Too often pastors like myself have unwittingly caused believers to feel that ministry takes place primarily at church services or events. We certainly need people serving and loving others when they come to our church services, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be lived out every day, wherever we go.
Obviously, one of the key places where we spend most of our time is at work. Whether a business owner or employee, God wants us to minister to those around us at work too! The Bible shows us that we are to work for God every day in our place of employment.
Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)
There are some really practical ways that we can do this without standing on our desks and saying, “Turn or burn.” Consider these thoughts:
Our attitude toward employees should be:
They are God’s creation.
I want to bless them.
I want to pay them as well as I can. (Benefits)
I want to encourage and help them when they are in crisis.
As a worker, I am seeking to love God and love people and serve Him in that setting.
Your manner toward customers should be:
I will always be fair and honest.
I will do my best to do what I say.
I will go above and beyond to bless the customer.
I will always give my best.
Do a little bit more good than you say; it will bring blessing to the business, the customer and eventually God will get the glory.
In general, our example must be the character of Christ lived out:
1 Peter 2:12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (NLT)
This means we need to be people of high character, generous, compassionate, humble, honest, caring and concerned about others. After all, this is the way Jesus lived and He is the one we are following. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
There are also some ways we can create opportunities to share our faith with others in the workplace.
Here are a few potential ways to launch conversations:
1. In your office area, display conversation launchers like:
Christian books like, God is My CEO, and Succeeding in Business without Losing Your Faith. Books like these really will start conversations, may lead to questions from visitors and could eventually bring the chance to share the gospel.
Quotations from scripture, framed artwork, placards, paper weights etc., on desks, in bookcases, on coffee tables, and even out in the reception area. These artifacts can evoke questions about your faith.
2. Share your faith by what you wear. Wearing a gold cross is a way to signal your faith.
3. Insert a scriptural references into one of your talks. Mark Belton, a CEO of General Mills, said that when he talked, “Most of the folks really don’t know it’s a scripture, but the folks who do…love to hear it.”
4. Don’t be afraid to mention, in everyday conversations, that you read the Bible or go to church. You don’t have to go long and strong here, just say it in passing.
5. Attend the company Bible study or even start one. Wurzbacher of Coca-Cola says she attends a company Bible study as a way of signaling her allegiances and encouraging other believers at work.
6. Attend church on Sundays when you are out of town on business trips. Archie Dunham, who led ConocoPhillips for many years, regularly attended church on Sundays, even while traveling.
7. Don’t do some things. Model great character by, for instance, not getting drunk and chasing after women.
If we live these ways, people who are facing difficulty and challenges in their lives will ask us questions about this Jesus we serve and what the Bible says:
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (NIV)
So love them, live it and be ready to share it at work, because your place of business is your ministry too!
Grace and Truth,
Pastor Stan Russell