The following was written by Evan Longstreth, a Sr. Private Wealth Advisor in the Atlanta office of Ronald Blue Trust.
Do you feel a calling to ministry? Have you ever wondered how you can serve in fulltime ministry in your current work environment?
Leveraging your business for fulltime ministry takes intentionality and thought. Often business owners think they should leave ministry to the church, but we all play a unique role in fulfilling the Great Commission by building and supporting the Body of Christ. Most people think that you’re either in the ministry or you’re not, but perhaps your workplace could also be your ministry.
Think about this fact: the average size of a church in America is less than 200 people. Is that smaller than you thought? This statistic measures the number of people who attend church three out of four weekends each month in the U.S.
Now think of the number of people your business touches during a month: employees, customers, vendors, partners, or suppliers. When you add up all the key stakeholders, your business influences a significant number of people on a monthly basis. You could even be impacting as many people as your local congregation. Your business gives you an opportunity to share God’s love and grace with others.
Over the past two decades of serving small business owners along their stewardship journey, I have watched many of them evolve from a mindset focused solely on being a market leader to a mindset focused on becoming a marketplace steward. This spiritual business transformation has been fascinating and a blessing to watch.
One of my favorite journeys to recall is that of a young couple who early in their marriage and career began to attend church. When they received the transformational gift of salvation, they immersed themselves in church fellowship, evangelism, and small group Bible study. Early in their faith journey they wrestled with whether to spend their time investing in their faith or in their business. As their faith and business matured, they began to understand the connection between the two and looked at their business as an opportunity to share God with others.
Their tenants, suppliers, and partners were all stakeholders, but they were also people to serve, love, and share the gospel message with. This couple used their business to show generosity through strategic giving techniques that helped spread God’s word through new churches and international ministries. Their business became the center of their ministry.
You don’t have to separate your faith-walk from your work-life. You can look at your business or department as though it is a ministry you are leading by looking for opportunities to serve, practice generosity, and minister to your stakeholders. How much more impact could your business have if one of your goals was to impact those same stakeholders spiritually?
A good first step to consider is to make a list of your stakeholders, those who are vital to your business operations, and begin to pray for them as a pastor might pray for their church members. Look for opportunities to listen, give, and share in unique conversations. Measure success by the number of people looking toward God and drawing closer to Him because of your workplace.
Ask yourself: “How does the culture of my company or department reflect my heart and relationship with God?”
Have you ever traveled on a mission trip with your family, team, or co-workers? Consider awarding your team or employees with a mission trip or biblically-based conference. Complete service projects together or support a local ministry through volunteering time, talent, and treasures of the organization.
Make your daily work and passion your most productive ministry. After all, if we cannot impact the people we work with every day by our relationship with God, then who can we impact?
In Exodus 31:1-7, the Lord tells Moses that Bezalel and Oholiab are chosen to serve with their skills as craftsmen, for they were filled with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge. In the same way, God has chosen you to steward your business, coworkers, and employees for His glory. You may not speak from a pulpit every Sunday, but your work every day speaks volumes to the Glory of God.