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Starting a Workplace Ministry

Posted on 28 Mar 2022

by Bernard Ho Ruixin, a Labourer in the marketplace

 

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a few of us could come together for fellowship over lunch?”

I shared this idea with a Christian colleague at the pantry over a cup of coffee.

To my surprise, the response was, “Okay! Let’s do it over lunch this week!”

In my head I was thinking to myself, “What?! Okay! Praise the Lord!”, and that was how the first group of my workplace ministry was formed in the year 2016.

 

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| Bernard with his wife and 3 kids

Working from 8 to 5 and having a family with 3 young kids on top of many commitments (not all mine), I knew that my plate was full. I struggled to set aside more time to serve in ministry and to help others know Jesus.

Knowing that most of my waking hours are spent at work, it came to a point when I started to search for answers for the motivation and purpose of my work and how it relates to advancing the Kingdom of God.

 

One day, God spoke to me through Matthew 5:14-16:

 

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

These verses are not new to many and yet for the first time, they spoke directly to me about how the ‘house’ is my workplace, and ‘everyone’ refers to my colleagues whom I interact regularly with at the workplace.

Not just anyone can come into this ‘house’ unless they have access, and I am privileged to be placed there by God to build relationships and minister to the people at my workplace.

Lastly, the verses reminded me that to be a ‘light’ placed on a stand means that I need to be open and intentional in exercising my faith so that my colleagues can see it.

This was the game changer, the starting point where the Lord began leading me to form a ministry at my workplace.

God has placed us in our workplace for a purpose — to bring God’s love and the gospel to the people there, and at the same time, to be the ‘light’ so that people can see God through us.

 

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| Fellowship at the workplace — Bernard (far right) with his colleagues

 

 

Lessons Learnt

It is a challenge to be a ‘light’ at the workplace and start a workplace ministry.

There were fears and worries about how my colleagues would feel, whether I would get into trouble, if it will affect my career, and many more questions such as those Moses had when he had his encounter with God at the burning bush.

Remembering Matthew 6:33 which promised that God will take care of my basic needs, I was assured that I do not need to worry about not being able to bring the ‘rice bowl’ home if I do what God wants me to do. As I placed Jesus before me, both my mind and heart felt comforted with courage.

 

To do ministry at the workplace does not mean placing work as the second priority. On the contrary, it is important to continue to excel at our work and develop good relationships with our colleagues.

Let our actions speak first!

People see the quality of our life and the work we produce. Doing our work well speaks volumes about our character.

 

While Colossians 3:23-24 calls us to do our work with a spirit of excellence, it is not just about completing the tasks but also the way we behave and respond when carrying out our work.

People appreciate kindness, compassion and goodness (Ephesians 4:32 and 1 Peter 3:8) and these are important qualities to have when cultivating good relationships with people at our workplace, to gain a listening ear and to start a real conversation.

 

Some Tips

The opportunity arose through a casual conversation with a colleague whom I had a good relationship with. I heard the Holy Spirit prompting me to ask him for fellowship over lunch. It turned out that our first fellowship took place not just with one, but three colleagues. We had a quick lunch and adjourned to another place for a session of thanksgiving, sharing and prayer.

 

Here is a ‘menu’ with some ideas to try if you are interested to start a workplace ministry:

 

  • Two choices of ‘Appetizer’ before the ‘Main Course’
     
    •  A spiritual conversation starter (knowing the other party is a believer). Ask:
      • about their community and find out more about their involvement
      • if there is anything that you can pray for them
      • if there has been any recent encounter with the Lord or something to give thanks for

  • Make a ‘one-time offer’ such as:
    • A lunch fellowship together
    • Pray for the other
    • One unique act of service for the other

 

(Do not start feeding the ‘Whole Ministry Plan’ to your colleague; it will cause ‘indigestion’.)

 

  • Main Dish is ready to be served
    • Set a time and place to meet either during lunch or after office hours over dinner
    • Fellowship
      • Purpose: Hebrews 10:24-25 – Meeting together / Spur one another on towards love and good deeds
      • Sharing and thanksgiving – Anything regarding work to give thanks to God for
      • Prayer – Pray for one another


(Arrange for next meeting or propose to meet again soon)

 

  • Dessert to sweeten the course as an affirmation
    • Send a text to the individual to affirm and thank him/her for what has been shared
    • Express how you felt after the meeting
    • Suggest when to meet again and soft-book their calendar via Google /office calendar etc.

 

Most of us will (if we haven’t already) spend more than half of our lives at the workplace, with some of us staying within the same organisation for a few years.

A recent survey that I carried out with the Navigators’ 20s-30s Ministry showed that more than half of the respondents have been in the same organisation for at least 4 years.

 

With that much time spent with believers and non-believers at the workplace, there are many opportunities to build relationships and advance the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the workplace will be where real transformation takes place with the day-to-day application of our faith at work, impacting others for God’s glory.

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