Facilitating Marketplace Ministry in a Blue-Collar Context: Post-Project Interview Notes

Academic Paper / Produced by partner of TOW
Blue collar interviews

This appendix contains a transcription of notes made during post-field intervention interviews with twenty-three participants in Kent Duncan's thesis project: Facilitating Marketplace Ministry in a Blue Collar Context. These interviews were taken three weeks after the conclusion of the series. Interview questions are followed by participant responses, either in the form of direct quotes as recorded from the respondent, a summary restatement of the respondent’s thoughts as perceived by the interviewer, or a combination of both.

Responses to Question 1: How have your thoughts about work changed over the last thirty days or so? What’s different for you when you think about your job today versus what you thought a month ago?

  • Respondent spoke of a “re-awareness” of Kingdom purpose on the job.
  • Respondent described a fresh sense of “accountability to God for how I do my job—though it is still a ‘job.’”
  • Respondent described how, looking around her work aware of God’s purpose, her work became “bigger”—she had “influence.” She doesn’t particularly “like” her actual job so these comments were directed at the “culture” around her. She saw the opportunity to influence the culture of her workplace.
  • Absolute change … joyful, happy to be here “called in to see the boss, called on the carpet for being ‘just too happy.’”
  • Respondent described a new awareness of purpose – “It’s great to know I’m not just ‘putting in my time.”
  • Respondent described a new freedom to be authentic as a believer, as a God-follower.
  • “I am happiest at my work when I accomplish and complete my work and do that well. I need others to accomplish that, so I encourage them to do their jobs well. I know God is in that. I’m unhappy when I don’t do well.” Respondent expressed understanding of the continuity of his work as part of others’ lives.
  • “This filled my understanding of work with a whole new purpose. I spent a long, stressful time lining up with corporate goals. Now I’m lined up with God’s goals.”
  • Respondent made aware of God’s place in the job in a way that causes him to treat people differently.
  • “I hated my job to the place of being physically sick. Grasping this concept of Kingdom work changed my heart and influenced the rest of my team. Opportunities abounded because I ‘saw’ them.”
  • “I had been struggling with contentment on the job – “9 – 5” came along – completely changed the way I looked at the ‘job’ – bigger, not just the job but also the relationships. When guys complain about ‘work,’ I have something to tell them. I’m happy for work done.”
  • Respondent described an acute awareness of Kingdom purpose “It’s humbling to realize I am reflecting God in my daily work –that I’m created in His image and doing what He created me for.
  • “I’m bringing things into being – creating – supplying I’m not just cutting dog food can labels. It is bigger than that!”
  • Has always known God’s gift of work—inherited from her father’s love of work. Her work shapes and changes others’ lives (house cleaning) – renewed joy in helping (using her gifts).

Responses to Question 2: How has your perception of the Sabbath changed? Can you identify any ways in which you are “observing the Sabbath” differently than you were before participating in the program? If you could change one thing about the way you practice Sabbath rest, what would it be?

  • Respondent saw Sabbath as a ritual, a “to do” (happily done, but on auto-pilot). Now she experiences deliberately looking forward to the Sabbath – anticipating refreshing.
  • “I find I have ‘focus.’ I had treated Sabbath as ‘got to’ – as though I were going to work. Now I realize I ‘get to.’” (Specifically, she gets to get up early to worship, to serve with her gifts, to celebrate – and, she says, “it makes me different.”)
  • “I’m looking now for ways to be deliberate in Sabbath practice.”
  • Downtime used to be just “vegetative” or being “busy”—now downtime is spent in God’s Word, prayer, going over the week.”
  • Everyone at work knows he will be deliberately setting aside Sunday as a “different” day—a Sabbath. People pile up wealth and think of themselves all week—and continue the same on Sunday. “I believe people are jealous of my Sabbath—convicted by it.”
  • “This portion affected me greatly. Sabbath is [now] intentional time set aside with family— teaching children, reading the Bible, etc.”
  • “Convicted about Sabbath busy-ness” (Observed that it used to be that church meetings filled a Sabbath). “Now we take the time to minister to our bodies, ourselves. The Sabbath had begun to look like other days and needed to be different.”
  • “I’m more conscious of the Sabbath, but working through how to ‘set it aside.’”
  • “I’ve reviewed my Sabbath—and am excited to do so. I’m asking myself, ‘Is this rest to me?’ ‘Has my Sabbath rest become work?’ I’ve awakened Sabbath questions—spiritual, emotional; not so much what I do.”
  • Anxious about the freedom of Sabbath taught—so looking at “What should it look like?” Feels “Sabbath” has been ritualistic and legalistic—“If I do it properly, I am blessed.”
  • (From a couple) “We’ve established non-negotiables to make sure the Sabbath day is different.”

Responses to Question 3: What new understanding do you have of the place of the Holy Spirit in your work? Can you describe ways in which you see your work connected to what God is doing in the world?

  • “Though the ‘job’ is not what I imagined (I am ‘underwhelmed’), I realize God has given it to me and I have learned through the Holy Spirit that I am ‘gifted’ in ‘customer service’—settling disputes, calming situations, talking through problems.” This respondent sees God using this spot to teach her for the future—especially about who she is. In her lack of busy work, she has used the time to pray, think, and write about her experiences.
  • Respondent walks from job to job in the plant—a lot—and in a job that requires significant multitasking. He believes God empowers him to remember details, observe outcomes, and then encourage right ways in new Christians. He is the “old Christian” at work, and—when he sees young believers cut corners or do not-so-perfect work, he will say, “No shortcuts. You’re working for God now.” He prays particularly for those in positions of authority who abuse that power. The Holy Spirit has taught him to see change.
  • Respondent has always enjoyed and felt responsible for mentoring “newbies”—many have tremendous difficulties outside of work. She presses for quality and timeliness regardless of their circumstances. She has realized this is ministry—to teach the job.
  • Respondent very aware of the Holy Spirit at work to help her accomplish tasks that seem overwhelming…and then aware that those lives she impacts on the job impact others: “What I have at the end of the day ministers to others in their homes.”
  • “The Holy Spirit is recognized by others…even if we don’t respond, people ‘know.’ He influences and changes lives through His work with us in our work. The Holy Spirit has revealed my relationship [with Christ] to co-workers—a new dimension for me.”
  • “We were created to work and work is worship. The Holy Spirit is always in our worship, so the Holy Spirit is always on the job.”
  • “The Spirit is the energy—the power—to ‘do.’ We have His gifts and abilities. We access the power to do so 24/7.”
  • I remember who I serve, who is my boss—I’m working for God. I want to please Him because I love Him. A job well done, no matter what it is, gives pleasure, joy, satisfaction. God gives that also. Following the Holy Spirit brings good results.”
  • Respondent talks to people all over the country on his job—mainly elderly people about to give up (or already having given up) possessions. Religion and politics always are topics of conversation.
  • Respondent has a clearer understanding that the Holy Spirit is not separate from our workplace. She would always pray for her job and issues associated but then would be on her own to carry on the work. But He accompanies us through the workday—and people know and see.

​​Responses to Question 4: How is your understanding of heaven different than it was two months ago? When you think about eternity, do you imagine work as a part of it? If so, what connections do you see between work today and work in eternity?

  • “I’m not escaping from here, from work. But I can enjoy and embrace a new heaven and a new earth.”
  • Likes the idea that his work is actually part of something spectacular—that he is helping God to build His Kingdom.
  • Had seen heaven as a giant sanctuary where we couldn’t help but stand and worship 24/7—“much like the last night of Fine Arts Nationals.” The idea of work continuing in a new earth excited her.
  • “I may have a mansion, but I can go to the country and walk the fields!”
  • “We see perfection every day but don’t pay attention. As a result, we’re dull to hints of heaven already all around us.”
  • “…being a part of something bigger that continues and changes forever.”
  • Respondent thought a lot about how we treat this earth—questions about quality and concern about how we live—how the things we do change the environment here and now.
  • “Our abilities continue through eternity—refined, redeemed, renewed!” Several participants affirmed that they found this an exciting, joyful thought.
  • “Wow! I’m excited! Excited that someone would step away from the old ‘we’re gonna believe this.’ The box is open; we’re in the game! Here and now!”
  • “We race toward Sunday for the blessing. Don’t throw six days away—it’s all now!”
  • “Worship is more than singing songs—it’s walking, observing, creating, enjoying, working! These things are not destroyed, but refined, transformed, and deepened.”
  • “God didn’t create the earth and all that is in it and say, ‘It’s no good, I hate it—but I’ll use it for now. No, he rejoiced over it! We have a responsibility for it now.”
  • “I’ve always been a ‘doer’—and have always been concerned about being flat-out bored in heaven. I’m pleased to know the value of work and that I’m going to be busy in heaven!”