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Towards a Missional View of the Workplace

Author: Cody C. Lorance
Date: 26.08.2010
Category: Leadership Development, Evangelism Training, Workplace Ministry

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In this article, I want to suggest 5 stages of discipleship for the follower of Christ in the work place.  They are (1) non-believer, (2) disconnected disciple, (3) disciple of Christ-like character, (4) disciple of excellence, and (5) missional disciple.  Please click below to go to the full article on my blog:

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Keywords: discipleship

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Windy (1)
China

This is helpful - I’d like to add a pragmatic point.  People come to ministers all the time looking for "guidance" on which job to take.   Often it is a choice between  "The one with all the money where I will have to move my family / leave my girlfriend" or "The one on less money here where I won’t have my life turned upside down".  Normally I talk through the implications for how the person can serve the Lord etc.

One nugget I have found helpful is to encourage people to look for a job where they are already aware of other Christians whom they could meet together with.  It just seems so much easier for people to be an effective witness as a group of friends, praying for eachother, helping eachother, and inviting others in - rather than as an individual trying to get people along to a random Christmas Carol Service and then using that as a means to start a conversation. 

I notice that all your stages are of disciple in the singular, I’d recommend that our individual disciple is part of a group of disciples :) by the time he or she is behaving missionally


11.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Cody_Lorance (13)   
United States
@ Windy:

Windy, thank you for reading and commenting.  Your thoughts are helpful.  You know, I think that I had some particular people in mind when I wrote this -- they happen to be essentially alone in their workplaces as followers of Christ.  So, there is that reality too, yes? I’m coming from a perspective where nearly all the people in my church are at the lowest end of the economic spectrum.  The decision of where to work is usually made simply based on who will hire them.  So the issue looks slightly different for me because of that.  But, yes, I agree that ’groups of disciples’ is the ideal.  


Of course, I also get nervous about the temptation for Christians to just huddle together and basically close themselves off to the world.  We must guard against that too. But how?


12.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Windy (1)
China
@ Cody_Lorance:

@Cody


Yes - the majority of people are currently working in an environment where they are the only member of their church in that place.  So to see missional office clusters growing is going to take some hard work.  It basically depends on folk looking to "church plant" within their workplace.  Not a church plant in the sense of a church with an eldership, deacons, a pastor etc - but a church in the sense of a group of Christians getting together around God’s word to pray, and to support eachother in their efforts to reach out to their envoironment.  It will be helpful if at least one "old fashioned" church is supporting their efforts with resources etc.


1) Pastor gets people praying hard for their workplace and asking if it is the right place for God to plant a cluster so they are approaching their workplace as a mission field.


2) When people see a job vacancy go up on the notice board of their office they should circulate it to church members and Christian friends who might be looking for a job and tell them specifically that they have been praying for more Christian workers to join the harvest fields in this particular office.  If they manage to recruit one extra friend that will be a big help.


3) 82% of the US population work in a firm that employs more than 20 people.  About 1 in 3 Americans consider themselves to be "Bible Believing Christians".  The chances are that there are other people in the office who would consider themselves "Keen Christians". 



  • Put a poster up on the noticeboard advertising a non-threating event like a "lunch time pray for the company".  Putting up a poster for an evangelistic bible study is good too - but an 8 week course or a weekly time commitment will frighten some of those other Christians away - and you want to really know who they are. 

  • At the prayer meeting take the lead and tell people your heart for God to reach out and change peoples lives in the company and ask others with a shared heart to keep in contact and pray more regularly. 

  • With the 2 other people who have decided to dedicate themselves to prayer - one of them will likely be a lot more (or less)pentacostal, and the other will likely have a different position on child baptism.  Forget that for the moment.  Get praying together for God’s holy spirit to do a miracle in the hearts and lives of folk in the office (also get to know eachother better). 

  • Set out a vision for a serious of simple evangelistic bible studies (maybe on Mark’s gospel using the Christianity Explored material) and name in prayer a few people each to invite to the study group.  Contact the other Christians and ask them to pray for the evangelistic study too and think of people who might want to join.

  • With the three extra people who come along to this study (either very early morning or lunch time) two of them might make some kind of profession of faith eventually.  One of them will become a keen new member of the cluster and want to bring 5 friends along to another course. 

  • People take their friends to their own church on a Sunday - if new people are unsure of where to go then the leader gets them to his/her place, but there is no attempt to sheep steal.


Hopefully after a year or two of hard work the individual disciple is part of a tiny community of believers in the workplace.


How to stop the "huddling" effect.  Keep preaching the gospel.  Make sure everyone knows they are a servant, rather than a customer - that is a whole other conversation :)


I’ve seen this kind of approach work well in China where the proportion of Christians and level of background opposition is MUCH higher


12.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Cody_Lorance (13)   
United States
@ Windy:

I like your thoughts and appreciate you posting them here.  Makes this posting all the more valuable.  Hope to get time soon to think through this issue more fully and integrate your ideas into a comprehensive strategy.  Also, it will be interesting to see what Willy K. brings to the table at Cape Town.


Blessings


12.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Cody_Lorance (13)   
United States
@ Windy:

Thank you, Windy. Yes, being a part of a group of disciples is ideal.  Thank you for your comment.


03.12.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down TPMNepali (3)
United States

Discipleship of refugees needs to have a strong component that focuses on how to life our the Christ-life at work.  Since such a tremendous amount of time is spent there.  We must give this careful thought.


17.09.2010

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PhContributeBy Cody Lorance  
 
Location: Carol Stream, Illinois
Country: United States

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