Being a Missionary in a Secular Workplace
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17
Below, Chad shares his story of how he has found his ministry and his mission in his secular job:
I ask prospective employees a simple question: “What do we do here?” One will answer, “Sell and fix electronics.” Another will reply, “We sell solutions to what people need.” And without fail another will say, “We give friends, families, and businesses the ability to remain constantly connected no matter the physical hurdles, such as location or time.”
I have learned that finding meaning in my work, as well as helping others find it in theirs, is central to understanding my job as my ministry and my mission. In a story for another day, I was called out of full-time vocational ministry to be a light in the secular workplace. My work is my ministry and mission – both in what I do to serve customers and clients, and how I interact with those around me.
In order to keep my perspective that my workplace is my full-time ministry, I have found it extremely helpful to think about my ministry and mission in the context of four different work relationships:
My ministry to my superiors: This unique category is one where I have learned it is my performance which speaks the highest volumes. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” It is godly for me to aim for high performance as my ministry. When I am able to accomplish this, I have experienced leaders asking me how I have achieved these results. I am equipped to respond with my passion for loving and growing people holistically. I understand my ministry to my superiors as proving success can come through developing people, loving holistically, and being a steward of the resources I am given.
Second, my ministry to coworkers already interested in Jesus: My ministry and mission with these coworkers to be exhilarating – they are genuinely interested in the cross of Christ and my role is to witness to them in word and deed that Christ truly makes a difference in my life. I understand my ministry in the workplace as a constant challenge to live out my beliefs and to be equipped to share my beliefs on a moment’s notice.
My ministry to those who are far from Christ, my personal favorite: many people have never experienced high expectations, belief that you can achieve them, and unconditional love for you when you fail. My ministry to those who are far from Christ is exactly that – to love them in a new way, to expect great things from them, to forgive them when they make a mess, and believe that they are valuable because of who they are!
My ministry to other Christians: It seems funny to talk about witnessing to other Christians, but I have found (and it is certainly true of someone here today) that it is entirely possible to work side-by-side in the secular workplace and never be on-purpose enough to find out the person working next to you knows Jesus Christ. Or equally bad, to know your coworker loves the Lord and not use that as a chance to encourage and challenge each other! I understand my ministry in the workplace is to discover, encourage, and challenge my fellow Christians!
As a missionary to the secular workplace, I pray to continually think about my vocation as an act of Colossians 3:17: – an act that gives thanks to God the Father through Jesus Christ.