The Entrepreneurial Pastor in the Next Cube

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Marcus here. A few weeks ago, Kirk Livingston and I had an email conversation about his review of Shop Class as Soulcraft. I thought it would make a good feature. I printed out the original essay that inspired the book, and had grandiose visions of writing something more elaborate. In the meantime, Kirk himself beat me to the punch and sent me a fully formed post that wrestles through some of the most important issues of faith in the workplace: how to think about evangelism (or not). Afterwards, you might appreciate the articles Kirk published with us at Fill 'er Up and Crackberry Prayer. Now, I'll pass the proverbial, rhetorical baton to Kirk. The remain words are his:

Reading Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft, brought to mind (and keyboard) a couple friends laboring to maintain a work/life balance and largely losing the battle. The thought occurred: what if there were entrepreneurial pastors out there, hidden in the cubicles and showrooms and shop floors? What if these opportunity-seeking Christ-followers were bent on anything that might help friends reconcile with God? And what if they didn't mind starting wherever the big questions popped up? Asking different questions may be a primary tool the entrepreneurial pastor brings to bear on workplace conversations. The kind of questions that come up after failure. Or after someone else takes credit for your job well done. Or when the layoff rumors circulate. Though we always want to alleviate someone else’s problems—to solve trouble so life can be good again (or at least stable)—that is usually not an option. Most of what we can offer is perspective, some reframing question. And as Christ-followers, questions of significance or what-defines-success come to mind simply because Jesus asked them and they are on our minds.

Like any entrepreneurial endeavor, the pastor in the next cube looks for unmet needs to serve and often a question helps unearth the need. Sitting with someone in the question is the opportunity, that’s where ministry happens—in the conversation itself. Quick, rehearsed answers may come to mind, but authenticity between colleagues should make us think twice about spouting formulas. Stay with the question, exploring as a friend, perhaps offering insights from God’s word. It takes a big heart to pastor in that way—which makes love an even more primary tool than the question. Entrepreneurial pastoring starts from a heart provoked by love for Christ and people. And since all of this heart-work takes place within the context of the workplace, it is only natural that there be an integrity and balance about the colleague and the priority of completing the tasks we are paid to complete. Is there a growing entrepreneurial spirit among Christ-followers that wants to take the love of God out into the shop floors and showrooms and cubicles in a relevant way? That might be just the kind of laborer we could ask for from the Lord of the harvest.

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