Pastoring for Success in Work

Article / Produced by TOW Project

People need as much guidance and encouragement in their jobs as they do in their personal lives.  Pastors who value the work that a person does outside of church see their congregations deepen in engagement and faith.  Here are some ideas on pastoring people at work.

Workplace Visits
British Baptist Pastor David Coffey said, “In my time as a Pastor I made a regular pattern to visit church members in their place of work, whenever this was appropriate. I have sat with the defense lawyer in a court room; I have watched a farmer assist in the birth of a calf; I have spent time with a cancer consultant in his hospital; I have walked the floor of a chemical factory and sat in the office of a manager who runs a large bookshop. I have driven a tank and spent time with some senior military officers; I have shared the tears and joys of family life with homemakers; I have visited a London hostel for the homeless and walked round a regional prison with a Governor. The purpose of such visits is primarily to encourage and disciple a church member in that place where God has called them to be a worker.” (Rev David Coffey in an unpublished paper, “Supporting Church Members in the Workplace” produced for the Church Leadership Commission BWA Council Dresden, July 1999)

As much as church members appreciate workplace visits, they also notice the absence of such visits. A very prominent Australian businessman who was accepting a prize for integrity in public life commented that while he had spent ten years as churchwarden of his Anglican church, and as a support to and confidante of the ordained minister, not once in those ten years did that minister ask about his work or how he expressed his faith there. (Alan Kerr at the presentation of his Zadok Prize for integrity in public and working life in February 2002 in Melbourne. See "Lausanne Occasional Paper 40 Marketplace Ministry 2004", p.13.)  Haddon Robinson offers a similar warning in this article When the Sermon Goes to Work.  A Christian businessman told him ruefully about his pastor, “I enter his world once or twice a week, but he doesn’t bother much about mine.”

Contacts, Counsel, and Kudos for Job-seekers
Perimeter Church, Atlanta, runs a not-for-profit ministry called Crossroads Career Network. This ministry seeks to provide contacts, counsel, and encouragement to help job seekers find a job, a career, and a calling. Perimeter's Crossroads Career Ministry offers monthly career meetings that act as foundations for support and spiritual growth. Each meeting includes a short presentation by a guest speaker or expert in the business community. Attendees gain insight and instruction on what scripture teaches about employment and provision from God. There is no charge to attend.

Discipleship Assessment
Discipleship Dynamics offers a comprehensive assessment on spiritual discipleship that you can use either for individual counseling or for groups, with a cost of between $9 and $15 per user.