To be honest with you I am struggling with how to put this on paper. Over the last few months the Lord has been at work in such an unbelievable way that all I can think to do to describe it is to jump up and down with joy shouting Jesus is so COOL!!!! God has shown me so much when it comes to evangelism and being the light of Christ daily. I have been challenged to completely rethink what it means to live missionally especially in a secular environment. The following is my feeble attempt to express 8 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?
Within the past year my husband has gone from spending many hours a week in the church office to spending 40 hours a week as a rookie warehouse employee. He has gone from being surrounded by Godly men and Christian music to being surrounded by complaining, negativity, gossip and men filled with hopelessness. It has been quite an adjustment, but definitely an awesome experience.
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 to 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. 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”.
Recently at my husband’s place of employment, 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, will stand out and is about as raw as it gets when it comes to showing the love of Christ practically.
As his wife and a stay at home mom, my job has been to pray for my husband. Pray for the Lord to increase his leadership. Pray for the Lord to help him cultivate friendships and to pray for ways that I can encourage him.
8. Finally and most Importantly:
All of the above is just a list of practical applications my husband and I 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.
Can you imagine if I had a 2yr old muddy daughter who was going to surprise me by doing the laundry for me –Oh the mess I would have to clean up? But can you imagine the precious memories we would make together as I cleaned her up and showed her how to do laundry with me. I want time with my child. I wouldn’t want to miss out on those precious moments with her, and yet we so often, unknowingly rob God of those moments with 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?
I wish I could share with you all I’ve seen God do in this past year, but I can’t wait to hear all that God does in your work relationships in the coming year! May God bless each of you as you submit your ways to the Lord!
Melissa Bradley is married with two small children. She serves at a church plant in Hendersonville, NC. The passion of her heart is to live every day missionally. You can also find Melissa at Beautiful Mommy Feet, she and her husbands personal ministry page, a women’s ministry page -Radiance and on Facebook.
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