Saturday, February 6, 2010

Church - Work Word TripUps Create Barriers

Here are some terminology that subtly reveals some pastor's view of the workplace. Really, its a double entendre  "Reach out and redeem your work."
Workplace Ministry as an Out Reach.

The term outreach implies that any activity the church undertakes is to reach out of it's ideal, cloistered atmosphere, and retrieve people from the workplace, bringing them into the church.

While this may be a helpful term to church program developers, to business people it suggests a generation old concept that creates passive Christians in the workplace. It suggests that if you meet someone at work and convince them to go to your church, you have accomplished your church ministry, and you need to get back to the safety of the flock as quickly as you can. Your church staff will "minister" to those to whom you have reached out. After a rest from that "scary" place out "there, those not in full time ministry must run out to the battlefront, and "rescue the perishing." We are the Medics, running to pick up the wounded and bring them back. We can't stay too long, or we may be contaminated.

Redeem Your Workplace

Another phrase that suggests that the workplace by nature is corrupt, is "redeeming the workplace"
 google Redeeming the workplace, you will see a world of people believe that the workplace is a filthy, corrupt place, inherently evil, no matter who works there.  For example, the central question in one conference is "How can I enter a workplace that is less than ideal and redeem it and bring joy to it?

Sometimes Pastors misunderstand the passion of  those called to workplace ministry, because they cannot imagine having a Passion for the workplace.  You see, God brings deep joy to those of us called to workplace ministry when we are up to our necks in work, with people in need all around us; employees, team members, managers, bosses, vendors, customers, people in need everywhere. They would loose their deep joy if we had to labor as a pastor, outside of work dealing with marriages, divorces, family situations, it would drain our passion, steal our joy.

But it gives pastors deep joy to do the work in the context of the church.
Full-Time Ministry

This suggests that only those who serve on the staff of a church are in ministry. The implications is that part time ministry is leading a small group of church member, or serving on a church committee as a volunteer.

Business Ministers, How many times have you heard when interviewing a job candidate. "I am happy to work here for now, but I'm looking for a job in full-time ministry. " This position, dropped with a hint of condescension, seems to say to us that the victim is willing to wait in purgatory until the Lord shows them mercy.

Believer, if this is your view of your role at work, please listen to a cry from  my heart to yours:

Join me in enterprising ministry.

I'm in full time ministry now, where every I am, Including my workplace. If you come to work here,

  • Please don't rent your boss your time, by the hour, to subsidize your church volunteer activities.
  • Don't be that distant Christian at work, interacting with people like you're under siege.
  • Your joyless, passionless efforts make believing in Jesus unattractive.
  • You make my job as a minister at work harder ever time you avoid a chance to serve on a committee at work and do just enough work to get by.
Join in, serving your Master, right now, wherever you are at work.

  • Who among your peers, your customers, your suppliers, your bosses are lost, or are prodigal?
  • Do you pray for them, care for them?
  • Do you look for opportunities to demonstrate Christ's love?
  • Do you care enough about them to let your work be credible to them so you can earn the right to be heard?
I invite you to join me in full-time ministry at work, if God has called you there. If not, pray that God will find a way to bring  you to a place of service that gives you the deepest joy, so that you add to God's Kingdom and don't detract from it.

In the mean time, right now, right where you are, God calls you to Full-Time Ministry. Join me there.

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Lee Royal

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