This is an article that my wife Melissa and I have written together as the result of our experiences working in many different workplace settings. Over the years God has shown us so much when it comes to evangelism and being the light of Christ daily. We have been challenged to completely rethink what it means to live missionally especially in a secular environment. The following is our attempt to express 7 ways you can live missionally in your workplace.
1. Recognize God Has Placed you Where You Are For a Reason:
First of all, we must see where we currently are as our mission field. I used to consider church ministry my mission field, but never took it any further than the doors. I would pour myself out a few hours a week into the church and when I left my life would once again become about me. It was like clocking in and out of a job. That’s not biblical. Everywhere our feet touch they should be a vessel used by God. Can you imagine if Christ’s ministry began and ended at the temple? There is a reason why God has allowed you to continue working at that job you may hate. There is more to this season of your life than just bearing through the day to day until you retire.
2. Think Relationally and Long-term: Nothing Happens Overnight
God sometimes does great things immediately, but most of the time God works through genuine long-term relationships. My biggest downfall with this is when I am completely gung-ho to see something happen and then crushed when it seems nothing is happening or I struggle with feeling like an epic failure. God is in the little things. God is at work in the simple, seemingly mundane conversations between co-workers. Just because you feel like your efforts were fruitless doesn’t mean they were. When all that we do or say is submitted to the Lord, He has the power to redeem even our silliest mistakes.
3. Maintain a Godly Character and Attitude Towards Work and Your Co-Workers:
There will be days that you’re struggling not to be frustrated or angry; however, maintaining a Godly character and attitude is essential in making your workplace a mission field. Have a strong work ethic, do your job with excellence- ALL the time – not just when you feel like it. Go out of your way at times to make it easier on your co-workers as well. This really stands out because most people in a working environment are just out for themselves. Be a person of integrity by being honest and avoiding gossip or slander.
Tell yourself that your efforts will not be seen, because 80% of the time they won’t, to your knowledge, however, humility is a Godly characteristic that is brought out in us when we’re willing to go the extra mile for no apparent gain.
4. It is God That Changes Hearts Not Us:
When you are surrounded by a difficult environment you have to daily put on the full armor of God. Keeping your mind focused on Colossians 3:23 which says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (NIV) Your work ethic, your talk, your attitude, your interactions are to be bound in Christ as a reflection of Him. However, we cannot have the mindset that our actions have any power to change anyone – that is a prideful, empty, pit that we can so quickly fall into. As long as we know that we’ve actively given Christ full authority in our work relationships, we can be patient with His timing. Our hearts need to say: God, I’m pouring into you period. Determine that while you are in this position your every moment will be a sacrifice to Christ.
Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. This obviously doesn’t mean that every waking moment we should be on our knees with our eyes closed and hands clasped together, but it does mean that we should constantly be in a state of prayer throughout our day. We should pray for our co-workers before we go to work and always ask God to open doors for us to minister and serve.
As we are aware of specific needs our co-workers have we should pray for them. Also be willing to pray with your co-workers. This is awkward. I’m not sure why it’s always so difficult, but this is by far the most powerful thing we can do. Despite the awkwardness, people are genuinely thankful that someone cares enough to pray with them and for them right where they are. It shows them that we are serious about what God can do about their situation and our faith to trust Him. We need to allow the spirit to lead us as far as the appropriate time and place for this is concerned. We need to be considerate of any rules or guidelines in our particular workplace. It might be more beneficial to invite them to have a one on one lunch or coffee meeting. How God uses this often hinges on the long-term relationships we are cultivating.
6. See Every Interaction as an Opportunity:
Every workplace has that particular co-worker that you would rather avoid. They get on your nerves for whatever reason, and you hate the fact that they happen to be right beside you. Maybe God has actually placed you beside them for a reason. Maybe He wants you to be the person to reach out to them. The thing about them that annoys you probably annoys others as well, so if you don’t reach out to them then who will? We must understand that God is a Sovereign God and has providentially placed people in our path. It is no accident who we bump into every day. Once we begin to see everyday life in this way, it will completely change the way we think about evangelism. We will see every interaction as an opportunity to share Christ in some way.
7. Look for Practical Ways to Serve:
Being missional in the workplace doesn’t mean that we walk around preaching all day or even telling people about Jesus every time we open our mouth. People knowing Jesus should be the ultimate goal, but there are many ways that we can show the love of Christ without scaring people. In fact there will be times where we shouldn’t speak at all and just listen to others. Be real. People can spot a fake a mile away. If you aren’t genuine you aren’t relatable. People need to know through these relationships that you care about them where they are and we’re not just looking to “add another notch to our Christian belt”.
At a recent job where Trey worked, they went from getting paid every week to every two weeks. This was a major adjustment for many of his co-workers. We decided to make sandwiches one day and take them to give out for free. This went over very well and opened up the door for many conversations and gave him the opportunity to share the gospel with several co-workers. Any time we serve others without expecting anything in return, it will stand out and that is about as raw as it gets when it comes to showing the love of Christ practically.
All of the above is just a list of practical applications we have seen God bless over the past year. Do not consider all of this as a to-do list.
Submit it to the Lord in prayer and work with Him. I’ve found myself many times before trying to put on a talent show for the Lord, by doing good deeds in order to make Him happy. That’s non-sense. Don’t you think that my creator is fully aware of the talents He equipped me with? Doing God’s work without Him is fruitless. He delights in showing us His power as he works through us.
Without having an intimate relationship with Christ, without Him showing us where He’s at work and inviting us to join Him in His work, how could we possibly attempt to do His work? Ultimately, everything we do for the Lord should be as a result of our relationship with Him.