The framework is notable for at least three reasons. First, it is broadly applicable. Believers of any age, in any vocation (paid or unpaid), in any sector (public, private, or nonprofit), and any job type (blue-collar, pink-collar, white-collar) can use it. Second, it is based on a Biblically grounded understanding of “fruitfulness” that takes evangelism seriously while simultaneously recognizing that new converts are not the only “fruit” that God is concerned about. Third, it’s easy to memorize.
Greene, Executive Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and international leader in the faith and work conversation, calls it the 6Ms framework.
M1 is “model godly character.” Any believer in any position can always seek with the help of God’s Spirit to display the fruit of the Spirit. Whether in happy or grim work conditions, whether in the job we were made for or the job that’s just paying the bills, Christians bear fruit in the Kingdom when we are patient, humble, self-controlled, and kind. Whatever the work in front of us, whether as volunteers or paid employees, whether in the home or school or neighborhood or factory or office, we can always ask ourselves what the fruit of the Spirit looks like in the situation we’re in—and then seek to live into it.
M2 is for “make good work.” Colossians 3:23 reminds us to do every task as unto the Lord. We make good work when we commit our daily tasks to God, seeking through our labors—profound or mundane—to glorify Him. We can “make good work” in almost endless ways. Greene summarizes four key categories: work that creates order; that generates provision; that brings joy; and that creates beauty. The umbrella we can place over all four is simply “contributing to flourishing.”
M3 is for “ministering grace and love.” Greene suggests several examples of this one: “offering a nugget of advice, looking out for a colleague, caring about the checkout person, taking an initiative on someone else’s behalf, going beyond what we have to.” This “M” is about reflecting God’s generosity; imitating His way of graciousness with others that goes beyond the basic requirements, that offers forgiveness, and takes the initiative to care.
M4 is for “molding culture.” We do this any time we contribute to making things (or reforming things) to better express kingdom priorities. It happens, Greene reminds us, in both the public and private spheres; in the halls of power and in the hallways of our homes. It happens through simple things like bringing in cake to the office or offering a hug to the pharmacist who’s been serving us for the past 5 years. It happens when believers champion healthy workplace cultures that honor all employees and treat customers fairly. It happens when industry leaders decide to be counter-cultural for the common good.
M5 is for “being a mouthpiece of truth and justice.” Everyone from children on the playground to C-level leaders in the board room have opportunities to speak out against injustice and speak up for those being treated unfairly. Greene elaborates:
Being a mouthpiece for truth and justice…might involve sticking up for your neighbor in a dispute with the local council, or for an elderly parent or an autistic child. It might involve blowing the whistle on an incompetent doctor in your hospital, or on a builder who has fraudulently and dangerously not constructed a building to the required safety standard. It might involve challenging a work colleague about the hours being charged to a particular client or taking on an unjust appraisal system.
Finally, M6 is about “being a messenger of the gospel.” The other 5 Ms have already shown us numerous ways to demonstrate the work of the gospel in our lives and show God’s lovingkindness through our actions. But Greene rightly argues that people need to hear us as well as see us. His counsel is wise and practical. He instructs believers to start with prayer and care. Then, we find natural ways to offer biblical perspectives on the topics people are already talking about. The goal is “not to manufacture an opportunity to speak out the gospel and then heave a sigh of relief as all our pent-up guild thuds to the floor.” Rather, believers should seek to listen well; share our personal stories about the difference Jesus makes in our daily lives; and explain the good news of Jesus’ invitation to a new, joyous way of life.
The 6M framework offers Christ-followers great questions to ask ourselves about our attitudes and actions on all the personal “frontlines” in our lives, like the places we work, shop, play, and study. We can ask God to show us the specific people on our frontlines among whom we can model godly character, minister grace and love, and address with grace and truth. We can pray to God for strength to make good work, seeking others’ flourishing, and to do our part in transforming the cultures in which we labor in ways that bring them into greater alignment with His kingdom values and priorities. And faithfulness in these Ms can earn us the right to speak plainly and winsomely about the One who is empowering us to walk in the ways of love and justice.
Dr. Amy L. Sherman is a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute and is author of Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good (IVP).