Your pastor is unable to be an engineer, a business consultant, a teacher, a stay-at-home parent, and all the other jobs that happen in your city. He can do his best on a Sunday to reach those various vocations, but his calling is to invest his time in establishing, leading, and building the church. You and I can bless our pastor by taking the gospel message of Jesus Christ, that “He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that on the third day He rose again according to the scripture” as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:3, to all our workplaces to assist in building a church for Jesus in your city.
How can you be both excellent at your job AND care for your co-workers?
Go to work as a bi-vocational missionary
A biblical view of a Christian’s life can seem like they are in tension since they are called to be minister of the gospel while also being excellent at the “secular” job God has equipped them for and placed them in. It seems to me that employees are typically either excellent at getting things done OR excellent at being friends with co-workers, but the question is why can’t you be both? What would have to change for you to be a missionary at work in a way that blesses your pastor at your church?
1. View Jesus as Your Boss – Colossians 3:23-24 instructs Christians to work as if we are doing it for the Lord and not for man. You now have a boss that demands excellence, but is gracious in your failures, One who rejoices over you and delights in your efforts, someone who is a delight to work for because you are always valued in their eyes, always worth the sacrifice they make for you in their job as boss.
Now this might force you to deal with how you view God. Do you view him as a tyrant, angry with your failures? Because in Christ, He no longer condemns and His love never fails. Do you view God as someone who graciously lets you be lazy and sinful? Because in Christ, His spirit indwells you to fulfill all His commands.
He both delights in you despite your failures and equips you for the excellence He demands. That’s a pretty awesome boss.
2. Plan time for co-workers – If you’re a workaholic, focused on achieving the immediate task, you’ll either be annoyed that your co-workers talk so much or ignore them for the sake of your work. You may have to come in early or take work home, but plan to just take time to care about your cube-mate. Ask them about their life more than your anxious to share about your own. And treat everyone from the receptionist to your boss with the same care and respect. That should be obvious, but I’ve noticed it isn’t and everyone else notices as well. Jesus seemed to care more about the least important than the most important, but for some reason we flip it.
2a. Remember when you received the gospel – The bible says we were helpless enemies of God when we received the gospel. If this is true, no co-worker should be “too annoying” or “too rude” to be cared about and the gospel asks us to love others as we have been loved.
3. Take a Sabbath – To make it obvious to others and to guard yourself against working defining your life, plan a day of rest away from work, your work phone, and your email. This shows your identity is found in God’s work and not your own.
4. Prioritize serving the church – If you have a commitment to the church that takes you away from work for an evening or a long lunch, plan to make it consistent and communicate with your boss why you do it. I’ve found the church involvement has helped me at work and work has helped be an effective leader at church. They are not at odds with one another.
And bring your mentality for excellence at work into your ministry at the church. It’s definitely needed.
How will this bless your pastor?
By helping them accomplish God’s mission – As I mentioned at the start, your pastor isn’t a superhero who can do every job in your city and build the church, bless him by partnering for expansion of the gospel.
Displaying for the church that a bi-vocational life can be done – Because we’re all cynical we can sometimes think the pastor doesn’t understand what we go through, that we have to spend 40, 50 or 60 hours a week at a job that isn’t focused on the church. Well, if you trust the Lord’s call to be bi-vocational you lessen the cynicism within your church and can assist in equipping others like you to do the same. Less cynicism and critiques in the church will definitively bless your pastor.
Feel free to disagree or to add your thoughts and comments or add to something I may have missed.