I’ll never forget the day when, while on the phone with my friend Robert Fitts, he exclaimed in my ear, “I understand what you’re doing now! You’re establishing Simple Churches in the workplace!”
Yes, that was EXACTLY the mission I was on. I was hired three years ago this September to serve as the Workplace Chaplain for a chain of nursing homes with over 500 employees located in ten Texas towns. As a Circuit Riding Preacher, it was real obvious to me that I was going to have to embrace some more creative ways of ministering to so many people from so many diverse denominational backgrounds who were SO spread out. Not only that, but because these were nursing homes, I was soon to have more encounters with sick, dying and grieving people than I ever imagined.
I wanted to share with you FOUR areas of ministry that I felt were the most duplicable.
1. STAFF INTERVIEWS:
Whether you are a Workplace Chaplain, or a Witness in the Workplace, you can probably gain something from this exercise. I felt led by the Spirit to devise a questionnaire with which I would interview every employee. With the assistance of the facility Director, one by one, I sat down with every employee in the place. These days, I still conduct the interview with new hires. Essentially, once we begin the interview, I let the individual know that this can take as long or as little time as they need. I assure them that this is a confidential interview and that no one but us and God Almighty will know their answers.
The 12 questions include such things as: 1) “Are you affiliated with a particular church?” If so, how long?”and 5) “A spiritual person can provide better health care. True or False?”
Very often, we never get past question #1 before I’m sharing with the m that I do not “go to church” either. From there we talk about what The Church is (the ekklesia), our role as Christian employees and the fact that God isn’t mad at them and they need not feel guilty about anything. I estimate that 8 out of 10 open up to me and tears flow, even from the men. We always end with prayer. From this point, I’ve made an ally; a friend who will recommend my ministry to others. They often become my “boots on the ground” and have become unofficial assistants who call and email with questions and concerns regarding their facilities.
Without an actual questionnaire in hand, do you think you could do likewise among YOUR coworkers?
2. THE “JESUS SAID IT” BIBLE STUDY:
When I was 28 years old, in horrible pain, I was diagnosed with an incurable spinal disease. Finding myself up all night, I started typing the words of Jesus from Scripture; the letters in red. After that, I began placing these words into topics. What did Jesus say about forgiveness? Children? Demons? Peace? Love? Things like that.
In time, I used this information to conduct what I referred to as “Jesus Said it” Bible studies. From high school groups to college to business to church groups, most often consisting of a mixture of denominations, it’s been 1bout 10 years since I started and I’ve NEVER had a fight break out during one of these studies. As a Workplace Chaplain, the Jesus Said It Bible study is all I use as Catholics, Methodists, Pentecostals and Church of Christ gather in breakrooms and pray together at the end. It’s great!
3. PRAYER TEAMS:
A woman let it slip that. Each day at 6AM, she would pray alone in her car before work. A coworker asked if she’d come on inside so she could pray with her. These days, about ten people gather daily to pray before work.
I attended one of their gatherings. I found that they came from all kinds of denominational backgrounds. I started teaching them about things such as Prayer Errors, Prayer Posturing, Warfare Prayers, Prayers of Thanksgiving, Prayers of Declaration, the Hand Prayer…all kids of new things that got them all excited.
If you only knew the woman who started that prayer group. The least likely in most people’s eyes. Now, she’s looked upon as a leader, even by the Adminstrator.
Can YOU start a Prayer Team in YOUR workplace?
I bet you could!
4. THE CHURCH AT WORK LUNCHEONS:
Can you organize a pot-luck luncheon once a month? Once every THREE months? Can you invite a local minister to talk about workplace ministry? If you’re not far, invite me! I may even know someone in your area who is quite qualified.
I know of groups that showed a video, had local business people testify about their own workplace mission and how they witness at work. Ten minutes or so is all you’re asking. By the time you clean up, an hour has flown by. Do NOT be late getting back to work! That can blow a good Christian witness like that – POOF!
In time, with a person like YOU involved, people will most certainly hear you discussing the Simple Church concept, how the 1st Century Christians did things, how they were more into relationship than theology, etc. Keep planting those kinds of seeds and, before you know it, you’ve started a Simple Church where you work.
Let me know if I can assist in any way. Whether you simply desire to become a better Workplace Witness, or even if you wish to be endorsed as a Workplace Chaplain, I’m here to help.
Founder, The Church @ Work