ABC's hiring last year of evangelical Christian Peggy Wehmeyer (CT, Aug. 15, 1994, p. 15) as network television's first religion beat reporter is not an aberration, according to Christian observers. Rather, it is a sign of things to come, as the "marketplace Christians" movement comes of age.

This movement, which had its birth pangs a decade ago, has evolved through a growing number of Christians frustrated with how little relevance Sunday's teachings had to do with their weekday work.

"The people in the pews are agitated," says Pete Hammond, director of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's (IVCF) Marketplace Department. "For too long, there has been very little for Christians needing to know how to apply their faith to the marketplace."

Now there are more than 200 books on faith and the workplace, including "Thank God, It's Monday," by William Diehl. In addition, there are 15 organizations focusing on ministry of the laity in the workplace.

Hammond says that, traditionally, when Christians have thought about "calling," it has fallen into the realm of missions, "Christian" service such as working for a church or a religious institution, or among helping professionals such as doctors, nurses, and social workers. What is significant about the marketplace movement is that now M.B.A.s, journalists, artists, civil employees, international financiers, and academics are claiming that their work can be as Christian as saving souls in Ghana.

"The issues go beyond being gracious with coworkers and fair with employees," Hammond says. "We believe that in each profession Christians can find something that is inherently godly about the work itself." For example, Wes Pippert, who for many years worked as the White House correspondent for ...

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