His Church is really at Work! - SmallGroups.com
John Crosby for His Church at Work • Church-Based Ministry
Imagine hundreds of small groups initiated by your church popping up all over your city. Not in homes but in an area that God wants for Himself---the workplace!
"I believe one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace". Dr. Billy Graham
"I've never seen the activity of God this deeply in the business community as I do right now." - Henry Blackaby
"Workplace ministry will be one of the core future innovations in church ministry." George Barna, Boiling Point, Regal Publishing
Even in the best of times, most of us wrestle with a sense that while we are experiencing numerical and/or spiritual growth within our church, the community-at-large is racing by us as if we are in the bleachers rather than on the playing field. The fact that the world bears little indication of our efforts gnaws at us. Perhaps that is because we are focusing most of our time on pulling people out of the world to be ministered to, rather than intentionally equipping them to minister in the world.
The workplace is the world's playing field. Most Americans spend 70% or more of their waking hours in the workplace. It is where life, or at least most of it, is invested and spent. It is where character is forged or compromised. It is where Christians most often rub elbows with non-Christians. It is where values like achievement and productivity can push aside relationships and honesty. It's where Jesus invested most of his ministry, among everyday working people in everyday working environments. Listen to this:
Dear Sir, We have never met and you may not know who I am, but I have been Richard Jones' (not his real name) partner for 22 years. Richard and I have shared many highs and lows. I consider him to be my best friend. However, several weeks ago, my life-long friend began changing. He has been unusually compassionate toward our employees, his trademark profanity has disappeared from his vocabulary, and he insists on asking if we're "doing the right thing," before we close each deal. I knew that he recently became a Christian, but since I thought that really only changed your Sunday routines I completely missed the connection. Finally, last week, curiosity got the best of me. I walked into Richard's office, closed the door and asked him to level with me. I needed to know what was going on. Richard told me that several weeks ago you introduced him to Jesus Christ. He said that each Wednesday morning since then, you have helped him get better acquainted with Jesus through leading a bible study in a friend's office. Those comments led to a two hour conversation which culminated with me on my knees in Richard's office accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you for introducing Richard to Jesus so Richard could introduce me to Jesus.
Over the years, I have collected numerous trophies and awards through schools, sports and hobbies. Yet none bring a smile to my face or a tear to my eye as quickly as the letter above. It represents the fruit of my life's ambition - to introduce people into growing personal relationships with Jesus Christ and one another.
I have found the most effective way to introduce people to Jesus is through existing personal relationships. Where do the majority of our church congregations spend a majority of their time interacting with a majority of the unchurched world? The workplace! Within our local church walls is the very core of the workforce, which comprises every segment of society. These lives can be significantly empowered to touch their sphere of influence in a dynamic way if they are affirmed in seeing that they can be "ministers" in their respective job assignments.
Just over three years ago, a small group of area leaders and I started a workplace ministry in Savannah, GA. Our purpose is simple. We wish to introduce people into growing personal relationships with Jesus Christ through the workplace. God has abundantly blessed our efforts. Today, we are averaging around 1,000 people in nearly 100 weekly small groups with over 260 people accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Can you see this vision through your church or small group network?
Our plan is simple. While we have expanded our ministry efforts to luncheon events, conflict mediation, and leadership development; the heart of our ministry is weekly one hour workplace small groups. These meetings are divided into three segments: personal sharing & prayer time, introduction of biblical principles, and discussion of applications. A major focus is helping people apply sound biblical principles to their work-life. Learn how?
Starting small groups with high-integrity, respected people (regardless of their position, status, or income), causes people who know and work with them eager to explore the foundation of their values. In any given week, about 15 -20% of our participants are seekers or pre-Christians.
Our measurement is life-change. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned while leading small group leaders is that people perceive what is most important to me, by what I talk about first in leadership meetings. Yes, taking attendance has to happen at some point as well as getting into curriculum and finances. BUT these are really not what are most important to begin with. We start every leadership group (after prayer) with "Tell me about life-change in your group members".
The stories begin to flow right away! We hear about owners who restructured their compensation systems to promote teamwork rather than competition among employees, custodians who gained insight into their real identity and the true value of service, decades old conflicts being resolved, mere acquaintances who developed deep friendships and accountability, and men and women discovering, often for the first time, that their real value has nothing to do with their productivity. Yes, hearts and lives transformed. Read these actual testimonies of people affirmed by their church.
The impact of these stories on our community of believers is incredible. We laugh together, cry together, learn together and grow together. It energizes and inspires our leaders in much the same way that the miracles of Jesus moved the disciples. Our leaders leave our meetings ready to storm the gates of hell, because they see how God is using them to change the world through this grand adventure we call work-life ministry.
Imagine the impact we could make if local churches fused the growing workplace ministry movement with the small group growth movement and took them to the places where most Christians spend the vast majority of their waking hours and where pre-Christians are searching for meaning in life. By identifying, equipping, and resourcing believers within our churches to minister through their work lives, we could unleash the most effective indigenous evangelism and discipleship forces in the world. All this focused on the largest and most fertile mission field AND grow our churches at unprecedented rates of numerical and spiritual growth. Visit His Church at Work for more help on church-based workplace strategies.
John Crosby is presently the director of Priority Insight of Savannah GA. John served as a small groups pastor and is also a consultant with His Church at Work, a national ministry passionate about helping churches reach the workplace through sustainable and strategic processes. www.HisChurchatWork.org. You can also visit the Work-Life Resource Center at www.WorkplaceMinistry.com.
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