Ministering to Your Co-Workers
During a recent message, numerous people from the church family made a commitment – to take seriously the reality that God had placed them in their jobs and to seek to be witnesses for Jesus in their workplaces. When Christians accept this sort of challenge for the first time, naturally they wonder, “How do I do this?” Below is a list of four important factors for all who would seek to minister in the places in which they work. This may not be an exhaustive list, but it certainly contains at least some important factors.
First, care. It seems so obvious, I am sure. But people know when you care about them. They perceive it and sense it from things you do to things you don’t do, from things you say to non-verbal cues. John 3:16 says that God acted because he cared (loved). So, let us find the love of Christ in our hearts for those with whom we work. Maybe you struggle with truly caring for the people in your work environment. My best suggestion, if that is the case, is to learn and adopt God’s view of your co-worker.
Second, learn about your co-worker. Often times people (even those who are closed to the gospel message) are open to discuss spiritual matters as it relates to personal need. A person may have no desire to discuss the resurrection of Jesus, but he might be open to a discussion about the stress in his life and how healthy Christians process stress. Do you know what is going on in the life of your co-worker? Now is a good time to find out from a motive of care and concern. Taking the time to learn about them also shows you care!
Third, accept that there are different levels of openness to the Jesus you love and serve. Discerning this in your co-workers will help you honor and understand them as well as provide you with a possible vision of what the spiritual “next step” may be for that person. For a more detailed description of this, check out Thom Rainer’s book, The Un-Churched Next Door. It is an excellent book that helps the reader to understand that people are not all spiritually at the same place, and our work is to understand a person and help him/her take the next step towards Christ.
Finally, be prayerful and honest with them. Obviously, prayer is essential. But understand, there comes a point in which you have to either minister or not. You either have the conversation or you choose against it. I have found that the opening conversation comes across better if I make it about me, not them (sounds heretical, I know!). For example, I might say something along the lines of, “You know, I was in church on Sunday and the Pastor challenged us to pray for and serve our co-workers. I realized I hadn’t done a great job at this and I am so sorry! Please know I am praying for you and if there is anything I can pray specifically about, please let me know.” Or, “You know, I have hesitated to share this because I don’t want to be the guy forcing my faith on others. But, I know that you have some hardships going on right now and my life really has changed in radical ways since I became a Christ-follower. If you would ever be open to a discussion about the struggles you are facing I would love to do that.” If they don’t permit right away, don’t fret! Follow up in a day or so and continue to pray that the Lord move in their lives, through you or someone else. Just stay available!
As I said, this may not be a complete list of “How to minister to your-co-workers,” but each one of these four thoughts will be VERY important as you seek to be Living Proof of a Loving God to Watching World!
You are loved,